Doing Things The Right Way!

At Patriot Rail and Ports’ Blount Island Marine Terminal, there is no room for compromise. With Portus running TOTE Maritime’s entire operation from gate to vessel and also handling stevedoring services for multiple customers, including the US Military, there is only one way to do things – the right way.

The right way applies to everything from simple organization to safety. It’s a commitment from the entire team to follow procedures and do whatever it takes to ensure operations run smoothly. The knowledge that everyone is on the same page, working to do things the right way, gives the team confidence to achieve all their objectives day in and day out.

Kevin Morales, Operations Manager for Portus at Blount Island, recognizes that a commitment to doing things the right way has to come from the top and be shared effectively.

Education is Key

“The biggest thing we do is educate our employees. Train them to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Then once they’re educated, they have to know they are going to be held responsible for their decisions,” he says.

While most of the time, this describes correcting unsafe behavior, which requires immediate action, Kevin also believes in the importance of recognizing proper steps as well. He credits John Fenton, CEO of Patriot Rail and Ports, for teaching him how to “show his team what good looks like.”

“When someone is doing something well, I try to let them know right away. You can’t just keep beating them down all the time,” Morales says. “So we talk about that first thing in the safety briefing every morning. We talk about what we did yesterday, the productivity, the fact that everyone was safe. You have to let people know what they’re doing right.”

You Have Time To Do Things The Right Way

James Maple, Operations Manager at Portus, the stevedoring side of the operation, ensures his team is equally focused on doing the right thing. He has an unwavering love for his crew and gets extremely frustrated when he sees people taking shortcuts and sacrificing safety for productivity.

“When you take shortcuts, that’s when bad things tend to happen,” he says.” Those steps you skip are the ones designed to save you from having an accident.”

James recognizes the unpredictable nature of the job and how systems play a huge role in productivity. He brings his OCD from home – where James claims he has the most organized kitchen of anyone on the dock – to the terminal, where he ensures everything is in the right place. Order, James knows, keeps his team productive and safe.

“If you have the equipment you need, when you need it, you don’t have to rush to make up for the time you spent looking for it. If you don’t have to rush, you have time to be safe.”

To put it another way, you have time to do things the right way. James Maple knows the team owes it to their customers to do things right, and they owe it to one another. He extends this after hours as well. James is consistently the last one on his team to leave the terminal every night. It’s important to him.

When asked why he explained, “I want to make sure they all know if they have car trouble, don’t have a ride, or whatever, they’re taken care of. It’s just something my parents taught me. Make sure your co-workers go home safely.”

Beliefs That Run Deep

Doing things the right way is a belief that runs deep within James Maple and Kevin Morales. The same is true of the entire Patriot Rail & Ports team at the Blount Island Marine Terminal. The team takes care of one another and consistently delivers for customers, and they accomplish all of this on a foundation of doing things the right way.

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