IORA Transnational Skills Development – Port Operations Project

The Department of Education and Training have engaged TLISC to undertake a project with a number of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) countries to address the skills needs and develop occupational standards within the port industry in the region. A delegation of VET and Port Industry representatives from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka and Australia were involved in a workshop in Canberra and Sydney between 16 and 19 November 2015.

To contextualise the project, here are some vital statistics about the Indian Ocean Rim:

  • The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water on Earth, covering an area of over 68.5 million square kilometres
  • The region is bounded by 36 key countries – 20 of which are members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association – and is home to over 2 billion people.
  • It carries half the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo and two thirds of the world’s oil supplies.

With major shipping traffic flowing through the Indian Ocean region and growing by up to 10 percent a year, it is paramount that ports be able to handle cargo efficiently and effectively to ensure minimal turn around times.

Skills development is critical to ensure ports have the capacity to deal with major shifts within the industry and TLISC’s IORA project is assisting the region with the development and maintenance of a skilled workforce.

The week began with Joanna Wood, Director International Skills Cooperation at the Department of Education and Training welcoming delegates to the Canberra Institute of Technology. Background briefings of the VET and port systems within each participating country led to active discussions regarding the advantages and opportunities within each system.

An exploration of the key priorities for skills development in the region followed with the following three port job roles identified and given priority for the development of associated occupational standards:

  • Crane Operator
  • Operations Supervisor
  • Yard Planner

With Australia being home to some of the most technologically advanced port operations in the world, the delegation moved on to Sydney and visited Patrick’s AutoStrad Terminal in Port Botany, to observe the day-to-day operations of a port capable of handling 1.6 million TEUs per year.

Mr Andrew Thompson, Engineering & Maintenance Manager – Port Botany Terminal, provided a tour of the port which includes 45 automated straddle carriers, known as AutoStrads. These carries manoeuvre 20 and 40 foot shipping containers, unmanned, from trucks to holding stacks to ship-to-shore cranes and back, all controlled by a highly complex algorithm which is overseen by managers in a control tower above the port.

The new operation has seen considerable improvements in safety, efficiency and customer service. Delegates also had the opportunity to use the gantry crane operations simulator.

The delegation also visited the Transport and Logistics Living Lab, operated by Data 61 (previously NICTA). The lab, dedicated to testing and demonstrating new technologies available in the Transport and Logistics industry, has a particular focus on developing and scaling Australian innovations into the market. Mr Neil Temperley, Manager of the lab and Mr Thomas Vitsounis, project leader, introduced the facility and some of the initiatives currently under development in supply chain management and shipping innovation.

The final day of the workshop was dedicated to reviewing the work undertaken so far and sharing stakeholder engagement strategies, as well as focussing on how to address barriers to participation across sectors. A communication and engagement plan was also developed for the next stages of the project, which will see wider consultation from a broad range of stakeholders across each of the participating economies. Delegates also had the opportunity to meet TLISC CEO, Mr Robert Adams, who thanked them for their participation and dedication to the project

TLISC will coordinate the final drafting and validation of the work undertaken at the workshop with countries conducting stakeholder engagement activities for peer endorsement of the standards.

The project will be completed in June 2016, with the final development of the three job roles and associated competency standards. Benchmarking will also be undertaken to build an understanding of how the job roles will fit into the associated educational and training environments.

TLISC thanks Patrick Port Botany and Data 61 for their generous efforts and time in ensuring workshop participants were able to experience and observe the exciting advances being made within the ports industry within Australia and overseas.

Partnerships are a key component of building relationships across the vast distances of the Indian Ocean Rim. TLISC would like to thank all the delegates for their time and participation in the first stage of the IORA Development of Transnational Skill Standards project. The project has forged new friendships with our international counterparts, and we look forward to many more fruitful partnerships in the future.