MAERSK Line CEO Soren Skou says there has been too little progress in reducing the time a ship is worked and back to sea, reports Newark's Journal of Commerce.
Speaking after Maersk's annual report, Mr Skou said: "We continue to build ships that are bigger and bigger and if we can't get the containers off faster the whole thing will come to a grinding halt.
"Since 2007 the ship size in the Asia-Europe trade has effectively doubled. We used to have the 6,500-TEU ship being the workhouse, now it's the 13,000 TEU ship. Our point is simply that port productivity has not doubled since then.
"While there has been improvement in productivity, we are spending more time in port because of bigger ships."
Maersk pointed out in its financial report that: "Since 2007, the time spent in port by our vessels has increased significantly.
"Port and terminal productivity has not been able to follow suit with the increase in vessel size. On an Asia-Europe round-trip the time spent in port (one vessel on average) has increased from 12 days (2007) to 18 days."
Mr Skou said productivity improvements boils down to crane productivity, that is, the number of lifts performed by one crane per hour.
The other measure is total number of moves per hour while a ship is in port, which considers both the pace at which individual cranes operate as well as the total number of cranes assigned to work a ship, as well as how well the carrier and terminal cooperate.
When it comes to individual crane productivity, Mr Skou said: "The industry is stuck at 25 to 30 moves per crane, per hour. We haven't had any breakthrough development that can get that to 40 to 50 moves per hour.
"What I always ask terminal operators is, 'what are they doing to make a leap frogging move in productivity?' The crane productivity hasn't really improved for many years, at least from what we can see in our numbers."
JOC Port Productivity data collected from major container lines supports the idea that the numbers aren't improving. For ships of 10,000 TEU and above, total moves per hour globally dropped from 114 to 111 from 2013 to 2014, according to preliminary 2014 data.
Source : SN-TR.