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Port of Brisbane customer stewardship exemplar

Customer centred for the whole journey

The Better Infrastructure Initiative identified eight industry exemplars who represent what good customer stewardship looks like and how it is being practiced in Australia. Port of Brisbane is one of those 2017 exemplars.

Port of Brisbane is a private unlisted entity. It is owned by some of Australia’s and the world’s largest and most influential infrastructure funds management companies. The Queensland Government privatised the Port of Brisbane in November 2010. It is therefore the most mature of the major gateway capital city container ports privatised by the state governments of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria over the past ten years.

Port of Brisbane is a cornerstone of the logistics and transport network of Brisbane and the wider South-East Queensland regional area. Its inclusion in Australia’s 2017 Customer Stewardship Exemplars reflects the port’s multidimensional approach that touches many aspect of the customer stewardship framework.

Of particular interest is the innovative way in which Port of Brisbane has, in close consultation with its technology partner, customers and state government stakeholders, developed and applied new technology in favour of stronger long-term customer outcomes. The sensor and data network permits a substantial increase in the size of vessels processed in the port without requiring extensive and environmentally challenging dredging to increase the physical capacity of the channel.

The consultative development used by Port of Brisbane is an excellent example of customer-centred design and innovation encompassed in Principle 5. That is, evidence of integrating customer needs and preferences into decision-making for infrastructure design and ongoing service delivery. There is also clear evidence of innovation encompassed in Principle 8, where the Port is acting and investing in dynamic and relevant customer outcomes.

Optimising channel access with world-leading technology

Globally, shipping vessels continue to grow in size and an increasing number of larger container vessels are seeking to call in on Brisbane.

In November 2016, Port of Brisbane worked with a range of stakeholders, including the Harbour Master, Brisbane Marine Pilots, tug operators, Maersk and Patrick Terminal, to welcome the first 8500TEU vessel into Brisbane – a major achievement.

Port of Brisbane has worked closely with specialist engineering and environmental consultants DHI and developed NCOS (Nonlinear Channel Optimization Simulator), a big data-based technology that can accurately predict a vessel’s underwater keel clearance. NCOS lets larger vessels safely navigate the channel on certain tide windows (taking account of conditions such as tides, wind and waves). NCOS was successfully launched in August 2017, and it is expected it will greatly reduce the need for costly and disruptive capital works to deepen the channel.

NCOS is now delivering significant operational benefits for the port and its customers. Its high level of accuracy, together with stringent oversight greatly reduces risk for Port of Brisbane and the shipping industry while allowing greater flexibility and better vessel scheduling that bring network-wide benefits. Port of Brisbane is continuing to work with DHI, the Harbour Master and other stakeholders to fully implement NCOS into the port’s systems (Principle 3, Stakeholder management).

Integrating with transport networks

Principle 7, planning: All infrastructure requires evidence of long-term planning to support its current and future strategic and operational requirements.

Since privatisation, Port of Brisbane has also been effective in accessing capital and implementing large-scale network planning, capital expenditure and development projects. These major capital works are integrating the port’s operations into its customers’ logistics chains and getting the most productivity benefits from state and federal transport networks.

Examples of Port of Brisbane’s planning and development projects are:

  • AUD110 million Port Drive upgrade, delivered ahead of capacity constraints to boost safety, as well as greatly enhance the productivity of its customers/logistics/transport businesses
  • planning for south-east Queensland’s only mega cruise ship terminal with a 500-metre berth, catering for the world’s biggest cruise liners well into the future (currently the biggest cruise liner is 362 metres long). It is expected this infrastructure will be a catalyst for the national tourism industry
  • working with customers on data management and integration, which is in the very early stages of assessing the value of a Port Community System, whereby supply chain data can be integrated, delivering productivity benefits
  • working with stevedores and container customers on the potential for automated vehicles, along with a AUD2 million partnership with University of Queensland for ten research projects into both economic and environmental challenges.

Port of Brisbane strategic planning unites a customer-centred and long-term view to identify and resolve issues that will affect its future operating environment. The proposed Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail project is a case in point where essential and urgent corridor planning is needed today so that this new national rail link can connect to Port of Brisbane.

The Port has been a leader (Principle 10) in working with government as a catalyst to better customer and stakeholder fulfilment. By tackling one of the most challenging issues in infrastructure, Port of Brisbane is seeking to fix the so-called ‘last mile’ challenge so infrastructure transport networks can be complete and operate to their maximum potential.

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Image courtesy of Port of Brisbane.