In 2016, KBSP handled 380,000 TEUS and 0.8m freight tonnes of general cargo

In 2016, KBSP handled 380,000 TEUS and 0.8m freight tonnes of general cargo

KBSP: maximising efficiencies

Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) is continuing its efforts to develop the kingdom’s maritime trade and expand transshipment operations in the Upper Gulf region by offering world-class terminal facilities and operational efficiencies, PUMMY KAUL reports

July 2017

Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) has seen encouraging growth in local trade volumes as evident from the increase in imports and rising exports compared to the same period last year. This is significant considering a difficult year globally.

“We have seen a positive trend in container flows into the kingdom with a five per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in the domestic volume driven primarily by growth in projects leading to increased imports and growth in export volumes from the kingdom,” said CEO/managing director of APM Terminals Bahrain Mark Hardiman in an interview with
Gulf Industry.

APM Terminals Bahrain is the operator of KBSP, which is considered as one the highest productivity ports in the region, with the average gross crane productivity and berth productivity at 35.9 GMBH and 64.9 BMBH respectively.

A world class multi-purpose port, KBSP handles a diverse range of cargo that includes containers, general cargo, break-bulk, dry bulk, roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) and livestock. The facility also includes a dedicated passenger terminal that is capable of handling cruise and ferry calls. In addition, it has 63,500 sq m of covered warehouse space available in addition open yard space, for the storage of cargo.

In 2016, KBSP handled approximately 380,000 twenty feet equivalent unit (TEUs) and 0.8m freight tonnes of general cargo. It, however, witnessed a decline in the overall container throughput by 12 per cent compared to same period last year, contributed mainly by the lack of transshipment volume.

For the current year, Hardiman has a far more optimistic outlook for the port’s performance. “We expect the throughput to grow in line with the current trend of 5 to 8 per cent increase over last year,” Hardiman said.

According to him, growth in container volume was driven by increasing consumer demand in the local economy and projects. Among significant developments was the maiden call by the Ocean Alliance Middle East Asia string and MSC cheetah services launched this year. Other project cargoes included Banagas, Bahrain LNG, Alba expansion, various infrastructure projects etc.

On  KBSP’s plans to increase total capacity in terms of new or enlarged berths, capability to receive larger vessels and augmentation of materials-handling equipment, he said: “Our capacity currently is only 40 per cent utilised which in effect, means we can handle incremental volume without further expansions. We can receive vessels upto 14,000 TEUs. We have recently hit this milestone with Ocean Alliance MEA3 service.”

APM Terminals Bahrain recently marked a milestone with the arrival of the largest container ships ever to call the KBSP. OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line) Singapore has an overall length of 366 meters and a capacity of 13208 TEUs and CSCL Neptune (Cosco) has a capacity of 14,300 TEUs.

The introduction of the Ocean Alliance MEA3 service, offers Bahrain customers with a direct main line call to China and the Far East thus helping to boost business opportunities. This will also coincide with APM Terminals’ ongoing efforts to make KBSP the transshipment hub for the upper Gulf region with an overall increase in container throughput.

The introduction of MSC’s Cheetah service also enabled connecting Bahrain to East Africa and India leveraging direct access to the kingdom.

The initiative was in continuation of APM Terminals Bahrain’s efforts to attract new main shipping lines to call KBSP with their mother vessels and to explore the hinterland business opportunities.

“We will achieve this through our end-user strategy which involves working closely with our main stakeholders and end-users, offering customised solutions and a greater value proposition, and continually working to improve our level of service and operations,” Hardiman said while dwelling on KBSP’s plan to achieve significant growth over the next three years.

Commenting on the transshipment prospects for KBSP over the next three to five years, he said: “Geographically, Bahrain is ideally suited for being a transshipment hub for the Upper gulf. Across the region, ports have been expanding with new capacity as well as enhancements to existing capacity, which has impeded Bahrain’s efforts to be a transshipment hub. Having said that, we do see an opportunity for Bahrain to be a transshipment hub for markets like Kuwait and Iraq.”

“We continue to explore this opportunity actively with good progress as evident from several network changes recently which has included Bahrain on their main liner strings. We do foresee a greater possibility of attracting transshipment volumes to this important Upper Gulf market,” he added.


Hardiman foresees a greater possibility of attracting transshipment volumes

Hardiman foresees a greater possibility of attracting transshipment volumes

World-class facilities

Meanwhile, KBSP is continuing its efforts to develop the kingdom’s maritime trade and expand transshipment operations in the Upper Gulf region by offering world-class terminal facilities and operational efficiencies.

Towards this, various investments have been made in acquiring new equipment as well as replacing old ones along with investments in new technologies to the tune of $2 million over the past one year to help improve safety and efficiency of the port.

The Port has also benefitted since the launch of its new terminal system GC-TOS, revealed, Hardiman. “We have taken a very important step towards digital transformation with GC-TOS, to help us improve data management between the port, cargo owners, shipping lines and other stakeholders. With this, the planning capabilities of the port will be enhanced through a centralised information portal including cargo booking and movement, documentation, pre-arrival notifications to name a few. Subsequently, this will enable immediate improvements in terminal productivity and customer service,” he said.

On the container operations side, APM Terminal is currently working on a customer platform named LIFT which will essentially reduce the human interactions and increase efficiency for its customers. This is expected to be rolled out in a phased manner, later this year, Hardiman revealed.

“These changes are expected to maximise efficiencies for the entire supply chain providing stakeholders real-time data and insights, transparency and reliability; creating business value for them. Further, this is going to increase port’s competitiveness and thereby helping KBSP achieve its ambition of becoming the region’s leading transshipment centre of the Upper Gulf,” he added.

In another landmark initiative, the Port adopted the global total productive maintenance (TPM) programme, with an aim to achieve a fully-efficient, zero-breakdown port.

This international best practice, which focuses on improving production through equipment effectiveness, has enabled APM Terminals Bahrain to successfully improve reliability and cost reduction initiatives by 15 per cent for KBSP, within just 12 months of its initial implementation phase, resulting in better time-bound service for its customers.

The TPM framework usually based on an eight pillar framework is applied across the port’s equipment to achieve zero breakdowns, accidents and damages, together with extensive training of the port’s operational and technical staff to help them understand their equipment better and how to tackle the maintenance of major machines at the port.

For KBSP, APM Terminals Bahrain has undertaken the traditional TPM 5s model, to streamline its maintenance operations with an aim to create a clean and well-organised environment while improving equipment reliability.

As part of the roll-out, over 130 APM Terminals Bahrain employees across operational, technical and other teams have been empowered with new techniques to learn proactive and preventive equipment maintenance.

Through this, APM Terminals Bahrain aims to further integrate collective talent of all departments for major improvements in equipment operations.

Furthermore, the ongoing TPM implementation has significantly reduced the average monthly number of breakdowns, with 40 per cent reduction in associated breakdown costs within 12 months.

In effect, 45 of the port’s major machines have been under review with more than 60 per cent of the detected abnormalities rectified and mean time between failures increased by 35 per cent as an average for most of the equipment, resulting in higher equipment reliability and availability.

More importantly, as a responsible and sustainable business, APM Terminals’ operations and safety of its workforce go hand in hand with the TPM process key to eliminating potential health and safety risks, thereby resulting in a safer

Hardiman said: “We are very pleased that at APM Terminals Bahrain, we have embarked on a journey to build a sustainable culture of operational productivity, and have started to witness positive impact on the port working, possible due to seamless teamwork across various departments.”

“Moreover, this is helping us to realise our long-term commitment to drive process improvements, enhance safety and environmental responsiveness and guide us to work towards making Khalifa Bin Salman Port, a fully-efficient and zero-breakdown port,” he added.

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