Monday, April 19, 2021

Analysis of Figures Shows How One Port Handled that Canal Blockage Problem

The Latter Day Suez Crisis Meant Careful Planning for Container Terminals
Shipping News Feature

SPAIN – After the calamitous situation in the Suez Canal when the container ship Ever Given blocked all passage for a week last month, many will wonder how the problem of missed port slots and vessels queuing outside the harbours of the world has been managed.

One European port has now told how it has literally handled the situation. The Port of Valencia had to deal with ten ships stranded by the problem, with all arriving more or less simultaneously. This meant the requirement to turn al the vessels round between April 6 and 16, an exercise which involved the movement of 32,313 export and import containers.

This work was undertaken in addition to the normal throughput of the port and saw from the first vessel, the MSC Le Havre, berthed at the CSP terminal on Tuesday 6 April to handle 2,300 TEU movements, to the last on Friday April 16, the Hapag Lloyd ship Jebel Ali and her 4,500 boxes. The president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez, commented:

”The work of the port community in taking on this additional workload to their day-to-day work, is an example of the capacity and efficiency with which the companies and professionals who make Valenciaport a strategic port and a reference point in the Mediterranean operate. The measures adopted by the port community in the Contingency Plan has worked perfectly.

"We have a great port at the service of the business fabric and are always ready to respond to their import demands and, especially for export, so that sectors such as the tile industry, which are at a very dynamic moment of foreign sales to countries in the Middle East and the Far East, can continue to sell their products and generate qualified employment and wealth, which is essential for economic recovery.”

The surge of traffic handled by Valenciaport meant March traffic figures jumped with an increase of 12.96% in freight traffic and a rise of 9.22% in the movement of containers. Particularly noteworthy are the movements of cargo containers, which grew by 24.28% in March, and which have now accumulated eight consecutive months of positive figures.

The Contingency Plan established to take on the additional influx of ships coming from the blockade of the Suez Canal was the result of a coordinated meeting of the relevant parties in the Marca de Garantía, a conglomerate of 150 port companies.

Among the measures that were put in place were the extension of the timetables of CSP Iberian Terminal Valencia and MSC Terminal Valencia, the management of export containers by the freight forwarding companies, the coordination of empty containers so that they were in the terminal yards for the shortest possible time, and the planning of the transport sector's working day, among others.

It is also worth highlighting the organisation and diversification of port calls by shipping lines in the different ports of the Mediterranean, to rationalise activity in the port areas and make up for the time lost by vessels that were detained.

Photo: The CMA CGM Centaurus at Valenciaport.