That a 40-foot container can fit 25,000 Barbie dolls may not be all that impressive unless you are a load planner or entertaining a group of 10-year-olds.
Putting a new spin on career development, a consortium of public/private interests in New York City is fronting a program to introduce area youth to the Brooklyn waterfront and the world of maritime logistics. And Barbie dolls are a good place to start.
Manhattan-based Working Harbor Committee (WHC) took youth groups from all five New York boroughs on a "Special Youth Hidden Harbor Tour" in mid-August to educate children about the waterfront and its impact on the local economy, as well as to tease their interest in the types of employment opportunities available in the maritime shipping industry.
"We want everyone to know about the benefits of the port—what it means and how important it is," says Lucy Ambrosino of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a guest speaker on the August 17 tour. Ambrosino highlighted the importance of staying in school and learning about the different types of maritime jobs.
The WHC started in 2002, and thanks to a partnership with tour operator Circle Line 42, began offering educational programs and tours for New York City youth in 2005. Ocean carrier Maersk Line became a partner of the program in 2006 and The Maritime Society of the City of New York is also a supporter.
The tours are developed individually based on age, with programs for both elementary and high school students.
Meg Black, program director of the WHC, often uses a crane arcade game to explain the container loading and unloading process to children.
Before each group takes the Harbor Tour, Black conducts a workshop to prepare the students for the trip. Children assemble Maersk Lego sets, then discuss what an ocean carrier is and what role it plays in driving the U.S. economy.
Betsy Haggerty, a WHC board member who joined Ambrosino to narrate the tour, pointed out landmarks such as the World Trade Center site, and asked children if they could spot vessels that were on their checklist.
She also explained to the group how a tugboat is able to push multiple barges and how to tell if a barge is carrying fuel or not.
In no time, children were screaming and shouting in accomplishment as they located and identified tugboats, water taxis, and other vessels.
High School groups tour the New York Container Terminal and the WHC mentors students about in-house internships while also offering a resource for individuals to e-mail maritime employees with industry questions.
The program also provides interested students with a list of trade schools, colleges, and scholarships available in North America to help them get started in the industry.
"It's extremely important to give youth options in life," says Black. "Many of them are not aware of what is out there."
With 239,000 jobs available in the New York/New Jersey maritime industry, people with all levels of education can find employment. "The maritime industry needs employees because of its growth," she adds.
Students are showing signs they are equally receptive to the WHC's mission. On the tour, Ambrosino asked: "Does anybody here like chocolate? Who drinks orange juice in the morning? Who has a cell phone? How do you think it gets here?"
The children shouted back, "China!"
U.S. Ports to Profit From New Green Machine
Government and private sector efforts to green the supply chain and create a more efficient environment for moving freight have been bolstered by a recent project spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Plans to develop and test a new EPA-patented hydraulic hybrid technology on large equipment used to move products from ships to trucks (and currently utilized by some UPS vehicles) are moving full steam ahead at U.S. ports.
Key partners in the project include The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, A.P.M. Terminals, Kalmar Industries, Parker Hannifin Corporation, and the Port of Rotterdam - with whom EPA will share project information.
These heavy-duty diesel machines, called yard hostlers, contribute to air pollution generated in ports throughout the world. The hybrid vehicles feature a unique hydraulic hybrid power train that can generate, recover, store, and reuse braking power with very little air pollution.
"We've made tremendous strides toward becoming an environmentally friendly port, but we need to do more if we are to continue to be recognized as a national leader in this area," says Richard M. Larrabee, New York Port Authority port commerce director.
"The new program - coupled with existing programs to preserve environmentally sensitive land, build new rail facilities that will reduce our dependence on trucks, and retrofit ferries with cleaner-burning engines - will allow us to maintain a sustainable port well into the future."
Specifically, the hybrid vehicles use a diesel-hydraulic system that combines the cleanest available diesel engine technology with components that use hydraulic fluid compression to store energy.
The hostlers feature hydraulic hybrid power trains to provide power to the drive axles. Hydraulic tanks are used to store energy, in contrast to the less-efficient batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying brakes is reused to help accelerate the vehicle.
The hydraulic hybrid technology is expected to improve the fuel efficiency of yard tractors by 50 to 60 percent, reduce or eliminate emissions during idling, and decrease brake wear.
The same hydraulic hybrid technology that has shown dramatic energy efficiency improvements in delivery trucks can be applied to other equipment used to move goods. The UPS hydraulic hybrid truck, by example, shows potential savings of 1,000 gallons of fuel per year.
Path to Collaboration
While the progression toward supply chain integration continues to break down operational and philosophical walls within enterprises, the promise of true collaboration is fleeting, finds a new CAPS research study, Achieving World-Class Supply Chain Collaboration: Managing the Transformation.
Managers are spending more time evaluating supply chain-enabled business models, but have yet to fully grasp the nature of collaboration or the concept of what it takes to achieve a truly collaborative environment, the report suggests.
Supply chain collaboration remains ad hoc and fragmented in all but the most mature supply chain relationships and companies are still not sure how to piece them together into a coherent strategic plan.
Given the real potential for global disruptions and the volatility of fluctuating demand and supply, businesses that aren't proactively investing in and growing supply chain partnerships are especially vulnerable.
To help companies better understand the forces that are driving changes in supply chain collaboration, the study provides a three-step process to identify, assess, and communicate a path toward collaborative advantage.
1. Introspection: A company's philosophy, which consists of two building blocks: customer orientation and systems thinking orientation.
2. Supply chain design: A corporate methodology including these five steps: scanning, mapping, costing, competency/outsourcing management, and rationalization.
3. Supply chain collaboration: Practices employed to drive transformation, which include relationship alignment, information sharing, performance measurement, people empowerment, and collaborative learning.