PORTS CRIPPLED BY DISPUTES AND RISK MANAGEMENT

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The port sector is being crippled by the burden of managing operational risk, according to an industry-wide survey.

Trelleborg Marine System’s poll reveals that a third of port operators, contractors and consultants are spending more, or even the majority, of their time managing operational risk. The results are hardly surprising given that one in five admit there has been an increase in disputes over the last 12 months.

Richard Hepworth, managing director, Trelleborg Marine Systems, said: “The answer to the problem is self-evident. Almost nine out of 10 of those polled believe that having a safer port environment would directly contribute to reducing costs.

“The monetary impact of dealing with a port-side failure is one thing, but the process of investigating, prosecuting and resolving what went wrong can be enormously time-sapping. More operators would be better placed pouring their investment and resource into tackling preventative maintenance rather than pursuing disputes through the courts.”

Trelleborg Marine Systems claims that many ports need to schedule more regular maintenance checks on port equipment, particularly fenders, irrespective of warranty periods.

“Many of the fenders we replace or perform maintenance on are under-engineered or operate in conditions they were never designed for,” says Hepworth. “The common cause of failure is the specification process, but also the lack of quality used in the materials, poor installation or maintenance. In the worst case scenarios, it’s a combination of these critical factors. That’s why we keep complete control of the supply chain from design through to manufacturing and aftersales support. It’s an approach that also minimises risk and disputes.”

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