Digital Twins to Improve Efficiency by Forecasting Upcoming Bottle-Necks

digital-twin-port-logistics-blog-photo-akquinetHistory of simulation in ports

Simulation technology has been used in the branch of ports and terminals since the 80ies of the last century for terminal layout planning and rough operational strategies. It became a standard methodology for answering questions, which are occurring during the various phases of a terminal:

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Planners and terminal operators are not only looking at Greenfield terminals, also Brownfield ones (existing terminals with re-organisation or extension needs) are analysed using this technology to find the optimal mixture of equipment and layout decisions. E.g. Transnet’s Capacity Planning Group is checking each investment request from any of their South African terminals and in complex situation they simulate to secure the decision.

Beginning with the development of first fully automated terminals in the 90ies (ECT/Rotterdam, CTA/Hamburg) also emulation technology was implemented in this branch, resulting in Virtual Terminals, which provide test beds for the terminal Operation Systems (TOS) and for the start-up of terminals. In this case the simulation model of the terminal is directly connected to a test-instance of the TOS. In this way strategy improvements are tested before going live on the real terminal.

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Make operation smarter with Port Digitization – Ports 4.0

port-digitization-portlogistics-blog-akquinetPort digitization provides more and more data about the past processes as well as about the current state at the terminal from various sources and stakeholders.

Terminal operators have to accept this mind change: Analysing the data from the previous shifts/weeks and connecting them with the current state of the process planning on the terminal enhances the staff in the control room to predict what will happen next on the terminal.

As a result the existing equipment fleet will be used in a much more efficient way, instead of spending thousands of Euro for new equipment. In the current stable economic situation (+/- throughout growth rate) terminal processes have to be analysed and optimised. With forecasting the operations, it can become smarter to fulfil the demands of the shipping lines and the efficiency of the port will increase. Become pro-active instead of re-act only on bottlenecks.

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