Not just any Port in a Storm

A country can only survive if it can get its goods to market – and in the current international recession, the ability to get goods to market safely and securely has never been so important.

The methods of mass transnational transportation are well known: air, sea, road and rail.
What might not be as well known is that it has been estimated that some 90% of the world’s commodities and merchandise trade is carried on ships. According to international ports economic expert Wouter Jaobs, “this percentage has remained fairly constant over the last century, yet the volumes have increased enormously in the last two decades.”
And that means ports have never been more important.

One aspect to consider is that of security. In the post 9/11 world the international business community has become ever more security aware, and the maritime sector is no different.
A port that is perceived to be insecure may therefore put itself at a competitive disadvantage to those ports who show that they have taken proper security measures, and have controls and processes in place both to protect port personnel, the vessels berthing in the ports, the merchandise that is being transhipped, and also to prevent the importing of cargo’s that might pose a threat to life.

Since 9/11, ports have been forced to invest in expensive and advanced security measures. They have therefore implemented enhanced security measures such as cargo checks, identity passes, and have introduced improved physical security measures such as CCTV and perimeter fencing incorporating intruder-detection technology. The world’s biggest ports have bought mobile gamma ray container inspection units and other mobile radiation detectors.
However, the complexity of security systems, their diverse nature and the requirement of security and safety personnel to access information quickly can be seriously hampered by the very diversity and complexity of the systems in place.

The ability to have a quick, clear and accurate overview of what is happening in the fast-moving environment of a busy port is therefore not only a security and safety requirement; it is also arguably a key business enabler and differentiator.

With competition in the ports’ world becoming more intense, competitive advantage is thus as critical as good security – and the two are absolutely complementary.

[message_box title=”ISARR Insights” color=”yellow”]Modern commercial ports face a variety of security challenges in providing a safe operating environment for their customers and local communities in which they operate. As the owner operator of the site they must meet and comply with a number of statutory requirements set down for all critical national infrastructure services, whilst being mindful of the very real need to balance the severity of protection strategies with their impact on operations.

The challenge is to have a good overview of all aspects of the port security operation, which goes beyond the ports own security risk management framework, taking in elements of the security plans and responses of tenants and local authorities, including the constant movement of shipping in and out of port complying with the ISPS code.

Connecting different terminologies, methodologies; managing multiple security and risk managers is the role of the harbour master and his team. Communicating the ports response plans to all stakeholders without duplication of effort is no mean feat.

Asset Profiles, Risks and Procedures

ISARR provides a central repository for security information, driven by the asset or location. This means that all of the relevant security plans and asset information is held on a single asset profile page with access to this information given to stakeholders from as many disparate organisations as required.

The port security team can access the plans of tenants to ensure their own response is adequate, whilst the tenant can access the plans of the wider port to ensure that they understand the security response framework in which they have to operate. Any external auditors can see the entire connected framework with the layers of response and the escalation procedures through to local authorities.

Within each asset profile page the owner can add as many details as they feel are necessary, whilst the Harbour Master can dictate the minimum requirements. These details could include plans and images, allowing a more detailed and pre emptive response. Information regarding the business function or notification of any hazardous or specialist response needs. The numbers and contact details of the personnel on site, including the hierarchy of that asset and the associated chain of command. The assets geographical location including lat and long for offshore or locations in remote locations.

Each asset or location can also be assessed for risk against a predefined set of threat categories and the results displayed as colour coded icon; Red, Amber or Green, on a map and on the asset page. This allows the Harbour Master to ensure that adequate resources are targeted to areas of the port facility where there is greatest risk. Any new threats identified can be easily added to the Risk register meaning that risk assessment becomes a living dynamic appraisal changing as the threats emerge, rather than waiting for the annual review.

Assessments and Alert States

Any security risk management framework is a live and ever changing body of work that responds to incidents by improving and refining processes. These constant changes to need to be subject to constant review to ensure that they meet any standards set out. ISARR provides a fully configurable assessment module, meaning that staff can be assessed for core security competencies, as well as testing systems and processes by auditing them within the system. These audits often create tasks, ISARR manages to keep everything connected by allocating tasks within the system.

Communicating quickly and effectively in both routine, daily operations, and during heightened states such as changes in the ISPS code can be challenging for the Harbour Master and his team, particularly in a large Port environment with so many stakeholders. ISARR provides a very fast and effective method for both Alert State trigger changes, and the associated actions required to be taken on their change, to be shared quickly and consistently with both internal operations and key external stakeholders. This ensures Port operations comply with the necessary legislation but crucially, that any operational disruption is minimised. In a business where efficiency gains are measured in seconds, this is of vital importance.[/message_box]

To find out more about how ISARR can help you manage risk more effectively, email your questions to  and have a look at our system capabilities