As more customers choose WWL for their breakbulk ocean shipping, our operations teams are having to deal with an ever more diverse range of cargo. This is especially true in Manzanillo, Panama, where its strategic location near the Panama Canal means a diverse range of cargo is loaded and unloaded on every vessel.

Manzanillo is close to the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and is therefore of strategic geographic importance. The port handles more than 200 calls from WWL-operated vessels per year and is ranked as one of the world’s leading RoRo transshipment hubs. 

Read more: From a factory in France to a jungle in Panama 

Recently we held a training course for our people in Manzanillo to upgrade their knowledge. It’s part of an ongoing program of investing in the development and training, health and welfare of our employees all around the world. 

Moving beyond the basics 

Participants were reminded of proper lashing techniques for securing different kinds of cargo to roll trailers and bolsters. But to bring their knowledge to a more advanced level, we spent a lot of time looking at the reasons why.

Topics included why there must be a specific number of lashings for specific types of cargo, the physical forces involved, and the instruments used to calculate the exact positioning of cargo on the equipment.

We also welcomed a member of staff from EUKOR in Brazil. As we are cooperating more with EUKOR, it is important to share the knowledge, skills and experience with our partners at every level of the organization. 

My colleague Johanna Karlberg from the global equipment team was also in attendance to share their knowledge but also learn. They are not able to do their jobs without a good working relationship with the staff in the ports, so such in-person dialogue is so important.

Essential practical experience

In Manzanillo, there was a requirement to move cargo from two roll trailers on to one to free up one roll trailer to be used elsewhere.

We incorporated this activity into the training so that every participant had the opportunity to put into practice what they had learned in the classroom.

What pleased me most about the day was the engagement. Every one of the attendees made the most of the opportunity to ask questions and deepen their understanding of the technical elements of their job.

Training the wider community

We hope to roll out this more advanced training in other ports in the coming years, but our approach to training doesn’t end there. In previous years, WWL has sponsored the RoRo Rodeo, a tried-and-tested way of getting hands-on heavy equipment driver training on new and sometimes unusual vehicles. 

Read more: Hundreds trained at RoRo Rodeo events 

More than 200 longshoremen, port operators and agencies from across Latin America took part in operational training exercises and equipment handling demonstrations in Panama. Major agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers also discussed their operating procedures and answered questions.