Aqaba Container Terminal concludes 2020 with good performance and effective community participation by adapting to challenges of the global pandemic

ACT is a joint venture between the Aqaba Development Corporation and APM Terminals

Aqaba Container Terminal concludes 2020 with good performance and effective community participation by adapting to challenges of the global pandemic

Aqaba Container Terminal, the preferred gateway for the Levant region and beyond, has concluded 2020 with positive results and achievements despite the challenges faced by the Kingdom and the world due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), demonstrating the company’s flexibility in dealing with challenges and responding efficiently to difficult conditions. ACT is a joint venture between the Aqaba Development Corporation and APM Terminals.

The company's positive results and achievements are rooted in the company’s focus on taking constant care of people, customers and the company, and the successful development of its core business, infrastructure and technology. Additionally, the Terminal initiated numerous activities in support of the local community throughout the pandemic consequences, while continuing to take care of their human resources.

The results showed an improvement in ACT’s operations during the year 2020 compared to 2019, as TotalThroughput was 857,283 TEUS, showing an increase of 7% compared to the previous year. Similarly, the total number of trucks served reached 327,351 at the end of 2020 compared to 309,858, which is a 6% increase compared to the year 2019. Total truck transaction reached 545,537, which represents a 3% increase compared to 2019. The terminal also witnessed an increase in the number of export Full TEU’s by 11% in 2020, compared to 2019. Additionally, the number of transit containers, increased by 41% compared to 2019.

In line with its dedication to continually and sustainably develop its operations to achieve greater efficiency for all customers and port users, and as part of its strategic investment plan for the upcoming 5 years to replace  equipment with more advanced machinery, ACT purchased new two reach stackers and two empty handlers; both of which were custom-made according to company’s special requirements. The company will continue its investment plan for modernizing machinery and equipment during the current year 2021 and beyond. In 2021 ACT has invested in new specialized equipment that includes 14 terminal tractors, 4 empty handlers, and 2 reach stackers, with plans to upgrade two ship-to-shore gantry cranes during the year.

The company continued investing in its technological infrastructure in line with its digital transformation which aims to offer the highest levels of professional services to its clients while preserving the public health of all concerned parties. For example, the Terminal launched a direct electronic payment service on the “e-Fawateercom” platform to provide more convenient payment options for its customers. The company has also launched its revamped website with a uniform look and feel that highlights ACT’s corporate identity, as well as providing customized functionality to support the required needs, providing users with efficient way to perform all their port operations and inquiries online. The new site allows users to check their container status through its track and trace system, easily navigate the vessel’s schedule, which is continuously updated and allows customers to know the times of vessel’s arrivals and departures, and dead line for containers registrations, in addition to out of gauge container handling conditions and procedures.

The company also launched new procedures that improved the basic customs clearance process which was reflected in the improvements made to reduce container stay time, in addition to launching a ticketing system that allows customers to request any service from ACT’s revenue department without physically being present on ACT premises.

Commenting on the occasion, CEO of ACT, Steven Yoogalingam said, “The prevailing circumstances have not stopped us from continuing our investments, which was made possible by implementing flexible plans, in addition to our ability to adapt and respond to changes, which resulted in continuous growth and progress. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far, under extraordinary circumstances, and that we were able to continue playing an important role in supporting the national economy through our basic operations and services. The company will continue investing in different aspects in order to serve its partners, customers and other stakeholders according to the best international standards and practices, and to continue having a positive impact on its business, which will contribute to maintaining ACT’s position in being a logistical and economic pillar for Aqaba and the Kingdom, and as a preferred gateway on a regional and world-wide level. ACT would like to sincerely thank all our valued customers for their continued support.”

Commenting on this occasion, ACT CCO, Khalil Abu Al Hawa, said, “We were able to manage production due to our sustainable efforts and our commitment, especially during the lockdown period and the spread of coronavirus. We took many steps that contributed to our success in managing the COVID-19 file and we were able to meet the Kingdom’s needs in supplying basic commodities. We were also able to reduce the burdens on various supply chains with effective plans that ensured the continuity of operations, seven days a week, without neglecting the safety and prevention measures for all parties, as well as cooperating with the concerned parties.”

The company has also implemented a set of procedures to facilitate merchants’ and customers’ processes, extending the grace period related to storage fees during the period of lockdown in the Kingdom, while allowing merchants more time to empty their containers after their exit, in addition to implementing automated processes, to reduce paper use between customers and employees.

In an effort to improve its environmental footprint and reduce the impact of its business operations, the company affirmed its constant efforts in making the terminal one of the most environmentally friendly ports in the world. The Terminal implemented various sustainable projects while committing to the highest environmentally safety standards, including the installation of a solar power system on one of ACT’s Gantry Cranes and on the Administration building, with the aim of improving the environmental ecosystem while reducing electricity consumption.

As part of its continuous efforts to corporate social responsibility, the company stressed its commitment to executing activities that support many segments and sectors, such as underprivileged students, education, health and sport sectors. Over 2020, the Terminal expanded its scope of its previously launched initiatives to include the largest number of beneficiaries as well as implementing many initiatives that responded to emergency situations during the lockdown.

In line with its commitment to education, ACT launched “STEP” project, which seeks to improve the quality of education in schools and benefit students by providing enhanced learning environments. Through “STEP” ACT provided three schools in Aqaba with 150 chairs, prepare four Kindergarten classes in Aqaba and the surrounding areas, and distributed 300 school bags and supplies to students in Aqaba and the surrounding villages in collaboration with Helping Hands Foundation.

With regards to supporting the health and sports sectors, the company renewed its support of the Friends of Autism center in Aqaba, giving donations that would improve the services provided to the beneficiaries at the center. The company also completed the second phase of teacher and staff training that would enhance their knowledge and skills to diagnose autistic cases and work with patients in the best way possible. The company has also supported the Aqaba Youth Club, specifically its Cubs Soccer team, in addition to table tennis.

ACT redoubled its support of Tkiyet Um Ali, in an effort to support their commendable efforts in providing food and aiding Jordanian families who need it most, in light of the current situation in the country.

The company has also affirmed its commitment towards improving its work environment in 2020 and supporting its Human Resources, where the Jordanian employment rate reached 99.8%

Since the beginning of the crisis, the company has set many plans to match the different phases of the Coronavirus, activating strict health, safety and sterilization measures related to its different stakeholders such as the shipping line crew, and its employees. The Terminal took into account all the protocols that were approved by the government line with best practices in the field, including the process of sterilizing and disinfecting offices and facilities, daily temperature checks, social distancing, prohibiting any physical contact between employees, providing employees with protective clothes and tools, in addition to conducting periodical random tests for employees with more than one testing source, and finally, allocating various support and assistance programs for employees, and more. Additionally, ACT completed a full HRIS automation to ensure data accuracy and efficiency for all HR functions and activated HRIS Mobile application as well.

Despite the prevailing circumstances, ACT is looking to broaden its horizons and reach higher levels of distinguished performance in 2021. The company has set its plans on enhancing the quality of services provided to customers and expanding its umbrella to provide the highest levels of satisfaction, which will be reflected positively on continued growth and development in operational processes, human energies, and community empowerment activities.

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