Solent Stevedores

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Solent Stevedores's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Solent Stevedores is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.solentstevedores.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | CWA INTERNATIONAL
Moreover, there have been occasions
where individuals involved in a wide
variety of incidents have feared for
their welfare. It is therefore vital that
we work with confidentiality and
professionalism to ensure facts are
conveyed and documented correctly to
protect involved parties.
Communication is king
Several other skills are also crucial,
such as withstanding intimidation in
conflict situations and excellent verbal
and written communication skills. These
are, however, not always found in every
scientific practitioner. Communication
is particularly vital as we operate across
a variety of communication cultures.
We may need to, for example, interview
a ship’s crew to determine key facts
following an incident. Often, their
first language is not English, so our
staff are required to adapt a suitable
communication style – a different style
used when communicating our findings
to a solicitor or claims executive.
Communication must vary again
when explaining scientific findings
or operational realities behind a
conclusion to a judge or tribunal. In
our world, other than when talking
to our peers, clarity of our evaluation
is pivotal. Taking recourse to jargon
is usually counterproductive and not
seen as a sign of being in command of
one’s field.
Finally, a good investigator needs soft
skills. The world is a diverse place and
each investigation needs to be done in
a culturally sensitive manner.
The recruitment challenge
A key challenge in the recruitment,
selection and training process is
the diversity of skill levels with
which graduates come equipped.
It is surprising, if not disconcerting,
that there is no uniformity in what
candidates bring. Graduates and
postgraduates from similarly ranked
institutions, with good degrees,
sometimes come lacking skills –
whether that be grammar, arithmetic
or a basic appreciation of dimensions –
that make one wonder how they ever
left school with good A levels.
Of course, unlike the softer skills
our work requires, we can test for
the science and other basic hard
skill sets before taking candidates
further. Nevertheless, this strikes us
as fundamentally wasteful. How can
individuals graduate with seemingly
good degrees yet lack such essential
basic skills? Skills that will prevent
them securing a position within
science, yet they have studied over
many years and indebted themselves
for years to come.
Going forward, we foresee potential
challenges in any knee-jerk policies
intended to arrest climate change. A
key element in the effectiveness of
our involvement is rapid mobilisation,
especially with perishable food
commodities, but also with other
commodities subject to self-heating
and gaseous emissions where timely
intervention is of the essence. The
danger of policies that adversely affect
mobilisation speed is that they will
delay getting the right expertise in
place. This will only result in greater
spoilage of our precious and limited
natural resources.
Our work
stems from
incidents and,
as such, we
never know
what the next
instruction
willentail
CWA regularly attend
the loading and
discharge of bagged
commodities. The above
photo shows bagged
rice on a barge being
prepared for loading
to a larger vessel for an
international voyage
21SOLENT STEVEDORES |
SHIPPING & LOGISTICS
Managing Director FionaRobson
Cruise stores loading
Working along the eponymous strait, Solent Stevedores has
been operating as a cargo handling service since the year
2000. In partnership with Associated British Ports – who
own and operate the Port of Southampton – the firm’s award-
winning stevedoring service provides a wide range of general and
specialist cargo handling and storage services. Managing Director
Fiona Robson tells
The Parliamentary Review
that although the
firm’s journey began on the Solent, they have since expanded to
London, Jersey and even as far afield as Singapore.
At Solent Stevedores we pride ourselves on the services offered to our customers.
We have an ongoing programme of developments and improvements underway;
every day is seen as an opportunity to extend our services and enhance our customer
relationships. We feel this is what makes us an award-winning stevedoring company.
Arrive save, work safe, leave safe
We operate from the ports of Southampton, Immingham, Jersey, DP World London
Gateway, London Silvertown and Marina Bay, Singapore. We provide bulk and
general cargo handling and storage services; in Southampton, our bulks terminal
handles well over one million tonnes of products, varying from scrap metal to grain
and animal feed. Alongside this, we also provide cruise vessel support services at
the ports of Southampton and Singapore.
We now handle 86 per cent of cruise vessels calling to the Port of Southampton,
which is northern Europe’s busiest turn-around cruise port. In 2019, we provided
FACTS ABOUT
SOLENT STEVEDORES
»Managing Director:
FionaRobson
»Founded in 1997
»Located in Gloucestershire
»Services: Cargo handling and
terminal operators
»No. of employees: 185, plus as
many as 400 agency staff for
cruise ships
Solent Stevedores
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | SOLENT STEVEDORES
in-port services to some 400 cruise
ships with 1.8 million passengers,
handle 2.7 million suitcases and
load in excess of 100,000 tonnes of
ships’ stores, cementing our position
as one of the top cruise stevedore
suppliersglobally.
We believe our company values are
best reflected through our workforce.
Health and safety is of paramount
importance in our industry, and we
encourage all our staff members
to do the best they can. We have a
high staff retention rate and invest
in our employees’ wellbeing – we
attribute our reduced risk of incidents
to this. Safety is, in our view, a by-
product of a happy and motivated
workforce. Through investing in high
specification machinery, we ensure our
employees continue to work effectively
andefficiently.
Early in 2019, we invested in 33 fully
electric counterbalance forklifts, which
are equipped with the latest safety
technology and driver enhancements
designed to improve comfort and
reduce driver fatigue. This was a £1
million investment to help ensure that
we maintain our level of excellence
of service delivery and reliability to
coincide with the record growth in
cruises at the Port of Southampton.
Keeping our employees safe is
vital, and our staff pride themselves
on providing the highest level of
customerservice.
We hope to further improve efficiency
while the exciting growth of cruises at
the Port of Southampton continues.
While doing our bit to help with the
cleaner air initiative in the Port of
Southampton, we are proud of our
industry-leading equipment and staff.
We are inclusive of all diversities and
this year we have wrapped one of our
forklifts in the LGBT rainbow colours
for Southampton Pride.
Sugar rush
In 2008, we were the preferred bidder
for the contract to unload 1.2 million
tonnes per year of raw cane sugar
at the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery
at Silvertown, London. Tate and
Lyle Sugars said that we have “re-
invigorated [their] port operations and
brought both world-class solutions and
best practice to [their] business”.
However, membership of the EU has
proven challenging with regards to
sugar imports. Through imposing
quotas as to the kind of sugar that can
be brought in, it has become more
complex to trade. It is entirely feasible
that if Brexit does not take place, we
could lose this industry completely,
something which is particularly difficult
to contemplate as the Tate and Lyle
factory has been part of the Thames
river landscape and a huge employer in
Silvertown for many years.
Personal touch
One of the challenges we are very
aware of is that of mental health issues.
In such a male-dominated industry – 95
per cent of our workforce is male – we
recognised that we needed to address
this problem. There are some very real
mental health challenges for men aged
20 to 49 and we felt that something
needed to bedone.
Loading scrap metal for
export
In 2019 we
expect to
provide in-port
services to
some 400
cruise ships
with 1.8 million
passengers,
handle 2.7
million
suitcases and
load in excess
of 100,000
tonnes of
ships’ stores
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | SOLENT STEVEDORES
in-port services to some 400 cruise
ships with 1.8 million passengers,
handle 2.7 million suitcases and
load in excess of 100,000 tonnes of
ships’ stores, cementing our position
as one of the top cruise stevedore
suppliersglobally.
We believe our company values are
best reflected through our workforce.
Health and safety is of paramount
importance in our industry, and we
encourage all our staff members
to do the best they can. We have a
high staff retention rate and invest
in our employees’ wellbeing – we
attribute our reduced risk of incidents
to this. Safety is, in our view, a by-
product of a happy and motivated
workforce. Through investing in high
specification machinery, we ensure our
employees continue to work effectively
andefficiently.
Early in 2019, we invested in 33 fully
electric counterbalance forklifts, which
are equipped with the latest safety
technology and driver enhancements
designed to improve comfort and
reduce driver fatigue. This was a £1
million investment to help ensure that
we maintain our level of excellence
of service delivery and reliability to
coincide with the record growth in
cruises at the Port of Southampton.
Keeping our employees safe is
vital, and our staff pride themselves
on providing the highest level of
customerservice.
We hope to further improve efficiency
while the exciting growth of cruises at
the Port of Southampton continues.
While doing our bit to help with the
cleaner air initiative in the Port of
Southampton, we are proud of our
industry-leading equipment and staff.
We are inclusive of all diversities and
this year we have wrapped one of our
forklifts in the LGBT rainbow colours
for Southampton Pride.
Sugar rush
In 2008, we were the preferred bidder
for the contract to unload 1.2 million
tonnes per year of raw cane sugar
at the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery
at Silvertown, London. Tate and
Lyle Sugars said that we have “re-
invigorated [their] port operations and
brought both world-class solutions and
best practice to [their] business”.
However, membership of the EU has
proven challenging with regards to
sugar imports. Through imposing
quotas as to the kind of sugar that can
be brought in, it has become more
complex to trade. It is entirely feasible
that if Brexit does not take place, we
could lose this industry completely,
something which is particularly difficult
to contemplate as the Tate and Lyle
factory has been part of the Thames
river landscape and a huge employer in
Silvertown for many years.
Personal touch
One of the challenges we are very
aware of is that of mental health issues.
In such a male-dominated industry – 95
per cent of our workforce is male – we
recognised that we needed to address
this problem. There are some very real
mental health challenges for men aged
20 to 49 and we felt that something
needed to bedone.
Loading scrap metal for
export
In 2019 we
expect to
provide in-port
services to
some 400
cruise ships
with 1.8 million
passengers,
handle 2.7
million
suitcases and
load in excess
of 100,000
tonnes of
ships’ stores
23SOLENT STEVEDORES |
SHIPPING & LOGISTICS
A mess room full of dockers is not the
sort of place that most men would
feel comfortable discussing their
mental health issues. To try to combat
the mental health stigma, we have
introduced Health Assured insurance
for all our staff, which gives them
access to 24-hour helplines and entitles
them to free face-to-face counselling
if needed. We have also trained 18
members of staff to be mental health
first aiders, so that they can spot and
offer support to colleagues who may
be struggling. Modern life is very often
stressful, and we hope to support our
staff as much as possible.
From road to rail
Three years ago, we took over a
railyard in Southampton in the
centre of the port. We have tripled
the number of customers since our
takeover and now run seven services
a day. We changed both the layout
of the railyard and the rail pad in
partnership with Associated British
Ports, and installed a new point system.
This allows us to work two trains at the
same time and we are now able to turn
trains around in 90 minutes; previously,
this was four hours.
Our ability to look ahead has seen
us negotiate with Associated British
Ports to accommodate future growth.
We understand that as we continue
to grow, so must the infrastructure
surrounding us. We are very much
looking forward to seeing an increase
in the number of trains used for freight
transport, which will subsequently see
an increase in the amount of storage
needed for containers.
Our work ties in well with legislative
changes that encourages businesses
to move freight by rail as opposed to
by road in an effort to reduce their
carbon footprint. We see this as a
huge opportunity for growth in an
increasingly aware and environmentally
conscious society.
In 2018, we were awarded the
opportunity to open an empty
container yard at the Port of
London Gateway. This was a totally
new venture and discipline for
us; however, we embraced the
opportunity to diversify further and
therefore were happy to make the
necessaryinvestment.
In Jersey, we have been providing
ro-ro and lo-lo services to importers
and exporters of dry bulk and other
commodities to and from the island
since 2011. We have undertaken
a retender process with the Port of
Jersey and have been awarded a new
nine-year contract with them, which
we are very excited about. Our future
will see us continue to champion our
staff and our industry.
Our ability to
look ahead
has seen us
negotiate with
Associated
British Ports to
accommodate
future growth
Above: Two of our reach
stackers loading trains
Below: Our wrapped
JCB

www.solentstevedores.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Solent Stevedores. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development