PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Cargo and Terminal Operations Manager Roger Lawrence attended the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC) which took place in Nevis last week.
Lawrence stated, “During this year’s PMAC meeting that brought together port executives and managers across the Caribbean engaging in topics that ranged from the challenges that faced all small port in the Caribbean to best practices that can enhance the Ports operational efficiency and in turn increase growth potential even as dynamics continue to change within the region as vessels continue increase in size, safety and security measures continue to be a focal point as terrorism increases and timing of investments with so much uncertainty due to constant shift of dynamics. The question of the day was how to manage it all and still remain relevant and focus on the value proposition.
“For this reason a lot of emphasis was placed on respective port community systems. Data is needed for proper decision making and such data collection is paramount. We continue to move into a technological stage and a Port must have the inclination and understand that in order to have an advantageous edge the collection of data and what is done thereafter can ideally benefit the organization from a business intelligence standpoint.
“This brought yet again more justification to the direction that is currently being taken by Port St. Maarten. Up until recently Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer started discussions as it relates to the role of the port community system interconnecting all stakeholders using our already in-house terminal operating system GLS which is provided by our partners IT Partners BV.
“Port St. Maarten has implemented since 2008 the IT Partner GLS system for all of its Cruise and Cargo activities. But the system also handles the security badges and many other operations. In other words, Port St. Maarten has an extensive real time database which is nowadays referred to as ‘big data’. Modern management is based on information, with focus on KPI’s on operations, marketing and finance.
“As a joint effort in 2016 Port St. Maarten and IT Partner started implementing BI (Business Intelligence), where data is transformed in analyzed information, presented in dashboards with graphs and figures for all departments which is available on modern platforms as web, tablet and smartphones. BI will deliver more detailed insights in the performance, allowing analyzing anomalies and taking the necessary steps for improvement.
“During discussions whereby IT Partners executive team Rob Jordan and Dennis Brommert was also present in Nevis, very enhancing discussions took place on the importance of using the port community system to enhance business intelligence and strategic business decisions.
“Maritime institutions must continue responding to changes and look at ways to improve under challenges. We must realize that we continue to move into a technological stage and we must adapt and improve upon our value proposition in all aspects or facets of the organization.
“Remaining intuitive should not be just a buzz phase but we must execute on this premise. Looking at project prioritization, investments in continuous monitoring systems as in data collection BI tools (business intelligences), and investments in technology and investments in people as it relates to training and capacity building,” Port St. Maarten Cargo and Terminal Operations Manager Roger Lawrence pointed out.
A significant highlight of the meeting was the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.
The MOU signed between the OECS and PMAC was indeed a very good initiative and milestone between the two organizations as it was hailed as an excellent drive towards further strengthening cooperation between the OECS and PMAC as they will now work together in tackling challenges facing port management and operations within the member countries with the initiation of trainings, strategic alliances and sharing of best practices among others among the PMAC members.
The delegates of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands were welcomed as new members, along with Saam Smit Towage, Tysers Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers, HE&W Consulting Inc., and Stevedoring Services Ltd. As most recent Associate Members of PMAC.
A review was conducted of the Association’s structure and operations, and was presented with a new port insurance initiative by Tysers, as well as information regarding potential areas for collaboration from the Caribbean Development Bank, and competency based training, assessment and certification of dockworkers at the Port of Bridgetown from a combined delegation of Barbados Port Inc., Caribbean Maritime Institute, and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council of Barbados.
PMAC’s mission is to foster operational and financial efficiency, and to enhance the level of service to the mutual benefit of Caribbean Ports and their stakeholders, through the sharing of experience, training, information and ideas.
The three-day meeting featured presentations about: Remaining competitive and relevant in the Caribbean port environment; International Maritime Organization (IMO) developments on Measures to prevent the Loss of Containers; Strategic Asset Management and Corporate Indicators for Port Managers; Shore Power, Propriety for Ports; Implementing a Port Community System; Climate Change and Hazard Risk Reduction; and Securing a Port’s Fence and Perimeter, Reducing Risk.
The PMAC meeting was held from June 22-24 at the Four Seasons Resort, Pinneys Estate, Nevis.
PHOTO CUTLINE: L to R: Rob Jordan – IT Partner General Manager, Roger Lawrence – Cargo and Terminal Operations Manager, Bishen John – Chairman of PMAC, and Dennis Brommert – It Partners Operations Manager.