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Propelling safety standards upwards at APM Terminals Port Elizabeth

When you are in a life-threatening situation, the last thing you want is to be stuck in traffic. And around Port Elizabeth, APM Terminal’s largest terminal on the east coast of North America, busy roads are one thing you can be sure of.

The terminal handles more than 2,500 trucks and 5,000 terminal gate transactions every day and rising. With high demand and traffic volume, the inability to clear a path for medical vehicles was a serious concern.

Identified risk

In response, Port Elizabeth’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) team called on the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) to help them assess the viability of installing a helipad at the site. 

Members of the HSSE and Operations teams joined the police in an aerial assessment to pinpoint the best location for the helipad.

Candice Revill, Site Director HSSE at APM Terminals Elizabeth, said she and the team were “incredibly grateful” to the NJSP aviation crew, with whom they worked to identify and set a landing zone, as well as The Port Authority, Port Authority Police Department and the NJSP, to name a just a few of the stakeholders that helped make this happen.

Support on call

The NJSP aviation unit works in conjunction with the University Medical Center in Newark. In the event of a medical emergency, the Regional Emergency Medical Communication System would be called upon to dispatch a helicopter medevac. Two medical helicopters are based in New Jersey. One, the NorthSTAR, is located just 36 miles from the terminal.

Thankfully, the helipad has yet to be used for a medical emergency. But, says Revill, if needed, “getting that person to a medical facility quickly could make a huge difference.”

230116-pe-hsse-teamHigher-level safety

The sky-high measures are just the latest in a continuous focus on safety excellence at Port Elizabeth, which was named as a finalist in the Maersk Global Safety Awards at the end of last year.

“Our safety vision at APM Terminals Elizabeth is that everyone who comes to work and visits the terminal goes home safely to their family,” says Revill.

“Safe Daily Management at the terminal is at the heart of our operating model, and it is supported by a number of improvement projects that focus on preventing incidents before they happen,” she says.

As well as building a helipad, safety improvements at the terminal include the installation of a new chassis pinning area, increased signage for drivers, new gate arms and improved communication with the trucking community, with more measures planned for 2023.

* APM Terminals’ Port Elizabeth safety team members (left to right): Giovanni Antonuccio, Steven Miller, Matthew Ward, Michael Wingler, Candice Revill and Donato DeMarco.