DP World lashed over new terminal system stuff-up


Port operators are left fuming as DP World's new terminal system causes delays and slot cancellations without notice

DP World lashed over new terminal system stuff-up
DP World lashed over new terminal system chaos
By Rob McKay | November 9, 2010

Cancelled slots due to the problems with DP World’s roll-out from Sunday of a new computer-operated terminal operating system (TOS) are fuelling growing ire amongst Port Botany trucking firms.

The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association has sent Sydney Ports Corporation industry relations and logistics manager Lachlan Benson a demand for action.

"It is totally absurd to change operating systems and not run a trial with a parallel system to provided surety and back up in the event of a failure of the new system, which is exactly what has happened," ATA NSW Container Section Chairman Mike Moylan writes.

"To put it simply this is idiotic and the height of arrogance and disregard for the impact on supply chain partners, stakeholders users and clients of the terminal.

"We are now in the middle of the peak season and this type of reckless disregard for other businesses is intolerable, we ask that Sydney Ports intervene to put a stop to this mess and press DP World to get a backup system operating immediately."

DP World transport superintendent Ben Hanley advised on October 28 of operational changes over last weekend but ATA NSW claims that full slot allocation was delayed six hours, slots were cancelled, most without consultation, and truck delays spanned more than three hours.

"Carriers are reporting that this system is providing false information on Held and Storage containers" and containers were being held when they were clear.

Port Botany is the latest port to see DP World install the Navis Sparcs N4 TOS from Zebra Enterprise Solutions and they are operational on all continents. But there is no clue yet as to what has gone wrong.

DP World was not able to answer questions put by ATN before deadline.

"DP World is working hard and dedicating all resources to resolve the issue," was all a spokesman would say.

Sydney Ports Corporation urged DP World to keep the trucking industry informed of developments.

"While Sydney Ports welcomes the investment by DP World in this new technology to improve efficiency at their terminal, we encourage DP World terminal management to communicate with industry as regularly as possible regarding issues with its implementation," a spokesman says.

"We also request DP World to respond to questions and enquiries from the road transport industry in a timely fashion.

"Sydney Ports is liaising with DP World senior management in order to minimise the impact of these delays."

The spokesman says the port is working with industry to assist with traffic management in the precinct

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) introduced the same system as DP World in South African ports in the past year.

Michelle Swart and Donovan Govender of DAL Agency, were quoted in the Shipping in South Africa blog last year as saying that N4 had proved sensitive and not very user-friendly initially but "works wonders" once people get used to it.

They say it gave great transparency to shipping lines in tracking containers but add that there is no "real" back-up for the server if there is a down time.

More recently, TPT acknowledged "teething problems" at Durban early in the year but these had been rectified through "training and upgrades", africanews.it reported last week.

This had resulted in 99 percent uptime in the six months to last month, TPT was reported as saying.


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