Associated Petroleum Terminals (APT)
February 28, 2014
Associated Petroleum Terminals (APT) is a company jointly owned by ConocoPhillips and TOTAL Fina Elf which was established to operate the marine terminals serving their Humber refineries. APT has used SEABERTH for the last three years at the Port of Immingham where berthing operations have to meet the priorities of both shareholders on a first-come-first-serve basis.
For a number of years, APT handled this complex and constantly changing operation manually. Experience and best assumptions made effective planning possible but only within a two-day window and the process was slow with the result that scheduling could never be fully optimised. Having assessed a range of alternative systems, APT turned to Cirrus Logistics to implement its SEABERTH software product.
A Powerful Planning Board The seven berths at APT give considerable flexibility but have various constraints, such as tides, berth capacity, pipeline routing and planned maintenance, making optimisation of berth occupancy a complex issue. This is particularly so during busy periods when berths may be allocated up to week in advance. SEABERTH quickly proved its value in helping to manage both regular and ad hoc issues. Essentially, the tool is a planning board, similar to the traditional whiteboard but, crucially, it harnesses the power of modern technology to deliver a visualisation of the process, revealing the implications of alternative plans on terminal activity and costs.
Solutions: Reducing Costs & Improving Throughput
Using SEABERTH, the APT team was able to improve its long term planning, identify potential delays and ensure that full information about the ships and their cargoes was known. This facilitated best use of port infrastructure and allowed scheduling of berth outages for maintenance. When faced with more unusual problems, SEABERTH’s manual override capability meant that APT managers could quickly change the plan, within their level of authority, delivering a rapid response. Meanwhile, the Berth Simulation module meant that APT was able to run ‘What if?’ scenarios to assess options for long term procedural or structural change. As a result, the company found it was able to optimise both cost and throughput for day-to-day operations and plan more effectively for the long term.
Solutions: Enabling Communications & Generating Confidence
APT soon realised that the platform for these benefits was the visibility inherent in the system together with the ability to simulate any number of options. The implications of both long and short term changes and constraints were literally visible to the eye and could easily be factored into planning and shared between all parties involved. Images from the scheduling screen could be communicated to members of the team as a focus for discussion and decision-making and the process was thus significantly simplified. Use of SEABERTH also led to an important new confidence in the decisions taken, not only on the part of the operators but also from the viewpoint of the two shareholders.
“SEABERTH has given us the confidence that we are optimising our berthing operations in line with our commercial priorities. The system was easy to implement and overall has proven to be a considerable benefit to operations and planning.”
Oil Movemens Controller