North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) is one of Australia’s largest port authorities in terms of tonnage throughput. NQBP is responsible for marine pilotage services within the ports of Hay Point and Mackay. Marine pilots are shore based specialists who guide large ships into and out of ports.
There are a number of options to transfer marine pilots to ships requiring assistance. NineSquared was commissioned by NQBP to determine the optimal mix of pilot transfer vehicles across the ports of Hay Point and Mackay. NQBP currently transfers marine pilots to vessels using either pilot vessels or helicopters.
Our modelling considered vehicle transfer time constraints (including the impact of delays on fatigue management), different cost structures of each vehicle (pilot vessel or helicopter) and the required number of qualified pilots likely to be needed to meet any changes in vehicle mix.
A model was developed which was capable of performing detailed analysis of existing pilot transfer data in order to identify and define potential constraints when switching between vehicles (including in relation to potential delays caused by tidal windows). The model also included an analysis of budgeted and actual costing data to inform the cost assessment of switching between different types of pilot transfer vehicles. This assisted NQBP in determining the optimal mix of pilot transfer vehicles from a cost, fatigue management and timing perspective.