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Make operation smarter with Port Digitization – Ports 4.0

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.


How may terminals benefit most from digitalisation – logistics 4.0?

Whilst in the past mainly the big terminal operators and the (mostly automated) Greenfield terminals have been in the focus of optimisation strategies, nowadays even the (small and) medium sized brownfields may participate. Digitization basedon process automation may be implemented step by step, whilst equipment automation typically requires a big bang.

Start with some identification technologies (e.g. OCR, auto-gate), use predictive maintenance to guarantee the availability of machines in peak shifts and check the current plan of operation by looking into the future, based on the data available.

In this way small steps will lead you to more and more efficient Operation.

Port Digitization Key Learnings

These 3 points will help to bring your operations into the future and maintain a steady growth in your Business:

  1. Instead of investing in assets – optimise the operation with existing resources
  2. Digitalisation already set the base to run these new ideas and Technologies
  3. Predictive maintenance increases the number of available equipment at the terminal and decreases the impacts of break-downs

Buzz words like AI (artificial Intelligence) may support port operation tomorrow (in the next decades) but port digitization supports you now.

Change your behaviour – Invest in intelligence instead of investing in assets only!

This article is about Prof. Dr. Holger Schütt’s presentation at TOC Europe 2019. He gives practical advice to help ports and terminals with the transition to new equipment, technology and operational processes. TECH TOC provides a high quality platform for all the stakeholders in port and terminal efficiency to come together, share experiences, expertise and map out solutions to common current and future challenges.

By Holger Schütt, managing director akquinet port consulting


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