Consulting and solutions
Port and terminal logistics must be managed effectively and efficiently to satisfy the demands of this fast-paced industry.
The essential steps for implementing smart port solutions are 1) the transparent exchange of information between all process-relevant users of the port facilities; 2) automation of central operations and administration processes; 3) the integration of all terminals on the port premises; and last but not least, 4) the active control of inbound deliveries and further transport based on demand, capacities, and traffic data.
Simulation-based solutions ensure intelligent optimization of your terminal workflows, to create smart, end-to-end port and transport logistics. Get your ports and terminals in shape for a successful future!
With long-term industry expertise and many successfully completed projects, we are your ideal port consulting partner.
Answered by Norbert Klettner
Questions on the optimisation of terminals and processes
Terminal Logistics Solutions
What opportunities do terminal logistics solutions offer for processes in ports and terminals?
At medium-sized and large terminals individual solutions are largely well established. Smaller terminals are still looking for logistics and operations solutions in some cases. Great potential lies in linking different solutions in a logistics chain. This concerns many processes in the port as well as beyond the sea port, e.g. the connection to the hinterland. How can the data flow be automated to the hinterland? How does the data get from the upstream leg to the main leg and from there to the downstream leg of the supply chain? The entire chain must be linked and become increasingly transparent.
Data platforms for tracking containers are being developed here by different players. Such modern platform approaches and overarching solutions create opportunities for ports and terminals to tap into. The basis for is usually an own modern IT solution that enables a flexible integration, thereby the communication with all participants in the logistics chain can be established.
How can standards in logistics and the cargo handling industry pave the way for better and simpler port and terminal automation?
Terminals are - after all - only one piece of the puzzle for the whole port. With terminal automation, the focus is often on physical automation on the terminal floor, i.e., automated movement of cargo or at the entrance and exit process. With port automation, you look at the entire port basin and super infrastructure. Process automation and integration automation at both the port and terminal level will continue to advance. Our automation options for terminals are in our TOS and CHESSCON solution. For both, the port and terminal automation, standards such as those increasingly established by TIC4.0 (Terminal Industry Committee 4.0), "Port Call Optimization" or DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association) will become vital.
Here the process and data automation play an essential role to improve efficiency of existing solutions as well as implementing new solutions. This usually becomes even more complex when the hand-over between different process owner needs to be automated – e.g., in a typical example of berthing a vessel. Here the lead changes from the vessel/liner in the approach and berthing itself to the cargo handling terminals and ports. To handle the information flow in such aa case, standards of TIC4.0 and DCSA need to go hand in hand. With such standards, "plug-and-play" solutions across different implementations will become possible. This can save time and costs in projects. General standards also make it easier for more vendors to develop solutions, allowing the best solutions to prevail. It can prevent a single market leader from imposing its own standard on the industry and could make it easier for smaller ports and terminals to use the solutions and participate in the market. Read more in my blog post: PORT LOGISTICS BLOG.
Which IT port systems are normally used? What is a typical IT map for ports and terminals?
In ports and terminals there are usually some core IT systems that interact together with surrounding systems and the community. Besides a classical ERP system, the core systems are usually an operational Terminal Operating System (TOS) or a Port Management System (PMS) and a communication platform like an EDI Clearing Centre and/or a Port Community System (PCS). Often, an asset management system is also implemented, which today is being expanded more and more to include IIoT components and drive predictive maintenance approaches.
Here it is important to look at the role played in the port. The direction is different when you are a terminal operator then if you operate the port. Surrounding systems are an OCR-based systems at the entrance and exit, such as a Gate Operating System (GOS). Position Detection System (PDS) or reefer monitoring system to automate processes. All these IT systems at the port or terminal need to interact more and more, not only internally, but also with external upstream and downstream systems of the SCM. Looking at the port level there will be the need to more and more integrated with the cargo handling (terminals) and their solutions to an operational level.
Port & Terminal Automation
What is the impact of a port and terminal automation?
Terminal automation starts when the terminal is designed, and the layout is drawn (or re-drawn for a brownfield automation). There is no “one size” fits everyone. So terminal planning is about designing the terminal from the very beginning, such as planning different options, the traffic routing or planning the stacking areas and matching them with the future process. Our tools CHESSCON Terminal View, CHESSCON Simulation and CHESSCON Capacity support these planning processes from a high level to a details simulation.
Terminal optimization is about how to improve an existing and operating terminal in planning and operation, for example by a good training of the staff. Among many other areas a terminal can also be optimized with the help of modern and integrated IT systems, such as the TOS, an asset management system, BI and data analytics solutions or many more. Our modules CHESSCON Virtual Terminal, CHESSCON Yard View and CHESSCON Shift Preview support the operational optimization and configuration of the environment. These solutions should be integrated at an early stage of an automation project in order to steer the it in the right direction and tune the processes and controls. Currently, ways to further enhance these processes through AI and IOT solutions are also being explored and implemented more and more. Terminal automation does not stop or start with equipment automation. It has many different levels from data automation to process automation and automated decision making.
Why do I need ports consultants for my terminal?
Today, no efficient terminal can do without modern IT solutions and good processes matching. These have to be selected and integrated, the employees have to be trained using the systems. The systems have to be configured and optimized during operation. All of this is not part of the daily business or the core tasks at a port or terminal. External specialists / port consultants, who bring a wide range of experience from other port and terminal projects, can help to fulfil these additional tasks in such a way that the terminal is modernized and optimized.
The employees need to able to work with systems and processes in such a way that they facilitate their own work and the terminal operation. Here it is important to find the right level and skill set of support, so it matches with the organization and tasks to be done. Don’t oversize the consultant work to still stay in control, but also don’t play down the role of external input to a modernization and digitization process.
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