QChat

The Port Of Baltimore's (POB) Quality Cargo Handling Action Team!

It's an innovative, one of a kind, collaborative team initiative that improves quality, prevents damage, and sets the standard WORLDWIDE!

Vision

“Set the Standard for Global Quality and Excellence in Cargo Handling at the Port of Baltimore”

Overall Background & Purpose

The QCHAT initiative was created as a vehicle to assess performance areas, identify problems, and take corrective action steps to improve the quality handling of the cargo at the POB. Additionally the QCHAT measures quality factors to prevent problems from occurring.

Specifically, the QCHAT currently focuses on three (3) categories of cargo: Autos (specifically), Ro/Ro (generally) and Containers.​​

Autos

 

Background:

  • In 1997, the POB community developed a quality initiative for automobiles which included key partners of the Port.
  • In 2000, the POB institutionalized the QCHAT approach to highlight both the importance and significance of quality.
  • 38 quality factors were developed and are assessed on a monthly basis.
  • Meetings are held on a monthly basis. Performance reports are provided on a quarterly basis.
  • Facilitated meetings are led by elected Co-Chairs who help the QCHAT with various aspects of their performance and develop strategies for improvement

Key Focus Area – Collaboration:

One key aspect of the auto initiative is the monthly meetings held to analyze assessments and to highlight opportunities for improvement, document the present quality performance achieved within the Port, as well as to develop corrective and/or preventative action plans. Special team meetings are held on an as needed basis to address any key concerns or changes in performance.​​

Containers

 

Background:

  • In 2006, a QCHAT-Containers was established.
  • Meetings are held on a bi-monthly basis and focus on the needs of the POB container business community.
  • An update is provided at each meeting regarding activities of the following: Maryland Motor Truck Association, US Customs, the Port's chassis pool, and the Seagirt Marine Terminal.
  • Meetings also profile a local company or pertinent industry topic.

Key Focus Area:

The key focus of QCHAT-Containers is to provide a platform where members can voice their concerns or issues with any aspect of the Port's container business. Through teamwork and collaboration, recommendations/solutions are provided for the benefit of both the members and the POB.

Quality Performance:

  • Analyzed truck turn time and chassis availability and made recommendations for improvement.
  • Conducted truckers' survey to identify and resolve areas of concern and prevent unnecessary delays.
  • Collaborated with members to increase the size and participation in the chassis pool.
  • Conducted baseline performance survey for brokers/forwarders.​

Ro/Ro

 

Background:

  • In 2003 a port-wide QCHAT Ro/Ro initiative was launched.
  • 45 quality factors were identified and are assessed on a monthly basis.
  • Meetings are held on a monthly basis in conjunction with QCHAT-Auto meetings.
  • Monthly agenda items include a review of current issues affecting performance. Performance reports are provided on a quarterly basis.
  • A Charter was developed to institutionalize the initiative in 2004..

Key Focus Area – Training:

One of the reasons the POB is number one for the handling of Ro/Ro cargo is because of its reputation for quality care and handling of top-of-the-line pieces of equipment. 
Training is and continues to be an important component for the success of the Ro/Ro QCHAT. A great example of this is our annual two-day Ro/Ro Rodeo which is held at the Dundalk Marine Terminal. Training is focused on operating the newest Ro/Ro cargo types coming through the Port as well as to learn the latest technologies applied to the odd-shaped, larger-than-life machinery that is handled.

Annual Ro/Ro Rodeo:

Each Year the Port of Baltimore (POB) holds a 2-day Ro/Ro Rodeo training event at the Dundalk Marine Terminal. This annual event started in 1996 and has been going on strong ever since. Sponsors of the event include the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore (STA), and the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA).

The training provides an opportunity for the men and women in the longshore local to familiarize themselves with the latest agricultural and construction equipment that they operate on and off ships at the POB. This invaluable training is a testament to the goals and objectives of the QCHAT initiatives of reducing damage and keeping production up, Approximately 200 longshoremen over the course of the 2 days participate in the event. They are assisted by technical specialists representing manufactures ranging from Caterpillar, Komatsu, Wirtgen and CLAAS, to John Deere, AGCO, Massey Ferguson and Ponsse.​