Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal

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As the operator of South Australia's only international Container Terminal it is of vital importance to Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal and their customers that there is a fast turnaround and efficient movement of goods. To achieve these standards it is important that FACT maintains a quality workforce that is well trained in the specific areas of operation, and stevedoring is a specialised skill that is not readily available in the market and therefore training is necessary.


FACT employs roughly 250 people in stevedoring, and allocates an annual training budget of around $2million. Handling around 400,000 containers a year, this breaks down as $5 spent on training for every container handled or $8,000 per individual a year.


FACT is a recognised RTO through a license agreement with the Construction Industry Training Centre and they offer training programs from entry level trainees (inducting roughly 16 new staff each year) through Forklift, Crane and Reach Stacker training all the way to skills development for upper management.

 

Due to the nature of the work, tasks at the terminal are rotated every 2.5 hours which means employees must be well rounded in a variety of skills and positions. The monetary value of training can be best understood in this example of a Crane Operator. After typically undergoing as much as 4 years of training, a new Crane Operator may average 18 movements an hour (loading a container from ship to wharf - or vice versa). Following training on the crane itself employees are likely to be brought up to a standard of 24 movements an hour - a 25% increase in productivity. This productivity boost is essential for a company that sells the efficient movement of freight under time constraints. Each ship has attached KPI's that need to be met so as they minimise their port stay and continue with their journey.


Naturally the terminal can make more money by using less labour loading/unloading a ship but with cost penalties and regulatory oversight of their operations it is essential that FACT maintain an efficient workforce to maintain profitability.


FACT's biggest single training investment to date is scheduled to be the purchase of a $1.5 million harbour crane and straddle carrier simulator. Coming from CM Labs in Canada the crane simulator will be established within a 40ft shipping container and is fully integrated with the separate straddle carrier simulator also coming from CM Labs in Canada.


Calculations provided by FACT indicate that the simulator is expected to halve training time and upskill employees quicker into the operation of the harbour cranes, resulting in improved productivity .
FACT expects the simulator to have its investment returned in two years. This implies a benefit of $750,000 a year from Year 3, a significant figure that is more than a third of the entire training budget of FACT. The benefits will also increase as throughput through the terminal increases.