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Throughout most of maritime history, the competitiveness of a commercial port has been collectively determined by its geographical location, its physical characteristics, and its relationship to landside transportation systems and urban centres. And, while these factors remain important, today's ports must also integrate and balance a number of dynamic market - place processes including globalization, containerization and modern logistics since they have to maintain their particular competitive position. These dynamic processes demand that ports must continually improve their operational and managerial efficiencies and overall productivity. The key objective of this study is to assess the current level of productivity at the Mauritius Container terminal and highlights bottlenecks that impede it. The MCT is considered as the heart of the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd which is a very a very important business sector whereby productivity and efficiency are highly valued. Furthermore, this study helps to identify appropriate operation management strategies and techniques that will improve productivity sufficiency in order to accommodate a rise in container traffic.
1.2 Company Profile
Cargo Handling Corporation Limited (Ltd), a government owned private company started operation on the 1st October 1983. It was the responsibility for handling all container goods transiting through Port- Louis Harbour from ships to consignees and vice versa. The CHCL is a tall fledged Cargo Operator working under a concession contract with the Mauritius Port Authority (MPA) and is also solely responsible for the management of all the port handling operations pertaining to general cargo and including dry bulk cargo such as fertilizer, maize, and coal and so on. It is equipped with three main terminals
-The Mauritius Container Terminal
-The Multipurpose Terminal
-The Fish Terminal
1.2.1 Company mission
<< The mission of Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd is to offer reliable quality competitively priced services to support the economic growth of Mauritius and to be the port of choice of the region. >>
1.2.1 Company Vision
The company's vision is << To deliver a level of service comparable to the best container terminal operators of Asia and Europe, both in terms of quality efficiency, but at a more competitive tariff >>
1.2.2 Goals and Objectives
To turn Port-Louis into a hub port by focusing on efficient transstipment.
To maintain customer care and put greater emphasize on the need for the quality service
To provide a reliable and competitive range of services.
To increase and maintain the level of productivity.
To reduce the waiting time of vessels.
To ensure maximum security of Cargo.
To enhance further modern port technology.
1.2.4 The choice of Mauritius Container Terminal for the study
The survey for this dissertation is carried out at the Mauritius Container Terminal (MCT) for the simple reason that most of the activities of the port are connected at the MC and it is the country's only Maritime gateway. The MCT has a strategic position is the Mauritian economy since it handles 99% of imports and exports.
There are only 29 employees at the fish terminal and therefore it is not considered as the major activity of the Cargo Handling. Its operations are very erratic and are loss making to the organization. The Multipurpose (MPT) also has a poor productivity rate of 8 to 9 containers handled per hour. In contrast, the total container traffic at the MCT has drastically increased from 18,506 containers in July 2002 to 527.586 in June 2011. This is due to a major increase in transshipment and captive Cargo at this new container terminal. Furthermore, the MCT generates more revenue for the company than the older terminals.
1.2.5 Services and Principle activities of MCT
The principal and most important operation is the terminal is the use of gantry cranes; tractors with chassis and yard stackers and several other equipment to load and unload cargo. The MCT has a container yard of 15 hectares along with a container yard capacity of 3961 ground slots allocated for each container. The yard comprises of transshipment containers for local people who import goods. The storage yard needs to operate in unison with the gantry cranes and vice versa in order for the operation to be productive and efficient. Thus, the chassis needs to be waiting under the crane when the crane is unloading, and, the crane has to be ready to pick - up the container when the tractor brings the container under the gantry crane. Moreover, the yard stackers play an essential role in unload and loading the chassis in the yard which the tractor shuttles to and from the gantry crane. Any of these operation processes falling out of the sequence will deteriorate production.
In addition to these, the MCT receive and deliver cargo in the timeliest manner. The manner officers and supervisors are responsible for the proper record of all cargo in and out the port and this is done electronically. Therefore, any information can be retrieved at any time. Ancillary services such as reefer monitoring, transfer of equipment and leasing of equipment are also carried out by the MCT. The latter operates on a 24 hr basis, thereby, consisting of 4 teams that allow the operation to be carried out continuously all day long.
1.3 Background of the problem
In the financial year 2011/2012, the productivity rate has decreased from 21.7 in January to 13.8 in December. The rate of productivity is measured in terms of movement of containers per hour worked. The international standard in terms of port productivity is measured in around 15 movements. During the 2007/2008 fiscal year, the CHCL had conducted a complete reform of its operation by a renewal of its facilities to the sum of Rs 1.7 billion. A benchmark of 17 movements was the imposed by the World Bank, which is the main sponsor of the organization, to judge the effectiveness of these investments. Furthermore, this fall in productivity rate increases the waiting time of vessels. There is a need to increase and maintain the level of productivity since leading international shipping lines such as the Maersk -Sealand , P & O Nedloyd- Milsni and Mediterranean shipping company (MSC) have extended their transshipment contracts with the CHCL. It is mandatory for the company to equips itself with the necessary human resources and technical capability to be able to compete with other regional parts such as toamasina (Madagascar) and Durban.
1.4 Problem statement
Resources are not allocated efficiently by the management team at the MCT. The planning and housekeeping of containers and other cargos are not done on a continuous basis to meet the timing of incoming and outgoing vessels. Moreover, there is a high problem of communication between different employees during the unloading and loading process due to defective equipment. Maintenance of gantry cranes, RTGS, Reach stacker and so on are not carried out on a regular basis due to the 24 hr work shift. Furthermore, idle time affect the productivity rate negatively though it is obvious to have idle time due to change of shifts. However, this could be avoided by necessary scheduling of work. Thus, there is a need for improvement in the operation process both on human resource and technical aspect of work. As a result, these problems justify the need to carry out the research.
1.5 Research objectives
This problem has been the stepping stone of this study and the objectives of the research are summarized below:
1. To identify the factors that hinder productivity.
2.To evaluate the importance of awareness o employees on productivity issues.
3. To investigate the current methods of productivity used in the container handling process and maintenance of equipment.
4. To assess the use of productivity improvement tools & techniques and operation management strategies.
1.6 Research Questions
Each research objectives is turned into a question which will help in gathering and analyzing information about the problems.
1.7 Aim of the study
The objective of this research work is to make people working at the terminal aware of the importance of being productive and consider the operation management techniques used in advances international port.
1.8 Significance of the study
This study gives an indication about the latest port management techniques and technology that can be implemented at the MCT to boost the productivity level. Consequently, there will be a significant increase in revenue which will lead to a rise in the organisation's market share on the regional level and at the same time, it promotes CHCL's image.
The analysis of the current operation management process gives an idea about the defects related to it. Moreover, this study clearly demonstrates how management can minimize the factors that hinder the level of productivity and use techniques that can help reaching the optimum level of operational efficiency on the terminal.
Employees have the chance to participate and give their opinions about the current production and give their opinions about the current production system through surveys. They have an essential part in increasing container handling productivity since they manage all the equipment and technology available at the terminal.
CHCL clients are mostly importers of cargo and exporters of Sugar Containers.
1.9 Structure of the dissertation
The dissertation consists of the following factors:
Chapter 1: Introduction
The first part of the main text gives an overview of the context of the dissertation, that is, importance of productivity at the MCT. It also describes the aims and objectives of the research and its importance to different stakeholders. Moreover, it gives a glimpse of what the project is about and points out the significance of carrying out the study. It also outlines the company's mission vision, goals & objectives and finally, it describes the core activities of the terminal.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter consists of a collection of information from eminent authors in the fields of productivity and port management. Information is collected from articles, books, case studies, annual reports and the net.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
In this chapter, a research plan is designed to collect facts and figures which are analysed in the next chapter. This project is basically carried out through primary research by the use of questionnaires and various data collection techniques and procedures.
Chapter4: Findings and Analysis
This chapter is an essential part of this study since it gives a clear view and detailed information obtained from the research. These results of the survey are collected in the previous chapter and are represented with the software of SPSS.
Chapter5: Recommendations and conclusions
It provides the recommendations to how MCT can ameliorate its container handling process to achieve better performance in terms of productivity.