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How today’s students and future experts will change the port and terminal business

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.


Logistics Management study Programm at HSBA

The students worked on the opportunities and threads that come with the increasing importance of IT and data for the logistics business. It became clear that a future oriented process cannot survive without data driven analytics, sharing of data and the right security level. The discussion circled around the topic that today’s competition put a lot of pressure on the supply chain and thereby on the port & terminal industry. The old metrics of putting more infrastructure in place to increase business and gain volume is not entirely applicable anymore. Companies need to look at being more productive (or faster) with the available infrastructure and “do more with less”. So, use the todays tools in the age of digitization to be more efficient, be it a ports system to have a levelled exchange of information though a PCS, a modern TOS to improve planning and automate processes or a simulation solution to improve your decision taking with a better forecast by simulation. Together with Prof. Ninnemann the students worked out that transparency in information and sharing information will be a key role in future business models.

Prof. Ninnemann stated for the importance of modern IT in ports and terminal: “Todays volumes and fast turnover together with the need to become more efficient, asks for modern IT solutions to enable business processes and possibly even unlock new business models in the industry”.

Logistics Management students get an Impression of modern IT and port terminal

In the end the course went into an example of a modern TOS solution (RBS TOS – TOPS Expert Cloud) and looked into way how these solutions are developed and improved. Also, a brief view on the CHESSCON Virtual Terminal gave a glance of modern IT at ports and terminals.

The discussions with the student have clearly shown that the coming generation looks more into data driven processes, transparency, automation and smart tools to be used in the logistics process. I am convinced that these students will chance our business and will bring in new ideas, technologies and possibilities. When I started in 2003, a full TOS system was somehow still a “technical miracle” done by artists. It had to be adjusted to each terminal and this was a complicated job. Now, you can just order a full TOS from the cloud and run it in your browser. Today, every terminal and inland ports can have a TOS, not only the big ones. The students must – and will – take advantage of these fast-growing technologies. They will have to find out what is possible when mass data are always and everywhere available.

By Norbert Klettner, managing director akquinet port consulting

Information about the Bachelor Logistics Management at HSBA:

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