Published on 08 February 2017
Go back to 2013 and Mariagiovanna Piazza and David Guzman could be forgiven for the occasional heated discussion over business matters. As vessel berth planners for Maersk Line and APM Terminals in the busy port of Algeciras, Spain, their interests – as buyer and seller – often clashed.
That has all changed under the Hub Partnership Programme, an effort by Maersk Line and APM Terminals to foster closer working relations. With shared goals and incentives across the two businesses, the programme has over the last four years led to dramatically better operations in the terminal, a critical hub in Maersk Line’s global vessel network.
“It’s a complete change,” says Piazza of the programme and the results. “We sit together, we use the same technology, we see the same information and we plan together according to what the best outcome is for Maersk, not just for APM Terminals or Maersk Line.”
“It's a complete change,” says Mariagiovanna Piazza (right) of her working relationship with David Guzman (left).
We sit together, we use the same technology, we see the same information and we plan together according to what the best outcome is for Maersk, not just for APM Terminals or Maersk Line.MARIAGIOVANNA PIAZZA, VESSEL BERTH PLANNER, MAERSK LINE
These efforts strengthen Transport & Logistics integration, bringing increased benefits for business and customers alike. Today, thanks to the programme, APM Terminals Algeciras is one of Europe’s most productive and busiest ports. Maersk Line is now able to ensure that vessels arrive and depart in time frames that maximise berth utilisation while working with the terminal to prioritise cargo and attain operational efficiency.
“The result in Algeciras is inspiring for both APM Terminals and Maersk Line. And it was achieved at a time when the two businesses were not as directly linked as they are now within the Transport & Logistics division,” says APM Terminals CEO Morten Engelstoft. “We continue to improve our operations and look forward to expanding the Hub Partnership Programme to other hubs, where appropriate, under the new strategy.”
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Before the programme began, Algeciras was a source of operational challenges for Maersk Line despite its status as the only customer in the terminal. Berthing plans required long negotiations and container operations often failed to meet expectations.
Inefficiency was costing APM Terminals Algeciras productivity and laying big costs on Maersk Line: With APM Terminals unable to handle the capacity coming into its Algeciras and nearby Tangier facilities, Maersk Line had to turn to the port of Malaga to handle the surplus, at a cost of EUR 30 million per year.
To turn this around, the Hub Partnership Programme focused on better communication and cooperation enabled by technology. To improve and speed up communication, people like Piazza and Guzman were put side by side in the same office, eliminating back and forth emails and phone calls. Technology including forecasting and decision-making tools with shared view allowed them to make “what if”-type decisions instantly, and together, and with clear understanding of each other’s needs.
“Now we have the flexibility to determine together the best outcome for all sides, and quickly,” says Guzman.