In The Spotlight: Operations

Our Operations department handles around half a million tonnes of diverse imported and exported cargoes every year, with an excellent reputation in the industry for efficiency and fast turnaround of vessels. Beyond a doubt, our standing within the maritime sector is the result of our well trained and dedicated colleagues, who strive to give their best service to our customers every day. Below we interview Gary Knight, Manager Operations & Training who gives a behind-the-scenes insight into his day-to-day duties and explains what makes us the preferred port for short sea traffic.

GK a

Gary, how long have you worked at Shoreham Port and what do you look forward to each day?

I have been lucky enough to work at Shoreham Port for twenty years now – although I did work within the construction and commercial fishing industry prior to my role here, which meant I had some transferable skills under my belt to bring with me. At Shoreham, we handle a wide range of bulk cargos which are mainly aggregate, steel and timber - as well as cereals, fuel and recycled glass. I enjoy the variety of my role and I also take great pleasure from positively impacting and making a difference to my team and our customers each day.

What is it that you find particularly exciting about your role and what might surprise others about what you do?

I am involved in lots of different elements of the business from training and operations to health and safety - this means I get to interact with a wide variety of staff. Every day is different, and I never know what to expect (which keeps me on my toes!). I also take pleasure in the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and life experiences to others, especially supporting younger members of our team. It’s extremely important that we run a tight ship from a health and safety perspective, and my mantra has always been that no question is a silly question – and I really believe that applies to all of us!

GK 2

What are the most challenging parts of your job, is there anything you would change?

As I said, each day is totally different which can bring with it lots of challenges from both colleagues, plant and operational issues. Luckily for me, this pressure is something that I thrive on as an individual and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of constantly learning new skills and being pushed outside of my comfort zone. So, no I don’t think I would want to change anything to be honest – that’s what keeps my role interesting!

What is the key to successful teamwork in your department?

Teamwork and collaboration are definitely the fundamental building blocks for any forward-thinking port. We try to ensure everyone in our team knows their value and we acknowledge that everyone has something to offer in their area of expertise. Using good communication throughout every department and pooling our staff’s knowledge in meetings helps create a progressive management team that can carry on pushing us forward to offer a first-class service to our customers.

GK 3a

What makes Shoreham Port unique and why do you think we have such loyal customers?

Shoreham, unlike other larger ports, has a more family feel to it, which makes our customers feel part of the operation and not just another number. This ensures we have loyal customers who continue to return to us year after year. Our health and safety record is very good which demonstrates that we take the whole operation including, most importantly, the safety of everyone very seriously and this also enhances our customers' confidence in doing business with us. Investment in new cranes, forklifts and staff training also ensures we can carry on competing with other ports on discharge times.

What exciting developments can we expect in the Operations department for 2020?

Our key focus is always to continue to develop infrastructure and facilities to meet customers’ requirements, in a safe, commercially economic and efficient way. We have already seen enquires from other businesses wishing to work with us, and we look forward to building these new relationships in 2020.

We will be looking to further improve our training for staff as well as our discharge and lorry loading process to improve efficiencies. We are also planning on getting a new fleet of forklift trucks, the tender for which has just been completed and the Yale truck has been selected from five manufacturers. These trucks will be delivered in spring and 35 have been ordered - the cost for each of these forklifts is equivalent to a high-end BMW car! Each forklift comes with air suspension seats, DAB radio’s, pre use check touchpad screens, pedestrian blue and red warning lights and many other safety features.