Smart ports: On the move to become Global Logistics Information Exchange Hubs

Smart ports: On the move to become Global Logistics Information Exchange Hubs

By Hanane Becha, TRAXENS & UN/CEFACT, Mikael Lind, RISE (Research institutes of Sweden), André Simha, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company SA), and Francois Bottin, CMA CGM

Ports are taking significant strides with digital transformation and starting to declare themselves as “smart”. Processes are digitalized, communities within the port are connected, and impressive gains in operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and customer satisfaction are emerging.

Smart ports, as important nodes in the global supply chain, have the opportunity to establish themselves as logistics information exchange hubs serving their regional transport ecosystem.

As ports digitalize their processes, they also establish a platform for providing benefits to other participants in the cargo, freight, and passenger ecosystems. In a society where bandwidth and connectivity are growing, more data will be generated along with new services and many new opportunities.

A landscape of new revenue-generating information services enabling carriers, shippers, and other players to significantly improve their operational predictability, efficiency, visibility, and capacity utilization is now opening.

Giant First Steps: Data-Powered Operational Gains

Ports and supply chains involve thousands of independent companies and individuals depending on each other’s policies, plans, and actions to effectively make the right business decisions and run operations. The smart port uses digital data streams to boost collaboration, align activities, and make decisions that improve vital processes across their operations. Some of the trends that we see now are:

· smart technologies informing about conditions and the utilization of physical infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, railroads, depots, terminals, warehouses. For example, cost-effective sensors are installed in or along, quay walls, roads, railways, and bridges transmitting real-time data about operating conditions. This also enables the port to proactively identify needed maintenance or repairs and thereby avoid unplanned downtime.

· cargo handling that is digitally connected and helping ports to increase their handling capacity and productivity by ensuring that stacking cranes, straddle carriers, forklifts, and other equipment are correctly maintained and operate at peak efficiency. This also includes the automatic identification and detection of containers.

· appointment systems for sea-borne and intermodal traffic are introduced to enable just-in-time arrivals, as well as trucking carriers reserving specific times for dropping off or picking up freight.

· the introduction of digital tools for providing notifications on sea and land borne carrier movements within or closely associated to the port, via GPS-based traffic monitoring systems and traffic monitoring sensors along major port roads.

  • the use of digital technologies in safety and security to protect port employees, facilities, and assets. This covers entrance authorization, video surveillance and analytics, behavior analysis, anti-theft and anti-fraud, and biometric authentication solutions, and sensor-based systems that help vehicles and cargo-handling equipment to be properly aligned for safety, physical and cyber security
  • the use of digital solutions to help identify, monitor, and aggregate data needed to support environmental and regulatory compliance initiatives, including the reduction of energy consumption through motion-sensitive lighting systems within terminals and on port roads, and air quality sensors enabling government inspectors to receive real-time sulphur dioxide emissions reports from vessel when they enter or leave a port.
  • smart assets taking the digital age of shipping one step further beyond paperless processes by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to support enhanced decision-making by the various sectoral stakeholders.

These developments provide examples of how a port and its actors become a significant data source for a multitude of parameters that support both an environmentally sustainable and value creating transport system.

A port’s value creation needs to capitalize on data for optimal performance . . . .

. . . . continue reading the article on the Offshore Energy website here