History 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:
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.
Port 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.
Recap transport logistics 2019
This has been the biggest transport logistics show so far with 2.374 exhibitors (+10%) from 63 countries and about 64.000 visitors (+5%) from 125 countries. We have joined on the partner stand of bremenports. Again, the Bremen stand was a perfect host stand with our neighbours from BLG, Eurogate and Niedersachen Ports.
This year we focused on three items discussing in our meetings at the fair:
- Integration and solutions for smaller and inland ports?
- What kind of data is produced and what is interesting?
- How could data work for you and how would modern technology help port on this?
Inside view at the HSBA study programme Logistics Management
The Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) offers the dual study programme logistics management with a special focus on the logistics sector. In the lecture “Transport & Logistics IT” Prof. Dr. Jan Ninnemann, Academic Head BSc Logistics Management at HSBA, focuses on the IT and IT solutions for ports and terminals as a vital part of the supply chain. I was invited to present and discuss a case study on actual port and terminal IT solutions in a workshop. The participants of the course in the winter semester 18/19 were about twenty students, most of them in the fifth semester and in preparation of their bachelor thesis. They were studying in a dual approach with lectures at HSBA and working at Hapag Lloyd, the HHLA, Hermes or others.
After my introduction into the subject of the world trade, supply chain and the role of ports & terminals in this part, the course focused on particular solutions such as port community systems (PCS), terminals operating systems (TOS) and virtual terminal simulations to drive efficiency in today environment. The course was setup by Prof. Ninnemann in a workshop style, so during the case study the students developed a general view on the process from a terminal perspective and worked on the data requirements, IT systems used and the stakeholders in the process.