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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5G-Technology in modern container ports – an auspicious future for the industry?

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Just recently, 5G communications technology had a huge impact on the political scenery within the European Union and globally. In Germany a handful of local and global providers struggle for an almost historic contract volume that will change markets for the next decades.

Having this in mind, it might be a good strategy to think about the new upcoming opportunities of the high-end communications and control-systems that could be enabled by a ubiquitous 5G-Network when deployed in a port and on a container terminal. Not only is this necessary to meet some future IOT-standards that will come up in the container-industry but also to exactly define what will be the real challenges for the terminals and ports yet running a rather ordinary container terminal operation.

Hard to know yet. We could get closer to an answer if we try to split it into multiple aspects:

Once deployed and established, 5G communication nodes on container terminals can provide a very fast – basically real-time – dataflow which might have been yet unmatched: the controlling TOS could gain data about the today’s terminal operations much faster and more efficient than possible before. And maybe these will be provided by more digital sources in even closer embeddings. Imagine, when simulation systems could be enabled to forecast future bottlenecks in operation on a continuous, all-time-running, real-time base. This being enabled by very fast and extremely dense 5G data networks and a high-performance in-memory data storage to feed the necessary algorithms for comparison and hereby complementing the leading TOS. This could create new strategies for the TOS on very short notice either in STS-, yard or gate-operations to name just a few points of impact.

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