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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.


Despite dozens of systems were in use, impact was huge and undisputedly contributed to the development of the international trade. The first standard ISO (668) for the freight containers was published only in 1968, 12 years after and then is regularly updated. I made this short summary just to see how long time and efforts took at the beginning for a standardization in our conservative industry. Recently personally involved in the ISO, IEEE, IEC standardization of the connection of the shore power supply for ships, it took almost 10 years to implement. Many other standards followed in the ports and maritime industry, some imposed by among others IMO, or recommended by the users, various associations and consultants. Still there is a lot to do.

From your point of view, why are standards important moving forward in the 4th industrial revolution and IoT? Standards are paramount not only due to the 4th industrial revolution; specifically with the Artificial Intelligence fast development and implementation, when we already started to delegate to machines human decisions, fight for increasing efficiency a matter of economical survival, standardization became a must and the reduction of timing for its granting, should be a goal for everyone.

3. What do you expect of the work at TIC 4.0 and what was the main reason becoming a member?

Our Association, PEMA, is representing many port equipment manufacturers acting worldwide with proven expertise and experience in this domain ; our technical committees are very active in showing the innovations and the latest “state of the art “ port technologies; our role is to contribute with recommendations also for new standards and make modern technologies more known to the industry. The cooperation with TIC 4.0 is natural, a combination of manufacturers knowledge and port operators, each one contributing and accelerating the development of new standards.

4. What was the most encouraging experience working in TIC 4.0 together with the members?

Sharing with operators and end users port technologies is very useful for the industry and this is also the main reason we supported from its inception together with FEPORT the TIC4.0. The challenge of moving faster to standardization remains; this is due to various Intellectual Property obstacles, the full respect of fair competition, national regulations implementation and not the least the willingness of the manufacturers to share their newest technologies in order to become international standards, in other words to be in the public domain. TIC 4.0 is a new association and as Port Equipment Manufacturers Association we reiterate our wish of a successful cooperation for the benefit of the terminal users and the industry.

About the member/author – Ottonel Popesco, President PEMA:

ottonel-popesco-president-pemaDirector & Board member Fimer Group, previously being the Cavotec Group NV co-founder from end 80t and its CEO since the listing at Nasdaq OMX for over a decade. He is also Group Chairman of the Board of, a SIX Swiss listed company and member of various Boards worldwide. Ottonel started his career in one of the ABB companies with port applications. He is a registered professional engineer in France.

About PEMA – Port Equipment Manufacturers Association
Advanced equipment and technology underpin the performance of today’s seaport, marine and intermodal terminal industries. PEMA represents the interests of equipment and technology suppliers on a worldwide basis, providing a platform to inform, educate and promote best practice, both within the industries we serve and externally with port and terminal operators and other key stakeholders.

PEMA’s mission is to provide a forum and public voice for the global port equipment and technology sectors, reflecting their critical role in enabling safe, secure, sustainable and productive ports and thereby supporting world maritime trade. Chief among our aims is to foster good relations within the communities we represent, by providing a forum for the exchange of views on global trends in port equipment and technology design, manufacture, operation and maintenance. PEMA also aims to promote and support the global role of port equipment and technology by raising awareness with the media, customers and other stakeholders; forging relations with other industry associations and bodies; and contributing to best practice initiatives.

More about TIC 4.0 & PEMA: and



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