Pandemic forces Stevedoring to downsize
The company that operates Hamilton docks has been “severely impacted” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was revealed yesterday.
Warren Jones, the chief executive of Stevedoring Services Limited, said that job numbers on the docks were expected to shrink by nine posts through a hiring freeze, which was expected to save $1 million a year.
A total of 45 of the company's 50 staff are on the payroll at present, but the number is expected to drop over the next year to 34 as nine employees retire with no replacements.
Container deliveries at lunchtimes will be suspended from Monday to save the company an estimated $120,000 a year.
The firm said it also planned to outsource its garage service, with the requirement that the new operator retained the company's eight staff responsible for dock equipment maintenance.
Mr Jones said: “So far this fiscal year, we have seen container volumes drop by 25 per cent and break-bulk cargo, loose cargo, by 43 per cent.”
He added: “This has significantly impacted our ability to maintain our operation.
“As a result, we have considered several operational changes in order to ensure the sustainability of the operation and our workforce.”
Mr Jones said he was “disappointed” that a letter that outlined cost-cutting measures sent to its agents on the island had been leaked.
The letter was sent last month by SSL management to the operators of the cargo vessels Oleander, Bermuda Islander and Somers Isles.
The proposal included keeping half the staff on the docks for this month, although Mr Jones confirmed that SSL was on track to go back to a full staff on Monday.
Mr Jones said in the letter that staffing levels could pose “a challenge during the winter and in the event of bad weather”.
Mr Jones confirmed that the company had outlined its plans to the Corporation of Hamilton, the owner of the docks.
The corporation put out a request for proposal for the operation of the port last year, with Stevedoring Services the only bidder.
Mr Jones added: “At this point in time, we have been advised that the Corporation of Hamilton is willing to give us a one-year extension on the present lease but the long-term status of the port is not known at this time.”
He said the package of cost-saving proposals at the docks meant there would be “no need for any of our staff to take a pay cut”.