Effective Port Management: Strategy, Principles and Management

Author: Capt Gajanan Karanjikar (Master Mariner, Multi-Modal transport expert, End to End logistics Professional, Blue Economy- Social activist)

Today, the role of modern ports and sea trade is more crucial than ever. With growing demand of cargoes and decentralisation of production centers, shifting towards more developing countries the new upcoming port scenario is on the horizon.  The power of global key players has never before shifted in such an unpredicted manner, and the necessity for innovation, energy efficiency, and economy efficiency probably has never before been more compelling.

As the global sea trade will multiply in volume, not all commodity prices will increase. This new era may generate a new necessity of government protectionism, port specialization,  and redistribution of power. The port industry will be governed by stricter pollution centred regulations in terms of security, safety, and the environment, with significant commercial and financial consequences to ports and ships alike.

Economics is a major issue for ports and the shipping industry: nations will have to achieve political stability through overcoming financial obstacles such as

i) monetary deficits in trade and cash

ii) demand for National and private debt

iii) Ever fluctuating Interest rates

iv) Unstable inflation and

v) currency fluctuations and exchange rates.

vi) New currencies (digital) on the horizon.

The ongoing currency wars will need to be addressed, as the profitability of any and all trade and transport contracts is determined by the currency stipulations. The rising price of gold and other precious metals, as well as oil price versus natural gas/LNG price, will determine the future commodities markets and its demand. The recent pandemic has seen unprecedented decrease in fuel demand, and the entire energy needs were shattered.

For the sake of good order, this wide spectrum of interrelated port management principles, strategies, and activities is classified in a logical sequence and under four cornerstones:

1. Port Strategy and Structure,

2. Legal and Regulatory Framework,

3. Input: Factors of Production, and

4. Output and Economic Framework.

Port services and port strategic planning may encompass one or more of the four key business categories of global trade and transport:

1. Landlords, through property ownership, leasing and management.

2. Brokers, by hosting or liaising with bunker brokers commodity brokers, property brokers, ships’
agents, ship brokers, stock brokers, and so on.

3. Suppliers, through leasing and handling cargo equipment, and liaising with ship chandlers, and
suppliers of spare parts, engines, commodities, tools, and so on.

4. Manufacturers, by hosting or liaising with industries, shipyards, petroleum refineries, and
industrial and special economic zones. Manufacturing and services also encompass broad
maritime related activities including port design, engineering technology, installation
and modification of equipment, manufacturing machinery, and so on.

As fundamental logistic and financial portals, a seaport’s efficiency is crucial to ensure the safe, secure, productive, and eco-friendly practices of marine operations. Regardless of their size, location, and specialization, seaports are principally designed to provide shelter to oceangoing or inland ships, while effectively managing numerous dissimilar activities, human force, materials, and financial resources.

Port authorities are in charge of harbouring and securing ships, while ensuring smooth operations throughout ships’ anchorage, pilotage, berthing/unberthing, lightering, mooring/unmooring, loading/ unloading operations, and so on. They oversee canal transits and channel passages and supervise cargo movement, transferring of wet, dry, and gaseous cargoes, while handling bulk, containerized, and palletized cargoes.

In view of the above principles and needed strategies Port Management will forth come as global service and  as the process of organizing, monitoring, and controlling the activities of a seaport in a precarious global industry, in order to accomplish corporate goals, which are in line with its regional and national interests.


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