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Vote for Navis Inspire award Terminal Operations Improvement SCCT

February 2015
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Terminal: Suez Canal Container Terminal

Entry Submitted by: Jan Buijze, COO

Navis Inspire Awards Category: Terminal Operations Improvement


Tell us about your terminal. 

The most unique characteristic of Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) is that it is located in Port Said, Egypt at the mouth of the Suez Canal on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a major transshipment hub for the Eastern Mediterranean region and a gateway port for local Egyptian cargo. The terminal’s current capacity is 5.4 million TEU, making it one of the largest container terminals on the Mediterranean Sea. SCCT started operations in 2004 and is operated by APM Terminals, the major shareholder. 


We are one of the largest sites in the world that has gone live successfully with Navis N4 (our old TOS was RBS) where the advanced modules as Expert Decking and Prime Route were implemented from the very start.

A large portion of world trade is passing doors, providing us significant opportunities to attract customers. 

Why are you nominating your terminal for this category? Describe the project, what was it and why was is/it unique and important?

We are nominating our project in the terminal operations improvement category.

The biggest challenge was the migration of a large and complex facility from RBS (Australian TOS) to Navis N4 TOS. We have migrated to N4 including all the advanced functionalities such as Expert Decking and Prime Route and in fact this is the first go live where the advanced modules of Expert Decking and Prime Route were successfully implemented from the start. SCCT, APMT, TBA and Navis teams have worked closely together to achieve a successful implementation.

Furthermore, the SCCT migration has been one of the largest, if not the largest, N4 migration in the history of the TOS. Currently, it is one of the largest sites in the world running with the advanced modules of Navis TOS.

After go-live (September 2014) experienced a significant drop in Productivity (15 moves/hour) but we have steadily increased productivity and are presently (February 2015) operating between 26-27 moves/hour. We are not there yet (29+) but this will hopefully be a matter of time.

An added complexity was the fact that we simultaneously went live with N4 billing and it is fair to state that no vessel related invoices were delayed more than a few days during go-live and we have internally and externally validated that no revenue was leaked as consequence of changing systems.

The success of this large terminal using Navis’ state-of-the-art software shows what N4 is capable of achieving.

Describe the Goals and Objectives that you had for the project.

Goal for the project included the following:

Optimise terminal logistics through automation 

  • Eliminate manual interference
  • Use automation to enhance our productivity

Please tell us about the project planning, development and execution.

We had a project manager who reported to the steering committee, which included the COO, CFO, Chief Commercial Officer, Operations Manager and Planning Manager. This group took all the key decisions, approved project plans, budgets and followed up on the progress of the plan as agreed.

For the first nine months, we met once a month and when we were closer to the go-live, we met bi-weekly. In the last month, the meetings happened on a weekly basis. Even after the go-live, we continued to meet twice a week to be able to act quickly on issues and developments that needed escalation or attention.

The go-live preparation took a year and we were committed to keeping the whole organization informed on all decisions and steps, what was to be expected and what the changes would entail. Since we did this from the beginning of the project, it created good faith and a positive vibe about the whole project.

We focused on all employees from yard planners to the equipment operators. We have 1,200 operators and another 1,000 contractors who are working in our trucks. We put a lot of focus in keeping them involved and abreast of any changes and benefits. We spent significant time on training. Overall, we have been able to make the change to N4 without to much noise.

Productivity went down temporarily due to various technical issues we had in the beginning of the project—network coverage, certain things in the release and mistakes from our own staff. As the project progressed and people got better at operating the system, things started to improve.

We developed in-house applications for RBS, but many of these in-house apps became redundant for N4. Either functionality was available fully or partially in N4.

Please detail key measures, metrics, and ROI results. Include as much detail as you can including examples and evidence. How has your operation or business improved as a result of this project?

We expect to grow substantially over the next couple of years and we would simply not be able to manage with our old (RBS) TOS. We migrated mid September 2014 and the productivity level is now between 26-27 moves/hour, which is 1-1.5 points below what it was before the N4 implementation. However, the expectation is that we will do better than that in the long-term. The good thing is that we did not have a meltdown. There are various examples in this industry where a change of TOS has resulted in a meltdown at the terminal and where it took months to recover.

The process of handling a truck when it gets into our gate has been reduced by 50%. We are also expecting increased efficiency in both planning and execution. It’s important to involve your own workforce and key people from an early stage at terminals, so you are familiar with the people and they are ready to help you when you need them.

What are the factors that affected the project positively or negatively? What lessons would you like to share with the Navis community?

From the preparation period, our teams were well-organized. This allowed us to catch any issues at an early stage before they became an obstacle. As with all projects, communication is key, particularly with our internal teams. If everybody remains open and objective, things go smoothly. 

The big lessons we learned are to make sure you get the real buy in from the people who will be using the new application. In the test period, try to implement the system with as little customization as possible, and when you have a release with some level of customization, test it over and over again.

We started testing in April and did several full cycles before the go live. We started the testing process first with super users and then we involved more people within the organization. We did that on a rotation based on their shifts. In doing all the testing, everyone got a good number of hours using the system.

Who were the key team members who drove and contributed to the success of the project. 


Mohamed Abouwarda – Project Manager

Mohammed Tamer – Planning Manager

Jan Buijze – COO

Fredrik Klinke - CFO

Eslam Hossni – Superuser

Lars Koch-Soelyst  - CCO


APM Headquarters: 

Brian Hibbert

James Burgess



Raoul van Heffen

Santhana Manickam

Richard Chan

Richard Bennis 

Bert de Groot