ASEAN Ports Association




(MTG-2; MTA-7; No.1)



September 2012

Prepared by ASEAN Ports Association, Malaysia






 On March 2011, the 21st ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group Meeting (AMTWG) was held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. In the meeting, Malaysia was appointed as the lead country for MTG-2 MTA7 No.1 project “FORMULATE TRAINING PROGRAM TO ENHANCE CAPABILITY OF PORT PERSONNEL BY 2012”. The project was intended to establish standards of training program designed to provide guideline that can be used by ASEAN ports to enhance the capability of port personnel.

 Therefore, an online survey page was developed and hosted at APA Malaysia website ( to generate the information that necessary for the preparation of the guideline.  The link to the survey page was then disseminated through email to delegates of the 23rd AMTWG Meeting in Yangon, Myanmar in March 2012. The first deadline for the respondents to answer this survey was on 30th April 2012. However,   the overall response to the survey was very low. Because of that, the survey was then re-distributed to concerned member-ports through ASEAN Ports Association (APA) channel in May and the deadline of the survey was extended to June 2012.

 The survey was then again redistributed during the 33rd APA Working Committee Meeting in Vietnam and recirculated by the Ministry of Transport Malaysia via email to AMTWG focal person. The final deadline was 14 September 2012. The accomplished forms were then processed by APA Malaysia in September.

 After the final deadline, 28 respondents from 22 ASEAN ports responded to the survey. Among the major problems encountered in the analysis were dissimilarities in the category of services, the responses were incomplete and unanswered questions.





 The survey aimed to characterize the population of the respondents in general terms by asking for information regarding the background of the respondents (country/port authority/terminal operator/manpower). The table below shows the ports/terminals that responded to this survey:

From the 28 respondents, 16 respondents are from Malaysia. PSA registered the highest number of Management level (900 employees) and supervisory level with 900 employees and >5,000 employees in port workers category. Cambodia has the highest number of port intensive workers which is 3,000 employees in total.

 Looking at an organizational structure can reveal which positions in an organisation are crucial to company success. Organisational structure is the formal layout of managerial hierarchies and the grouping of employees, departments and business units within a company. Identifying key positions in an organization can help when making redesign, compensation and employee development decisions.



The purpose of this question is to obtain information on the basis of training and training programme in ports. The respondents were asked on the availability of written training policy, 24 (85.7%) respondents confirmed it is available at their port while the other 3 respondents (10.7%) did not have the written training policy.

 To discover sources of information that was taken into account in the planning of training schedules, respondents were asked whether their port carries out regular training needs assessment and whether the employees were given the opportunity to define their own training needs. Majority of the respondent which is 24 respondents (85.7%) conducted regular training needs assessment whereas 2 respondents (7.1%) answered no to this question. There are 24 of respondents (85.7%) who allow their employees to define their own individual training needs. Almost all the respondents, 26 respondents (92.9%) sent their employees to training provided by maritime department or port administration in their country.

 The respondents were also asked about their training budget. A training budget is a list of expenses for training programs identified from the training needs analysis exercise. It is usually prepared annually for management to have an idea on how much will be required for training during the financial year and for the overall corporate budget. Therefore, the respondents were asked whether their ports provide annual training budget for their employees. From the figure III (a), almost all respondents, 27 respondents (96.4%) confirmed that their port have annual training budget.

Other than that, the respondents were also asked on their opinion whether the majority of their staffs’ education and experience are adequate to achieve the mission of the port. 22 respondents (78.6%) said that it is sufficient while another 2 respondents (7.1%) answered it is not adequate. In order to have more accurate results on the basis of training as well as training plans in ports, additional information related to training conducted also required. The respondents were asked whether they consider about the international rules and conventions. There are 24 of the respondents (85.7%) answered yes and another 2 (7.1%) answered no.

Figure III (a): General Training Overview



Apart from basic information on the structure and training schedule, information on the types of existing training and accreditation for training also required. This is to ensure that the training will address the highest priority areas of interest. The area was divided into two categories of services: cargo handling services and marine services. The respondents were asked to provide training information regarding the service provider, type of training available, training accreditation, refreshment course and the needs for accreditation. Analysis of responses for both categories (cargo handling and marine services) will be done together because they shared the same questions. The breakdowns of the categories are as follows:

1. Cargo Handling Services

(i)     Wharf Supervisor

(ii)   Traffic Supervisor

(iii) Cargo Handling Supervisor

(iv)  Liquid Bulk Handling

(v)    Labour Intensive Worker

2. Marine Services

(i)     Harbour Pilot

(ii)   Harbour Craft Master

(iii) Engine Department Crew

(iv)  Deck Department Crew

(v)    Vessel Traffic and Aids to Navigation Operator





A. Service Provider

 Figure 1a and 1b below shows the service provider for the listed services under cargo handling services as well as marine services. The result illustrates that the port operator is the leading provider for all services in both categories followed by outsourced services.

 The port operator is the service provider for wharf supervisor, traffic supervisor and equipment operator in 24 respondents (85.7%) ports as compared to only 13 respondents for liquid bulk handling. However, 8 respondents skipped this question under liquid bulk handling. This may be because these ports do not handle this type of cargo and thus do not have this facility.

 Similar to cargo handling services, marine services also recorded the same result where port operator is the main service provider.

Figure 1a: Service Provider (Cargo Handling)

Figure 1b: Service Provider (Marine Services)


B. Type of training available

 Many existing training courses are focused on the supervisor and management level employees.  While courses and training for lower level employees are limited and mostly are on the job training. This survey would like to obtain information on the types of training available in the port and also on how the training conducted by the ports.

 The feedback proved that most of the respondents carried out on the job training for the two categories of services. According to figure 2a, equipment operator & driver recorded the highest on the job training with 21 respondents (75.0%) and also the highest for formal training with 19 respondents (67.9%). Handling of liquid bulk recorded the least on the job training with 12 respondents (42.9%) and only 7 respondents (25.0%) with formal training.

 As for marine services category (figure 2b), vessel traffic and navigation aids carried the highest on the job training with 16 respondents (57.1%) and engine department and deck department recorded the lowest on the job training with 8 (28.6%) respondents. Harbour pilot recorded the highest formal training with 12 respondents (42.9%), while vessel traffic and aids to navigation operator recorded the lowest number for formal training with 8 respondents (28.6%).

 The high number of training available for cargo supervisor (18 respondents, 64.3%) and wharf supervisor (18 respondents, 64.3%) may be due to the importance of proper training for this level to ensure safe handling and efficiency in the operation since it will directly influence the port productivity. As for equipment operator, this may be due to the availability of formal training from the supplier of the equipment or the training is included in the equipment supply package.

 Attention should be given to training for the handling of bulk liquid as it recorded the lowest number of existing training (on the job and formal training) and 7 respondents (25.0%) confirmed that this training is not available at their ports. As for marine services category, focus should be given to the deck department crew and engine department crew.

Figure 2a: Type of Training (Cargo Handling)

Figure 2b: Type of Training (Marine Services)


C. Training Accreditation

 In the next part, the respondents were asked on training accreditation. With the accreditation, the training has been certified to meet the criteria set by the accreditation bodies involved. As for international accreditation, we need to identify which accreditation body accredited the training so we can identify the characteristics needed to be included in the training programme.

 As shown in figure 3a, equipment operator and driver registered the highest internal training accreditation with 16 respondents (61.5%) while wharf supervisor registered the highest national accreditation with 9 respondents (34.6%).  Handling of liquid bulk recorded the lowest internal training accreditation (10 respondents, 38.5%) while labour intensive worker recorded the lowest national accreditation with only 5 respondents (19.2%). Three respondents (11.5%) confirmed that they have international accreditation for wharf supervisor, traffic supervisor, cargo handling supervisor and equipment operator. However 9 respondents (34.6%) confirmed that they do not have any accreditation for traffic supervisor training and handling of liquid bulk training.

 According to figure 3b (marine services), deck department crew registered the highest internal training accreditation followed by vessel traffic & aids to navigation operator with 7 respondents (26.9%). As for national accreditation, habour pilot the highest with 12 respondents (46.2%). In addition, three respondents (10.7%) confirmed they have international accreditation for harbour master, the other 2 respondents (7.1%) confirmed that they have international accreditation for habour craft master and vessel traffic and aids to navigation. Vessel traffic and aids to navigation recorded the highest training without any accreditation with 10 respondents (38.5%).

 Other than that, the respondents were also asked about their opinions related to the accreditation. Majority of the respondents agreed that the accreditation is necessary. The accreditation or certification is important for employee as a proof of their qualification and competency while for employers, it is as a benchmark which could be referred to during the recruitment process.

Figure 3a: Training Accreditation (Cargo Handling)

Figure 3b: Training Accreditation (Marine Services)


D. Refreshment Course

 To obtain information on the continuity of the available training, respondents were asked about the availability of refreshment course whether it is compulsory or just an optional. Refreshment course is important to ensure that the skills and competency of employees are always at an optimum level. The option of not available is for respondents who do not conduct training.

Based on figure 4a and 4b, for cargo handling category, 14 respondents (35.7%) confirmed that refreshment course is compulsory for equipment operator followed by cargo handling supervisor where 10 respondents (39.3%) said it is compulsory. Twelve respondents (42.9%) said the refreshment course is optional for wharf supervisor. On the other hand, 9 respondents (32.1%) said there is no refreshment course available for traffic supervisor and handling of liquid bulk and another 8 respondents (28.6%) confirmed that refreshment course is not available for wharf supervisor and cargo handling supervisor.

As for marine services, 12 respondents (42.9%) the refreshment course is compulsory for harbour pilot followed by 11 respondents (39.3%) who confirmed the refreshment course is compulsory for habour craft master.  Seven respondents (25%) confirmed that refreshment course for engine department crew is optional.

 However, 7 respondents (25%) said there are no refreshment course available for vessel traffic and aids to navigation and 6 respondents (21.4%) confirmed that refreshment course are not available for harbour pilot, engine department crew and deck department crew.

Figure 4a: Refreshment Course (Cargo Handling)

Figure 4b: Refreshment Course (Marine Services)



 In this part of the survey, it contained questions regarding respondent’s main training provider and in-house training. For cargo handling training, 21 respondents (75.0%) conducted in house training while for marine services training only 14 respondents (50.0%). As for the training facility of the training provider, half of training providers for marine services, 14 respondents (50.0%) and cargo handling services, 18 respondents (64.3%) have their own training facility.

The main training providers listed are as follows:


In total, nearly half of these services do not have handling manuals or guidelines. The lowest figure is recorded by pilotage and VTS in which only nine respondents (32.1%) have a manual or guidelines.

 There are two possibilities to explain the absence of manual or guideline for the listed services:

i. Respondent ports rely on the international manual and guidelines

ii. Respondent ports do not handle this particular type of cargo or such service

iii. The related service is one of the latest technologies therefore its usage is still not widespread.




1. The feedback has identified that under the cargo handling services, there is still lack of training programme for handling of liquid bulk. As for marine services, training for deck department crew and engine department crew is still lacking. Further study should be carried out to determine the critical work areas in these two categories that require training and training programs.

2. Based on the feedback, we found that many training programs are carried out as “on the job” training. More information with regards to this “on the job” training need to be obtained to enable this training programme to be documented and adopted at the ASEAN ports.

 3. The guideline on the marine services is found to be lacking. This may be due to many ports in ASEAN rely on the established international guidelines such as the one issued by IALA.

 4. Further observation on existing and availability of guidelines published by the ASEAN ports may need to be carried out for this project. This requires further information gathering by field validation / site visit in order to:

 i.  Identify ASEAN port focal person

ii.  Officially acquire the guidelines on subject matter.

iii. Review of documentation related to “on the job” training program need to be carried out so it can be standardized and use as a guideline for other ports.

iv. Validate and confirm the incomplete answer in the finished questionnaire as well as interview the respondents in person for further explanation.

 5. As agreed in the previous AMTWG in Myanmar, Malaysia will coordinate with JICA, ROK and GIZ for this project. It was agreed that in order for Malaysia to get further assistance from these agencies, Malaysia needs to conclude and submit the result of this survey to respective parties. As a way forward, further information needs to be gathered to ensure the guideline will be accepted by ASEAN, and will be recognized internationally.