TIC4.0 – Standards: Why are standards in the port and terminal industry helping small ports?

port industry standards for port industryThe port and terminal industry is going for more integration and automation across various levels of the processes. Due to this the terminal industry is striving for more standards and does that in different initiatives such as the Terminal Industry Committee 4.0 (TIC4.0), “Port Call Optimization” or others. Often standards don’t need to be reinvented because there are some existing standards in the industry such as IMDG, BIC or ISO. But these are often too little process oriented to help with the integration and digitization. Therefore, the initiatives put these standards and new definitions in a process-oriented context. These standards are meant defining industry wide standards and therefore are required to drive forward the integration, digitization and automation on various levels more efficiently.

Benefits for small ports from port industry standards

Earlier this year I spoke at an online conference at Connect2SmallPorts project (C2SP) which is an EU funded initiative to push digitization for small ports and terminals in the Southern Baltic Sea. After discussing and being in contact with this project, the question came up: Are small ports and terminals benefiting from standards or is this only something for big ports or terminals with big automation projects?

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TIC 4.0 – Interview series: Ottonel Popesco, President PEMA

1. What do you think is the current status of standardization in the container terminal industry, what are the points not addressed yet?

In order to better understand the standardization evolution and its complexity in the port industry I would like to point out some important facts in this process. Standardization is one of the port industry challenges since the first container terminal was opened in 1932 in Pennsylvania ; only one year later the first obligatory parameters of containers were established under the International Chamber of Commerce and Bureau International des Conteneurs, but this was not internationally accepted; first steps of standardization  for the  sea transportation started after WW2 with the main patented invention of the goods containerization in 1956 in US by Mc Lean, with, among others, the twistlock invention. His main idea was to use containers that were never opened from supplier to end user usable by sea or road.

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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

1. 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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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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