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PROFILEMARK MONTGOMERY


Montgomery had been president and ceo


of Ports America Chesapeake, the company’s public-private partnership, from 2010 to 2014. He still serves as a senior advisor and operating partner to the infrastructure investing strategy of Oaktree Capital Management. Montgomery also serves on the board of


the National Association of Waterfront Employers, the North Atlantic Ports Association and the General Stevedoring Council. Informed by insights from those


organisations, Montgomery was quick to say that the greatest capability within Ports America is its commitment to safety. “I was health and safety director within the company in the 90s, so I can say with confidence that if you work safely you are also more productive.” Everything else flows from there:


“Morale improves, productivity improves; so does customer service, lower costs and improved margins,” Montgomery stated. “It is not just me saying that. The business unit leaders believe in it. And we all believe that is something that differentiates us.”


Team builder Montgomery maintains that his management style is “a team player”. Team builder might be more appropriate, given his synthesis of decades of internal experience with his knowledge from external organisations. “The Chesapeake operation was the first


major public-private partnership in the ports sector,” said Montgomery. “It was a great opportunity to work with finance groups and learn their approach. Oaktree has operations in land, sea and rail, so I was able to learn from all different modes.” One similarity he noted in working with


finance and operational executives is that “the last mile is always a challenge. But if you keep in mind the beneficial cargo owner, you cannot go too far wrong. We are in the business of moving cargo for that beneficial owner.” He made the distinction that Ports America is not simply running cranes and handling loads. It is in the business of moving cargo by doing those things. The broadest trend in cargo is the advent


of the monster containerships, he stated. That has a knock-on effect on all other types of cargo. “We have a tri-coastal operation, and our goal is to be able to handle the biggest ships because we know they are coming,” said Montgomery. “We have started some projects already, and there are others in the works. It is exciting to expand these capabilities.”


30 January/February 2019


In December 2018, Ports


America signed a 50-year lease with the port of New Orleans to continue to operate the


port's Napoleon Avenue and Nashville Avenue Terminals.


Two examples on the Atlantic are the


ports of New York & New Jersey, and Baltimore, which are ready for ships carrying 14,000 teu; and on the Pacific at Tacoma, Washington, where two 18,000-teu berths have just been completed. Expansion at the port of Hueneme, California, includes a new electric crane – a first for the Ports America group. There are complications in the


megaships. “Larger volumes coming off fewer vessels in a short time creates a challenge for the rest of the transportation sector,” said Montgomery. “That is on us, the port operator first, but also on the rail and truck operators. What you have today is essentially two ships’ worth of cargo coming into the port at one berth. That puts strain on the whole logistics system.” The attention on containers does not cast


a shadow over breakbulk or project cargo, though. Quite the opposite. “We are looking at niche locations, especially for breakbulk


The Chesapeake operation was the first major public- private partnership in the ports sector. It was a great opportunity to work with finance groups and learn their approach. –Mark Montgomery, Ports America


operations,” said Montgomery. “Where we can control our own destiny we can perform the best. That said, we have great relationships with all of our stakeholders and partner port authorities.” Given his application of MBWA, it is not


surprising that Montgomery is an outdoorsman in his personal life. He grew up in Italy, and today lives in Vermont, where he is a skier and hiker. His favourite runs in-state are at Stowe, and across the country at Vail, Colorado. On foot he raves about Hunger Mountain, Vermont. While its 3,500 ft (1,066 m) are not overly lofty, from its summit there are spectacular views of the Green, White, and Adirondack mountains in three states.


Rest and relaxation When Montgomery prefers to move sitting down, he rides his BMW 1200 RS motorcycle, and when he wants to slow the pace he plays golf off a respectable 15 handicap. He owns a large piece of property in Vermont, where he cuts his own firewood. The strenuous life, as Theodore


Roosevelt termed it, is a gift by Montgomery’s way of thinking. He survived a heart attack at age 37. Naturally, he is an active supporter and volunteers with charities and foundations that support heart health and active lives for children. That vitality is extending through Ports America, which holds events on both coasts to benefit like-minded charities.


HLPFI www.heavyliftpfi.com


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