DP World consider floating pilot station at Jebel Ali
DP World is considering the development of a floating pilot station at the entrance to the channel at Jebel Ali Port as a means to possibly enhance efficiency further.
Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president, managing director, UAE Region, DP World, told Maritime & Ports Middle East that the global port operator was considering a range of options to speed up operations within the port.
One of the stages in the port operations cycle that causes the most ‘waste’ in terms of time, is the time it takes to transfer a pilot from the port to an incoming ship, or bring a pilot back to port from an outbound vessel.
“At the moment, we have a pilot boat concept under development that will be able to take pilots to or from arriving and departing ships at double the speed currently possible,” Al Muallem told Maritime & Ports Middle East.
“However, we’re also looking into building a floating pilot station at the entrance to our channel, with pilots stationed there to reach the incoming ships easier, and when the ship is leaving, it’s faster and easier for them to get back to the station,” he added.
“We measure everything, we look at all aspects from the time the ship arrives at the channel to the time it gets to the berth, to the time the first container is landed, to the time it takes to get to the yard and then eventually leaves the port,” said Al Muallem.
“From the moment the ship arrives on station we have a pilot ready to go aboard and bring the ship into port and from the moment it comes alongside the cranes are ready, we want no delays whatsoever,” he added.
Pilots that Maritime & Ports have spoken to voiced concerns with such an arrangement, pointing out that transferring from the pilot station to the pilot boat would become problematic in rough weather.
Al Muellem says that the proposal is only in the consideration stage at present and issues such as these will need to be ironed out before a decision on whether to go ahead with the plan is implemented.