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APM Terminals – empowering trade, empowering people

Posted on June 26, 2024

As part of its commitment to lifting the standards of proactivity and responsibility, APM terminals provides the learning and development opportunities that help its employees reach career potential they may never have thought possible.

According to the company’s Global Head of People Function, Sander Hubbers, APM Terminals actively encourages conscious career choices. “The single most important element in providing operational excellence, and solutions for our partners and customers rests with the talent and skills of our people. Without a knowledgeable, professional and engaged workforce, we could not aspire to become the World’s Best Terminal Company.

“When we invest in a terminal, partner with a government, or local authority, and when we serve our customers, we are committing to a long-term relationship, one which has a positive impact not only on business but also on people and communities that benefit from the jobs, development prospects, and social advancement we bring.”

Deep sense of pride

Says Sander: “What I also know to be true is that working at APM Terminals invariably brings a deep sense of personal pride. The arrival of a new terminal leverages the gross domestic product of an entire country. It brings not only work, and prosperity, but it contributes to a sense of purpose, and the fulfilment that can be found in a meaningful career.”

According to Sander, APM Terminals does not want to simply “provide people with jobs”, but to encourage ideas, creativity and ambition. “This is one of the reasons that we promote diversity and inclusion so strongly,” says Sander. “When we have representation and when all our colleagues are welcomed, respected and valued, they share their passion, they’re engaged, and they contribute to our shared success.”

Beyond limits learnings

APM Terminals is well placed to offer career paths that go beyond regional limits. “The access to training, development and career advancement is second to none in this industry and is easily comparable with almost any sector I can think of,” says Sander.

As a company that is firmly focused on achieving net zero by 2040, it should come as no surprise that 100% of our procurement staff have been trained in sustainable procurement, a target reached this year, improving on the 91% status of 2023.

As proof of APM Terminals’ commitment, Sander points to Africa where APM Terminals Apapa recently chalked up 9,696 hours spent on furthering employee knowledge last year alone.

As Apapa’s Senior People Business Partner, Omolara Olatunbosun says, “Every year, a dynamic training calendar is designed for the professional development of our people.

“Our employees drive our core values; which include Constant Care, Humbleness, Uprightness and the Integrity of Our Name. Creating and maintaining the right environment is intrinsic to APM Terminals. Ensuring that we have the right person with the right skills for each job is integral to the success of our operations, so we understand the importance of investing in Learning and Development to enhance their skills, efficiency, productivity and overall wellbeing,” she says.

On average, our Apapa terminal invests around 24.1 hours every year in training every colleague. ”Continuous learning and development, is an ongoing and transformative journey. We host a training session or workshop on an almost-weekly basis,” she says.

sander-hubbers-small-2Amassed knowledge

Learning resources range from internal and external courses, formal or informal, and global e-learning resources within the Maersk group. Trainings might include soft skills training, leadership development, industry knowledge, regulatory and compliance, safety, technical skills, and industry-specialist topics. Such opportunities include globally-recognised skills development, elevating colleagues from compliance level to expert, and equipping them to pass those skills on throughout the organisation. For example, included in the training hours amassed last year were hands-on learnings which not only promote personal development, but contribute to operational excellence and asset maintenance.

Oiling the wheels

Now fully accredited as machine lubrication analysts (MLAs), Olugbenga Akinola Popoola, Anthony Oluwaseyi Onabanjo and Olugbenga Samson Adu are just three of the many who are ‘oiling the wheels’ of global trade even more effectively thanks to their studies. Popoola, says he is more confident in offering advice on asset maintenance, having passed training in industrial maintenance, mechanical engineering, and pneumatics.

As his colleague Onabanjo explains: “We completed the Machine Lubricant Analysts 1 (MLA1) training on lubricants and lubrication accreditation from the world’s leading body on the topic. It gives us the skills and knowledge to properly select and handle machinery lubrication and oil sampling.”

The certification ultimately increases APM Terminals’ Apapa’s level of reliability, reducing potential impact on customers’ logistics chains to the minimum, while developing the skills of a talented workforce.

Awarded by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML), and in accordance with ISO 18436, the training received is being passed on to multiple colleagues.

Lifting standards of reliability

Mohammed Elnagdy, head of Asset Maintenance at APM Terminals Apapa, says he is proud of the team and the learnings they are already instigating. “Some of the ways we push to be better are to bring more containers through the space we have available, but another is that we can operate our equipment with less downtime and for longer thanks to the knowledge of our colleagues. It makes sense that we ensure our teammates are not only trained in the correct usage, but that they can pass that knowledge on,” he says.

“Each certified person has another role to play, in transferring the knowledge they received. In this way, knowledge is cascaded to the maximum number of frontline technicians,” says Elnagdy. “Availability and reliability are what we need to meet and exceed our customers’ needs. Having a certified team helps,” he says.

And the learnings come from day one. For new joiners, training usually begins immediately as a part of their onboarding journey. “We are continuously upskilling and reskilling our employees to deliver services that fulfil the global APM Terminals goal of being the world’s best terminal company for all stakeholders. We are equally equipping them to ensure they remain relevant and capable to compete with their colleagues in other terminals around the world,” says Omolara.

Strategic decision

APM Terminals Apapa Manager, Steen Knudsen adds, “Ensuring that your employees remain updated with the relevant skills and latest development in their various fields is a huge task. Our operations run at all hours daily. Managing a training calendar annually also means having to constantly pull employees out from their daily tasks so they can be available for any scheduled training.”

The learnings toward employee development are by no means unique to Apapa. Also in Nigeria, our West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) team in Onne are fully committed to operational efficiency and regularly host team learning events such as a recent facilitation of cycle time (CT) measurement training as part of our standardization acceleration journey.

Investing so heavily in the development of employees, means that the terminal can continue to deliver value to its customers and the host community it operates in. “Many of our contractors also benefit from these development programs,” says Sander. Sharing foundational knowledge of container terminal operations and crucial safety messaging is not something we see as ‘exclusive to us’. Our teams – whether contractors or colleagues – work best together when they’re fully informed and fully empowered.”


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