Professionalising Operations for a Container Terminal in the Middle East


The client, a container terminal, was a joint venture between two leading port operating companies in the Middle East. The top management at the terminal was faced with resolving the following issues:

  • High manpower cost at 30 percent of the revenue
  • Prepared detailed financials for a five year horizon, including the capital investment required for each element
  • Lack of clarity in the organisation and operation issues
  • Disparity in compensation structure

Besides, there was a threat of losing talent to new container terminals coming up in the region. Thus, the top management requested UC’s assistance for the following issues:

  • Evaluating the existing organisation structure
  • Examining operational issues and outlining recommendations
  • Analysing gaps in the internal compensation structure

Our Approach

To evaluate the issues of the container terminal, and make suggestions to professionalise the operations, UC adopted the following approach:

  • Identified key managers/personnel from respective departments to interface with
  • Conducted in depth discussions with key personnel from the container terminal to understand its structure, processes and the job profiles
  • Analysed the following areas -

    1) Organisation structure

    Defined organisation structure, with focus on rationalising the excessive positions at the top

    Minimised positions at the top management by almost 75 percent

    Defined staffing levels for all positions

    Defined shift working hours for each position


    2) Process

    Analysed existing processes

    Outlined existing gaps and recommendations

    Identified processes that required system support from information technology

    Outlined Management Information System (MIS) reports to capture information


    3) Job Description

    Defined job descriptions, job profiles and job competencies for all positions


    4) Performance Management

    Defined departmental key performance indicators


    5) Performance Management

    Analysed internal compensation structure

    Identified internal discrepancies


  • Prepared detailed financials for a five year horizon, including the capital investment required for each element


The client received a detailed understanding of the port and the analysis of the different job activities resulted in identification of the following