APM Terminals is one of the largest port operators in the world. APM operates in 69 countries, at 72 ports, and also offers 140 inland operations for transport of goods. The more than 20,600 employees provide a number of cargo shipping related services. APM designs terminals, builds terminals, and operates them. It also provides inland services for cargo and all related factors in the handling of cargo. APM is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and is an independent member of the Maersk Group.
Terminal and port services are crucial to the shipping industry. Shipping companies need companies like APM terminals to provide locations for docking and the equipment and workers that move cargo and containers from ship to dock, and beyond. This work environment is dangerous, though, and every year port and terminal workers are hurt of injured on the job, including some who work for APM Terminals.
APM is a big player in international shipping and terminals. The company has 72 different port facilities with active operations, and nine more in the works, spread around the globe. These terminals include locations on five continents and in locations that include Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Miami, several ports in Brazil, West African ports, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and ports throughout Europe.
APM’s port operations are in 69 different countries, with more than 20,000 employees. The annual revenue of the company in 2015 was $4.24 billion, and in that same year APM handled 36 million TEUs of container cargo. APM is headquartered in The Hague in the Netherlands and works with 60 different shipping lines. In 2015 the company was named the “Port Operator of the Year” by Lloyd’s List Global Awards.
The largest part of AMP’s business is in terminal operations. Port operations for the company are categorized by region: Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Russia and the Baltics. Operations at ports in these regions include full service terminals providing loading and unloading of cargo, cranes and other equipment, and the workers who operate cranes, trucks, and move cargo onto and off of ships.
In addition to the maritime services, APM also has inland operations at most of its port locations. This includes storage and warehousing of cargo, maintenance and repair, inspection of containers, monitoring reefer containers, container cleaning, and trucking services to move cargo in and out of terminals and ports.
APM states that it has a commitment to safety and that it has recognized and addressed five areas of greatest risk for accidents that harm workers: lifting of suspended loads, transportation, stored energy, working at height, and controlling contractors. The company has a philosophy of creating safety excellence through safe equipment, safe people, and safe systems. This includes using technology, risk management, leadership and culture, and training to create safe work environments.
APM participates in the new guidance issued by the International Maritime Organization with respect to the weights of containers. Inaccurate weights being reported has been a source of accidents in the past and now companies like APM are using Verified Gross Mass to ensure that these weights are reported more accurately and that workers are provided with safer environments.
In spite of strong safety policies, APM Terminals has faced many of the kinds of accidents that every maritime company is vulnerable to. Ports and terminals are busy places with a lot of people, equipment, and cargo moving around. It is easy for accidents to happen and these may include falls from a great height, falls into the water, cargo or containers striking workers, trips and falls, fires, electrical accidents, exposure to harmful chemicals, and vehicle accidents. Mistakes in communication, poor training, and equipment failures are all factors that can trigger such accidents.
APM workers have been the victims of some of these accidents in recent years. One of these occurred in 2015 when a dockworker was struck and hit by a vehicle at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. The worker, a 49 year old woman, died after being hit by a top loader, a vehicle used to transport shipping containers. The driver of the loader and the worker killed both worked for APM at the port. The driver was later found to have been drinking, a clear violation of safety policies set by APM.
Another APM worker was killed in 2011 at Portsmouth. Paula Bellamy, a 38 year old longshoreman was killed within an hour of being hit by a forklift at the terminal. She worked as a slinger, someone who guides crane operators. The driver of a forklift had no clear line of sight to the worker, standing on the dock, and struck her as he moved the vehicle forward.
Yet another incident at APM Terminals in Port Elizabeth occurred in 2015 when a worker was injured by a crane. The worker was in a tractor trailer used to move containers when a crane lifted it and then dropped it. Fortunately the worker was only hurt and not killed in the incident. The crane was supposed to lift a container from the tractor trailer, but the container had not been correctly detached.
Terminal Workers’ Rights and Maritime Law
Workers for APM Terminals and all longshoreman and port workers have certain rights under maritime law. They have a reasonable expectation that the maritime company for which they work will provide a safe environment with risks minimized as much as possible. When something goes wrong and causes an accident, workers can expect to be compensated in some way. For those who die on the job, their dependents are also entitled to this compensation. Often in these accidents, some kind of negligence can be found to point to the maritime company responsible.
Most workers in ports and terminals, like those working for APM, are covered by the maritime law called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This law allows dock workers to seek workers’ compensation in the event of an accident on the job. No negligence needs to be proven to get this money and it can go a long way toward paying for medical bills, providing benefits for lost wages, and even providing the money needed to cover lost future earnings.
If you are a longshoreman, or any type of maritime worker, make sure you know your rights under the law. If you are hurt on the job, or if you die, you or your family should speak to a maritime lawyer to get the professional guidance that will lead to maximum compensation. With this expert advice, you can expect that you and your family will be well protected.