Robust 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.
How 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 ).
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.
Sea 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.
In Rotterdam 4th – 6th Nov 2019
Last week’s #SDP conference in Rotterdam has been packed with loads of content into two days with quite some takeaway for the more than 250 visitors. As a kick-off for the conference Port of Rotterdam presented their way forward and how they are one of the leading ports when it comes to digitization and smart port approaches.
So what are the learnings or is the takeaway from this conference?
1. The market around the ports and terminals is not waiting!
The global forwarders and customers of the shipping lines are not waiting until the port industry has made their way towards integrated, smart and data driven solutions. Things everybody is already used to in the day-to-day online shop, are expected to become normal in the logistics chain on a business level as well. So everybody ordering things on Amazon or other platforms expects to get the tracking ID immediately after ordering automatically. This is what is expected at the business level in the supply chain as well by the forwarders. Also the liners (and their vessels) as the main customers of ports are moving ahead. They start optimizing the routing using data analytics and connected data to minimize e.g. fuel consumption or waiting time (or both). This also requires more interactive and connected approach for ports towards the vessels. Connectivity and data exchange across the borders of the different parts of the supply chain are necessary.
Could blockchain technology be an effective approach to protecting systems?
When it comes to safety and security in maritime logistics, cybersecurity is the central focus. Incidents like the NotPetya attack on Maersk are impressive signs that we can’t let our guard down. To the contrary: sustained efforts will be needed to defend against cyberattacks. In a current position paper, the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) in Bremen tackles this subject and describes the measures needed to mitigate the risks from cyberspace.