Transport & Logistics

Managing port maintenance costs

31 Oct 2013, by Informa Insights

Is it necessary to sweat port assets for efficient functioning and greater productivity -or is there a more effective way to maintain equipment? We spoke to Tony Saker, Managing Director of UMS Group Asia Pacific to see if this is the best option for local ports.

 Sweating port assets and equipment was recently discussed in a UK publication Port Strategy. Asset sweating was suggested as a good alternative to avoid installing new infrastructure by asset maintenance strategist, Malcom Youll who discusses the need for terminal operators to make better use of their equipment, rather than blowing maintenance budgets on new parts.

Tony Saker, Managing Director of UMS Asia Pacific recommends taking proactive steps to asset maintenance
Tony Saker, Managing Director of UMS Asia Pacific recommends taking proactive steps to asset maintenance

If a port is struggling to reduce operating costs, Youll suggests that buying new equipment rather than using existing cranes and straddles is too expensive in the long run.

“Awareness of asset management techniques is generally low in terminal businesses; the focus has always been on short-term operational delivery and profitability.”

“But today you have to make the most of what you have got. It’s very capital intensive to buy machinery, but often there’s little consideration given to the cost of machinery that’s under-utilised or even redundant.”

Tony Saker, Managing Director of UMS Group suggests that in order to avoid the under-utilisation of equipment, operators need to develop asset missions for all equipment.

“Sweating the assets may be one of many asset strategies that can be adopted for different asset classes, if it is in line with organisation, asset, and risk objectives. A proactive campaign should be in place to develop a portfolio asset mission and then asset missions for each asset class as defined by the asset owner”

“These missions then drive how assets should be operated and managed – for some, run to failure may be the best strategy whilst for others, say  more critical assets, a regular condition-based maintenance program may be the best option. “

Tony also suggests that ports need to reassess their day to day maintenance strategies and start introducing scheduled maintenance tactics in order to enhance life cycle management.

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“It seems Ports lag behind in development and are more in a mode of fire fighting instead of maintenance management. Taking proactive steps towards good and best practices in maintenance management would be a good step forward. Also, PAS55/ISO 55000 is a good guideline to bring all the bits and pieces together and work towards the development of an asset life cycle management strategy that best suits the goals and risk appetite of the business.”

On the other side of the spectrum, the Newman state government in Queensland has invested $280 million into improving road conditions after a lack of proper maintenance from the previous government. Investment into asset maintenance not only improves the productivity of critical assets, but in cases such as Queensland it can create jobs and improve safety.

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For more information on asset maintenance we’d love for you to join us at the inaugural Asset Management & Maintenance conference that will be held from the 3-4 December at the Royal on the Park in Brisbane. For a full list of speakers and to access the event program visit here.

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