JIS News

The level of congestion experienced at the Port of Kingston last November, should not recur this year, based on a number of measures being implemented by the Port Authority.
Dr. Ian Blair, Senior Vice President of Operations and Development at the Port Authority of Jamaica, informed JIS News, that in addition to the acquisition of additional yard space, due to the expansion of the terminal, “certain procedures” have been put in place to ensure that containers did not sit for extended periods on the wharf.
He told JIS News that there was daily monitoring of the storage capacity of the terminal. “We have been monitoring the storage capacity of the terminal on a daily basis to bring it to their (container owners) attention with a view to having them reduce their storage capacity,” he said. Daily notification is also given to domestic consignees, whose containers have exceeded the normal storage time, which is approximately seven days.
Dr. Blair said that the Port Authority has also introduced new procedures for the truckers, who come to clear boxes from the terminal. “We are currently working on a new gate system to ensure we have a smooth transition in and out of the terminal,” he said, adding that unless something highly unusual occurred, the port should not experience the same level of congestion as it did last year.
“Not only do we monitor what is being stored, but as a transshipment port we have to look at where the cargo is actually going, so if one of the ports in the region, which we normally transship. is blocked for any particular reason, we would ask the shipping lines not to bring the boxes here to store them,” he told JIS News.
He noted that, “we are not just to say to the shipping lines, you have exceeded your storage volumes but also you have a problem along one of your routes system, which is allowing the port to become congested, so you need to do something from your end to ensure that boxes destined for that port is not brought here because there is no outlet for it”.
Meanwhile, as the nation prepares for an active hurricane season, Dr. Blair informed that proper preparedness procedures were in place at the port to ensure the security of all goods and equipment. “We have hurricane procedures and we have methods of securing all equipment on the terminal,” he told JIS News.
He mentioned that the cranes have “what we call a ‘hurricane tied down’ which is part of the construction, which we did so each crane could have its own secure point as a part of the berth structure”. All other equipment on the terminal has its own secure method for protection against hurricanes, he noted further.
Once a hurricane threatens the island, the Harbour Master informs the terminal as to the time operations should be ceased. “With that decision, they proceed to prepare the terminal for shutdown and then we also issue them with a directive as to when they are able to open the terminal again. So those are procedures, which we review every year prior to the hurricane season,” Dr. Blair said.
These procedures are implemented at every facility owned by the Port Authority. “It is not just for the container terminals but all the other terminals including cruise ship terminals that we operate,” he pointed out.