Behind-the-Scenes of a Container Terminal and Logistics Center in the Desert

Bertschi Jubail
The Joint Venture Aldrees-Bertschi container terminal in Saudi Arabia handles the logistics processes of our global and Middle Eastern clients. Our staff on site operate as expert logistics professionals, handling the challenging requirements of our customers, through efficient implementation, trainings, and a special ability to withstand the harsh conditions of a terminal located in the middle of a desert. 

For each customer, certain logistics requirements and trainings need to be met in order to meet their demands and expectations to the highest quality. Additional storage capacities and infrastructure, for example, need to be made to accommodate specific needs of our valued customers. In one such case, 50,000m² of land needed to be prepared for the management of empty containers, involving the planning of additional field divisions, lanes, and offices. 

For projects wherein the equipment and work processes are very specific and thus completely new for the employees, further trainings are implemented. Learning new tasks on site requires quite the effort from the administrative staff, container inspectors, and operational staff responsible for all container handlings. But this allows us to perform the Bertschi standard in all our operations.

The training involved in learning to operate and control large machines on site is quite a process. First, a course is specially built, and the operational staff work with the machines, initially without containers. Afterwards, they transition into operating the machines with 40-foot containers, moving them from one field to another, stacking, and loading them onto trucks. This entire process repeats until all employees are well versed in handling the machines. With this expertise, they move on to working professionally on site with our customers’ containers. 

Container management often involves 24-hour operations. The condition of every single container is inspected, photographed, and inventoried. Every aspect of this process—transport capacity, delivery, container condition, etc.—needs to be of utmost efficiency and excellence. In a week-long stress test done by a customer for all its suppliers, we ramped up our production to 110%, and passed the test perfectly with an output of 796 containers in 24 hours. 

The high summer temperatures and sandstorms of Saudi Arabia make all on-site operations extremely challenging. At the end of every March, temperatures reach 40 °C, and rise to 50 °C by midsummer. At such high temperatures, our employees who carry out the container inspections can only work outside for 20 minutes at a time. After working in the heat, a short break in an air-conditioned lounge is needed. Even in the air-conditioned lounge, however, the temperature is over 30 °C, but still a relief to the harsher heat outside. It’s a testament to the expertise and determination of our employees on site, that they are able to continue to deliver the Bertschi standard in all operations, in such weather conditions of the desert. 

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