PH joins UNCTAD port data project

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THE Philippines is one of 13 new countries that have signed on to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) port data project, the agency reported this week.

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With the new members, who joined the project in November, there are now 42 participating ports in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, UNCTAD said in a statement.

BETTER DATA, BETTER PERFORMANCE The Philippines is now part of a port data analysis project by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which aims to help ports improve performance through more consistent and organized data.  Photo: University of the Aegean

BETTER DATA, BETTER PERFORMANCE The Philippines is now part of a port data analysis project by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which aims to help ports improve performance through more consistent and organized data. Photo: University of the Aegean

The project, which started in 2013, provides a customized assessment, or scorecard, on 23 indicators of financial stability, labor productivity and operational efficiency of participating ports according to a standardized data management model. The scorecard measures indicators ranging from revenue generated per employee, to average ship waiting times, to tonnage handled per hectare of land.

UNCTAD believe that for a port gateway better data analysis leads to better performance.

“For ports to work better, managers need to benchmark their performance on a wide range of indicators, but there’s a lack of reliable data for port managers to use,” UNCTAD Project Manager Mark Assaf said in a separate statement.

Assaf explained that most port data is aggregated at the country level as opposed to looking at individual ports, and with the exception of containers, few global standards exist.

“Port managers want to know that they can trust the data, and that they’re comparing apples to apples,” Assaf said.

“This is why from day one we’ve made sure the ports in the project agree on the indicators, the units of measurement and the methodology,” he said, adding that UNCTAD verifies the data and ensures it remains confidential.

UNCTAD provided some examples of how the scorecard could benefit ports. One port, for example, showed that its handling rates are competitive for containers but not for dry-bulk. For another port, it revealed that labor costs are competitive, but that this is due more to lower wages than higher productivity.

PH to benefit

“The type of detailed performance analysis the scorecard allows is extremely helpful for honing in on the weaker links in our operations, and coming up with better strategies,” Hector Miole, Assistant General Manager for Operations at the Philippine Ports Authority, said in a statement.

“As an island nation, we manage hundreds of ports, and not all provide the same data, so the project is helping us harmonize information too,” Miole added

The ports’ scorecards currently assess data from 2010 to 2015, but will be updated on an annual basis beginning with 2016 data.

UNCTAD has been helping ports improve their management since 1996, working with some 200 ports in 29 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the agency said.

 

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