Stowage planning is an extremely hard discipline that is taught in an apprenticeship fashion within liner shipping companies. By utilising each container vessel maximally and incorporating knowledge about stowage planning in both operational and commercial functions, it is possible to optimise revenue. A new book provides a complete guideline to professionalising planning.
The shipping industry is suffering under the fact that stowage planning is not supported by a standard reference that planners can use to optimise vessel utilisation. According to Rune Møller Jensen, chief author of the book Container Vessel Stowage Planning, not being able to calculate and plan how to make the most out of the fleet asset in the network is a huge problem to liner shipping companies:
“With an industry running at a profit margin of just a few percent and a very high cost level, professionalising stowage planning has a high business value. Our research and experience within this area shows that if you are professionalising planning and using software tools that make free stowage capacity visible in both operational and commercial functions such as uptake and capacity management, you may be able to increase revenue by 5-10 percent.”
The book has just been put on the market and is the first guideline to professional stowage planning onboard container vessels. It is published by Weilbach and written by Rune Møller Jensen, Dario Pacino, Mai Lise Ajspur and Claus Vesterdal and builds on a wide experience and cooperation with several large industry players in shipping.
Unskilled planners are causing losses
Historically, stowage planning has been taught by apprenticeship and it can take several years until a new planner is properly trained to take on the task of planning efficiently. Consequently, shipping companies may constantly be operating with planners of which up to 20 percent are not yet fully skilled.
“Moreover, there is a high staff turnover in the stowage planning departments. These factors are causing losses to shipping companies because the container vessels are not being utilised maximally. By using the book as the basis for onboarding new planners and educating officers at sea, you can accelerate the learning process and achieve a more efficient and systematic planning process,” explains Rune Møller Jensen.
As well as being a tool for professionalising stowage planning, the book also helps to increase sales and optimise cargo flow in the network.
“When managing capacity and selling cargo bookings, you are very dependent on your colleague’s knowledge and input on how to load a ship because it takes a lot of experience to be able to do that yourself. Therefore, uptake, capacity, and network design managers can also benefit from gaining an insight into stowage planning because effective planning will help to increase sales and secure a better cargo flow on the network,” says Rune Møller Jensen.
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Source: Maritime Shipping News