An Australian first was achieved at Port Kembla this week when Qube Ports officially opened a Japanese-style Pure Car Carrier (PCC) Dojo Training Centre.
The decision to set up a simulated training centre in Australia was made by Qube Ports Operations general manager Michael Sousa, who was impressed with what he saw on a visit to the Maiko Training Centre in Japan last November. As a result, Qube Ports partnered with its clients to develop a training centre of excellence in Australia.
Mr Sousa thanked Qube Ports' customers, partners and stakeholders for attending the official opening on Thursday and revealed similar facilities were being rolled across the nation.
"Over the past six months we have pulled together a team of Qube management working with K-Line and Toyota personnel to develop what you will see today," he said.
In Wollongong, NSW regional training officer Michael Power is responsible for conducting the training.
Qube PCC training centres are also opening in Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Darwin but Wollongong was the first to get a $100,000 simulator for stage seven of the eight station training process.
The active driving simulation teaches new and experienced employees to assess driving in a safe and controlled manner when unloading cars from car carriers. "Not only is this the first such interactive training program for Qube but also the first such dedicated PCC training centre in Australia," he said.
"We know that in PCC operations there is a mandate to achieve zero damage to our customers' cargo and our people. We pride ourselves on being leaders in our industry. In 2005 we achieved 12 months zero damage, which was a first in the industry.
"In 2011-12 Qube was awarded the leader in Toyota loading with scores of 97 per cent and 98 per cent respectively."
Mr Sousa said the company would continue to try to make improvements through innovation and that was why it had made such a significant capital investment towards trying to set a new industry standard.
That latest investment in improving performance and safety was recently recognised by Lloyds List, which awarded Qube its Safe Transport Industry Training Award.
Mr Sousa recognised Wollongong's David Wingate, Greg Stewart, Steve Moore and Danielle McKoy, as well as many other people from the company for their involvement. He also thanked Ray Connell for working "to design and build what I deem the world's best PCC simulator".
In officially opening the new Port Kembla training centre, Qube Ports managing director Don Smithwick said it was exciting to see how far things had come since the days when they used to use cranes on lift-on, lift-off ships.
"We have come from those days ... to the very highly technical sophisticated vessels we handle today," he said.
"We are at the leading edge of technology."
K-Line Car Carrier Business Group assistant managing executive officer Captain Hironori Niwase flew from Tokyo for the opening.