MANILA, Philippines – Port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has rolled out new systems and processes that reduces service times of container vessels berthing at the Specialized Container and General Cargo Terminal in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
Marcelo Suarez, senior vice president and head of the Americas Region, said ICTSI’s Operadora Portuaria Centroamericana SA de CV (OPC) is moving to fast track the loading and unloading of containers successfully eliminated vessel downtimes and improved the overall efficiency of dock operations.
“We are glad with how port stakeholders in Honduras and the Caribbean received the new systems and processes we implemented in Puerto Cortes to improve customer service. We envision our ICTSI Puerto Cortes terminal not only to become a major terminal in the group, but a key port in the Caribbean serving Central American trade,” Suarez said.
A new vessel segregation system based on destination, size and weight had been set in place together with a new “window docking” scheme that enables ships arriving at a predefined time to dock immediately upon arrival. This would greatly reduce the logistics costs for port users, unlike in the past when ships had to wait for hours at the bay, sometimes even up to days before docking.
The window docking system allows precise planning and better resource management of resources and personnel, as well as maintenance of machinery and spaces within the port. Vessels could unload their containers immediately within 24 hours provided that requirements and full documentation are accomplished in advance.
Port users now have access to OPC’s free Web portal for the processing of export entries, eliminating the need for manual data retrieval. This technology-based component was specifically designed to help users adapt to the changes and streamline processes at the port.
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OPC has managed to keep operations running normally despite of the guideline issued by the Honduran Executive Directorate of Revenue, which require Customs to empty containers for inspection.
Recognizing the policy’s security implications to the port and businesses in general, OPC increased the number of its workers from 30 to 150 to offset the added processing time brought about by the new inspection routine.
Puerto Cortés is one of the El Salvadoran exporters’ main gateways to the Carribbean. OPC won a 30-year concession to manage and operate the Specialized Container and General Cargo Terminal back in February 2013.
ICTSI’s OPC is expected to invest $624 million for the first 10 years of concession in an attempt to sustain the region’s development and growth. It aims to re-position Puerto Cortés as a regional key player in Latin America, highlighting the port’s importance not only as a business gateway but also as key contributor to the Honduran economy.