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.
14th SPC evening event focusing on digitalization – September 12, 2019
The latest software tools are essential to managing the flows of goods at sea ports and hinterland hubs – that was the general agreement among the speakers and 60 trade visitors at the evening event on September 12, “The Port of Today”, organized by the ShortSeaShipping Inland Waterway Promotion Center (SPC) at the Pegelbar in the Port of Neuss.
Marcus Nölle (SPC) about the port of today
“The demands on sea ports, which are no longer merely transshipping sites, but also offer value-added services, continue to increase relentlessly: digitalization, port safety and security, and growing ship sizes – those are the main topics,”
said SPC Managing Director Markus Nölke.
“The better and more modern a port is, the greater the likelihood that it will actually be used.”