Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s Vice President Terminals and Stevedore (EMEA), Michael Rye, explains why safety is key to their landside operations in Southampton, which dealt with 680 vessels and handled more than 425,000 vehicles including 390,000 cars last year.
“We saw a welcome increase in the number of automobiles we handled in 2018 through the Port of Southampton.' said WW Solutions' Michael Rye. 'Our outreach sees us dealing with all the major global markets, predominantly North America, Asia and Australia.“In order to accomplish that level of throughput, we have put safety at the centre of all we do with our Safety First initiative.“We want our employees going home to their families at the end of the day the same way they came to work,” he said.
We are always looking at ways to add quality for our customers and making sure their needs are always met.
A ground-up approach means every employee has a voice and if they see something that is dangerous, they are encouraged to pipe up.
“Even if it is detrimental to the productivity of the operation, we want to know so we can fix any potentially dangerous the situation.
“We offer incentives and recognition but more than that there is a real sense of pride on the terminal over our safety record. We have a board which shows the number of days we have gone without serious incidents and when our team sees it hit 100 days and then 200 days, you can really feel the pride,” he said.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen was formed in 2017 when Wilhelmsen of Norway and Wallenius of Sweden brought together their 157-year heritage. Globally, WW Solutions oversees the throughput of 7.5 million cars through 44 vehicle processing centres. The Port of Southampton is their largest UK operation.
In 2018, WW Solutions took on stevedoring operations at the Port of Southampton (moving the cars on and off the ships and from the five or six trains that bring cars to the port directly from the car plants each day).
“That has meant we are now working with different labour pools than we have in the past. We treat them very much as part of our work force and they are very much aware of our safety ethos.
“We have employee forums and safety groups where issues can be discussed, and we have safety champions who wear Safety Champion tabards. We are living and breathing safety and our champions mean there is good liaison throughout the workforce and people can easily see with whom they can raise any safety concerns,” said Michael.
New Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean vessels are coming on line with an order for eight new HERO class (High Efficiency Ro-Ro) vessels and five already completed. These new cleaner, greener vessels with greater capacity are already visiting the Port of Southampton.
“We are always looking at ways to add quality for our customers and making sure their needs are always met.
“New initiatives in 2019 will include the further roll-out of HERO class vessels which offer higher optimisation on fuel efficiency, special wave resistant technology and greater flexibility inside the vessel which means we can get more vehicles on the ships. On the terminal side there will be a move to improve digitisation and improve infrastructure to handle the development of alternative fuel and semi-autonomous vehicles.” he said. The adoption of new digital technology will also mean that customers can track their cargo in real time.
“They can see when their vehicles are being loaded and when the ship will sail. We’ve gone from a ‘wait-andsee’ operation to offering live data that is vital for accurate planning. These new tools will help customers manage their business better, faster, smarter.” he said.