TIC4.0 – Interview series: Lamia Kerdjoudj, Secretary General FEPORT

1. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF STANDARDIZATION IN THE CONTAINER TERMINAL INDUSTRY, WHAT ARE THE POINTS NOT ADDRESSED YET?

I think that standardization was lacking in the terminal industry and this is how and why TIC 4.0 came to birth. The main objective of TIC 4.0 is to bring together terminal operators, port equipment manufacturers and software suppliers to define, develop and maintain standards that enable the sector to face critical challenges like digital transformation, energy transition and the evolution towards automation. This objective will allow both operators and manufacturers to adopt a common language regarding port operations and implement Industry 4.0 models. The existence of these standards will foster an efficient adoption of the Industry 4.0 paradigm and at a lower cost, enabling operators, manufacturers and software providers to share a common understanding of the key aspects that affect the operations and logistics of port terminals.

The needs and points to be addressed are numerous particularly because we are in the middle of a transition period and embracing the fourth industrial revolution. We are “learning while walking”.

2. From your point of view, why are standards important moving forward in the 4th industrial revolution and IoT?

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TIC 4.0 Member Interview – Boris Wenzel Member and President of TIC on: Why to join TIC4.0

tic-4.0-blog-akquinet1. What do you think is the current status of standardization in the container terminal industry, what are the points not addressed yet?

We are just at the beginning. With the new Terminal Industry Committee 4.0 (TIC 4.0) it is the first time that all the actors of our industry sit down together with the clear intention to agree about semantics and protocols, in order to formalize and standardize the language used in our industry. At last, our industry has become conscious that without an easy interconnexion of systems facilitated by commonly accepted standards we cannot build a complex system, unless it is a custom-designed complex system that will be really expensive and risky to undertake.

2. From your point of view, why are standards important moving forward in the 4th industrial revolution and IoT?

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5G-Technology in modern container ports – an auspicious future for the industry?

container-port-portlogistics-blog-akquinet

Just recently, 5G communications technology had a huge impact on the political scenery within the European Union and globally. In Germany a handful of local and global providers struggle for an almost historic contract volume that will change markets for the next decades.

Having this in mind, it might be a good strategy to think about the new upcoming opportunities of the high-end communications and control-systems that could be enabled by a ubiquitous 5G-Network when deployed in a port and on a container terminal. Not only is this necessary to meet some future IOT-standards that will come up in the container-industry but also to exactly define what will be the real challenges for the terminals and ports yet running a rather ordinary container terminal operation.

Hard to know yet. We could get closer to an answer if we try to split it into multiple aspects:

Once deployed and established, 5G communication nodes on container terminals can provide a very fast – basically real-time – dataflow which might have been yet unmatched: the controlling TOS could gain data about the today’s terminal operations much faster and more efficient than possible before. And maybe these will be provided by more digital sources in even closer embeddings. Imagine, when simulation systems could be enabled to forecast future bottlenecks in operation on a continuous, all-time-running, real-time base. This being enabled by very fast and extremely dense 5G data networks and a high-performance in-memory data storage to feed the necessary algorithms for comparison and hereby complementing the leading TOS. This could create new strategies for the TOS on very short notice either in STS-, yard or gate-operations to name just a few points of impact.

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Does automation allow you to run a terminal from a mobile/ remote working place?

terminal-automation-port-logistics-blog-akquinetRobust supply chain with ports and terminals

These days almost everybody seems to work from home practicing social distancing and #stayathome. Supporting this approach and call everybody to do the best to control the spread of Corona, is what we all need to do these days.

Working e.g. from home makes you think about many different things such as: “How does this impact my business?” or “How does this impact the business of my clients?”. In the first days and weeks with the pace things are evolving, it might not be the right point in time to take long-term decisions. Sure, mitigating the first impact on business is the first priority for management now. But what (comes) will be afterwards? Will our business be the same and will it just recover after some month and move on? Isn’t the crisis also a good point to rethink business strategies from a new angle? Especially in logistics and port business completely driven by the global economy moving physical goods, we might need to go for a new way of thinking. On the one hand the supply chain takes a critical role in such a crisis delivering goods where they are needed most – from medical products to toilet paper. On the other hand, we experience the global just-in-time supply chain, as being more vulnerable than probably anticipated. Perhaps even in the case that Corona would not have been spread outside China to becoming a global pandemic. A more local scenario like this would still have hit many industry sectors across the rest of the world, “just” because one piece in the puzzle is not inline or in sequence anymore.

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From “blind spot” to “supply chain optimizer”

supply-chain-optimizer-portlogistics-blog-akquinetHow digitalization may redefine the future role of ports

Looking at the current degree of digital data exchange and communications in maritime logistics and transport chains, it becomes clear that the use of ICT solutions is an old hat for the port industry. Still, business experts and scientists relentlessly proclaim an ongoing transformation that is said to shift the role ports will play in tomorrow’s supply chains. Buzzwords such as “smart” and “intelligent” are already an essential part of political discussions and strategic considerations of major market players. So what exactly is about to Change?

Paperless, automated, smart

To better understand the essence of current developments, it is helpful to reconsider how information technologies have shaped the port landscape in the previous decades and what has been different from today. Just recently, scientists have specified three main phases of port digitalization (see [1]).

Driven by the tremendous growth in container shipping, the primary motivation in the early days for using ICT has been to improve the scalability by establishing paperless information exchange procedures. Accompanied by standardization initiatives such as UN/EDIFACT, the introduction of port community systems (PCS) and commercial terminal operating systems (TOS) in the 1980s has set a first digital transformation in the port industry.

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