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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CO2-neutral shipping: New Position Paper by Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics

co2-neutral-shipping-port-logistics-blog-akquinetzero emissions by 2050

The Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) offers a position paper about CO2-neutral shipping – in the field of tension between technical possibilities, ecological reason as well as economic and political interests. What contribution can LNG make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping? What further measures are needed to realise the vision of “zero emissions by 2050”?

initiate measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the global climate

Maritime transport has increased steadily in the past decades on a world scale. Currently, about 90 percent of intercontinental trade is handled by sea transport. Along with this, vessels increasingly emit air pollutants with effects on health, environment and climate. With the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the IMO was mandated to initiate measures for reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions to the global climate. An extensive bundle of measures to achieve the ambitious goals has since then been discussed and developed. But have these measures been implemented early enough and ambitiously enough in anticipation of technologies and fuels to be developed in the future?

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Visualization of terminal processes and operations: just a digital playground or a must in a digitalized logistical environment?

visualisation-of-terminal-port-logistics-blog-akquinet3D vizualisation of terminals as a chance?

Today’s terminal operators face challenges like constant pressure by global carriers / vessel operators and by landside operators likewise. To cope with these is even harder under the current uncertainties on global economic growth: how is the development of my terminal evolving in short- and medium-term view? And what if the world economic growth recovers? Would this cause a demand for an entirely new “greenfield”-terminal or just a larger or enhanced container terminals? What if the world economy tends to a recession? How can we gain a higher level of efficiency already now?

This brings up a huge bunch of questions particularly if it comes to more flexibility on container terminal operations necessary to pace up with the present competitors and global players? Do we need more prime movers and a higher level of automation? Do we have to bring in more STSs and maybe less but more qualified and specialised workers? What’s about an at least moderate change in the container-terminal-layout to gain shorter ways for my AGVs? How can I handle with less equipment and keep the service level right up to my customers’ demands?

Ongoing and “never ending” negotiations lead to lower rates per move and therefore further stressing annual revenues and cost targeting.

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Improving the planning and performance of transportation chains with sea port data – insights into the “LAVIS” mFund project

sea-port-data-port-logistics-blog-akquinetSea port data for determining the predicted cargo availability

This blog article describes the current status of the project “LAVIS – Intelligent Data Analysis for Forecasting Cargo Availability in Sea Ports”. The Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) and AKQUINET, an IT company, are currently carrying out the feasibility study, with a time frame of less than a year. The project is receiving funding from the mFund research initiative by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

In its first step, the LAVIS project aims to evaluate whether cargo availability in container terminals can be determined more accurately, to improve efficiency and speed during loading and optimize downstream transportation chains. To achieve this, the project is examining which approaches for determining the predicted cargo availability are possible and which data is needed to do so.

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The Most Important Elements of a Cybersecurity Strategy

cybersecurity-port-logistics-blog-akquinetFrom system hardening and network zoning to active security monitoring

This blog article reproduces the presentation by Ralf Kempf at the event “Cybersecurity for Maritime Infrastructures” organized by Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland e.V. (“Northern German Maritime Cluster”, held October 30, 2019, in Bremerhaven).

Today, cyberattacks on companies can easily cause damage in eight or even nine figures. Such attacks often take the form of spam e-mail, written with perfect spelling and grammar, that appears to have been sent by a colleague or a friend. The recipient is usually instructed to click a link or enter a password. And then it’s already too late: The malware spreads throughout the company.

Yet companies can protect themselves even against such professionally prepared attacks. I repeatedly encounter cases where companies spend lots of money on physical access protection, but leave all doors wide open when it comes to e-mail. If someone wants to enter the building, they have to show their ID – but anyone can gain access via e-mail or USB stick. There will always be an employee who clicks an enticing link – that’s just human nature – but it’s negligent for companies to give them the opportunity to do so in the first place. IT security can be vastly improved with just a few, very simple security precautions. You could prevent e-mails with Office attachments from being delivered right away, for example. Instead, these e-mails could initially be placed in quarantine for review. Another simple step is the deactivation of macros. In short, companies should always ask the following key question:

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