The global port industry is already heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As reported by our customers, there have been numerous blank sailings to and from ports around the world. Terminals are facing significantly reduced export volumes, while import containers are not picked up by the consignee resulting in longer dwell time, congesting the yard capacities.
The anticipation is that the pandemic will continue for some time. Exactly how long is uncertain and equally no one knowns when and how fast the global economy will recover. This means that not just the port handling volumes are likely to be affected by the global downturns, but also the viability of its terminals own clients; the shipping lines as well as shippers, receivers and logistics service providers are likely to be equally affected, leading to a higher risk of payment defaults for the terminals.
Against this background, terminals around the globe are preparing for reduced volumes and revenues. Development projects are re-evaluated or even stopped. Most of our terminal operator clients are reporting that they are either already in the process or planning to set up cost-cutting and rightsizing programs.
On May 1st, 2020, Suheil Mahayni joined the management of HPC Hamburg Port Consulting. Suheil comes from Lufthansa AG, where he established a system partnership with Frankfurt Airport as project manager. Before that, the graduate industrial engineer worked in various management functions in purchasing and sales at Lufthansa Technik AG.
Ninety or so days from when the Financial Times mentioned "China has reported the first death resulting from a virus that has infected more than 40 people", we are facing a radically different world; one that is changing so quickly that it is hard to even imagine the final size of Covid-19's impact and its consequences, let alone describe them.
The Covid-19 pandemic is increasingly affecting the cargo trade volumes, forcing shipping companies to adapt their service lines constantly. As a result, vessel shipping routes are being frequently changed. Cargo volumes have aggregated, and container vessels are being taken out of operation. How can the cargo terminal operators react to the temporary reduction in cargo terminal throughput volumes and reduced number of vessel calls? How do they reduce operating cost while retaining required flexibility to quickly adapt to new situations?
During discussions with our customers and partners, one measure came up repeatedly - temporarily taking quay cranes out of operation. This measure, firstly, reduces running cost of the quay cranes directly. Secondly, it enables the terminal operator to ascertain other follow-up measures, such as taking other equipment out of operation (RTG, AGV; trucks), reassigning work force or closing whole berths.
Even in exceptional situations such as the Corona crisis, we bring running projects forward. HPC was commissioned to develop a standardised customs process for the import of consolidated air freight for Frankfurt / Main Airport and to organise workshops with the stakeholders involved. Based on the customs process, standardised interfaces for the necessary data exchange will be derived.
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