A global maritime consultancy has carried out a pivotal assessment review of tugboat operations in the new third set of NeoPanamax locks of the $5.25 billion Expanded Panama Canal and made other operational observations.
The Maritime Group (International) Ltd (TMG) was instructed by Autoridad del Canal de Panama (Panama Canal Authority – ACP) with a brief to focus on Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) procedures.
ACP accepted TMG’s findings and is now considering any modifications to its procedures and the optimization of its schedules.
TMG Managing Director, Captain Malcolm W Parrott said: “We were selected after a highly competitive international bidding process for our depth of experience and expertise in all aspects of the study including shipping, operations and safety procedures.
“Our findings will contribute to a quicker, more efficient and safer operation on the canal for the benefits of ACP’s shipping company, military and leisure customers as well as their employees and suppliers.
“That fact that ACP decided to invest in this project demonstrates that it is a forward thinking organisation with a focus on its staff.
“It was a pleasure to work with all at ACP and we are now discussing working together on future projects for this pre-eminent waterway.”
TMG’s team of experts included Captain M W Parrott, Captain Orlando Allard the ex-Chief Pilot of the Panama Canal and Captain John R Freestone, the ex-Chief Pilot of the Port of London Authority.
The team spent a considerable time in Panama transiting the canal and both new and old locks aboard transiting vessels and assisting ACP tugboats.
They held lengthy interviews and meetings with all canal stakeholders and spent time at ACP’s world class training facilities at the new ship handling lake at Summit and simulators and training facilities at the Center for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR).
The team was led professionally by John P Crummie, ex-managing director of DFDS Seaways, assisted by Kevin W Hawes, TMG’s Business Development Director.
Contribution was also made by Captain Ashwani Singhania from TMG’s newly registered company in Singapore -The Maritime Group (Asia), showing the true international diversity and reach of TMG.
For benchmarking purposes TMG professionals gathered operational data and information from other port operations experienced in handling NeoPanamax size vessels using tugboats in UK and European ports.
Stephen Canning, a senior manager from TMG’s strategic partner Peter Brett Associates (PBA), provided key analytical support to TMG’s efforts.
Captain John M Cox, president of The Maritime Group, Inc. in the USA, an ex-Panama Canal pilot also contributed his expertise.
Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L Quijano said: “TMG’s high standards and aspiration for excellence match our own.
“This study will play a major role as we continue to expand capacity in a sustainable and safe way, whilst also helping to drive international trade and prosperity.”
ACP is an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal.
TMG’s headquarters are in Seattle, USA, and it has a regional offices in London, Hawaii and Singapore.