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01.06.2021

Smoother sailing ahead for ports and terminals embracing digitization

Complete the digital voyage so you can find greater operational efficiency

According to a Smart Ports report by Deloitte, seaports are behind the digital transformation times, playing catchup with larger transportation and logistics players, particularly when it comes to developing insight-driven solutions.

And while a tidal wave of technology is there for the taking, there’s a digital disconnect in many of the world’s ports and marine terminals. Historically, ports and marine terminals – perhaps yours – have adopted point solutions and focused on large-scale IT projects, such as ERP systems, resulting in siloed information and falling behind in connectivity and digitization. 

In fact, a recent survey of 50 terminals found that:

  • More than 50% relied on non-integrated methods of planning and communication;
  • Less than one-quarter used technology to calculate the time on the berth; and
  • More than half (55%) recalculated the berth schedule manually based on live information.

Further, it’s fairly common for a terminal to average 19 estimated-time-of-arrival (ETA) changes per day, 70% of which fluctuate by more than 18 hours. Sound familiar?

Although inefficiencies in the industry abound, perhaps you, like so many others, are increasingly embracing digital transformation and tapping into useful, integrated data to improve operations, efficiency and ultimately customer service.

There’s no time like now to take the digital plunge

Today, the move toward becoming smart terminals is underway as companies understand that newer technology leads to increased operational capabilities and drives greater revenue across the same berth infrastructure.

Port- and marine terminal-specific software allows easy access to large volumes of data, which can be analyzed and interpreted by artificial intelligence (AI) to gain a stronger grasp on things like the average time ships are on the berth or how long it takes for them to dock on a typical day.

In fact, New Zealand’s Port Taranaki optimized vessel throughput, reduced waiting time and is meeting its operating objectives, among other benefits with such a solution. Access to this type of information also enhanced Port Taranaki’s customer service and improved collaboration across the entire supply chain.

And when it comes to scheduling, modern technology solutions are light years ahead of tools that scheduling teams often use, such Excel spreadsheets that take so much time to constantly update. Remember up above how we mentioned that terminals average 19 ETA changes per day? Think of the time saved by having those changes logged automatically rather than employees manually altering a spreadsheet multiple times a day.

Technology that turns the complexities of running ports and marine terminals into opportunities

Maritime planning and scheduling is volatile and involves a variety of information – all of which is simplified through digitization. There’s vessel ETA, draft at berth, available quay side infrastructure, a shortage of pilots, changes in tide, weather and so on.

A flexible, configurable cloud-based application uses a unique scheduling algorithm to optimize vessel calls by increasing productivity and optimize infrastructure and other resources. It enables the critical parts of a vessel call to be integrated and managed more effectively than time-intensive, traditional paper-based methods.

An advanced scheduling tool reduces vessel waiting time by 10%, demurrage by up to 30% and scheduling time by 80%. It incorporates terminal-specific constraints, supports resource allocation so you can deal with vessel visits more effectively and provides a system of record for post-vessel administration – all while analyzing performance in real time.

Ride the technology transformation high tide

Bottom line is this: Port and terminals that continue operating with yesterday’s siloed tools and spreadsheets will struggle to serve their customers well. They will also fail to compete with the companies taking the plunge to invest in the technology needed to complete their digital voyage.

Sure, we’re talking about making an investment to go digital. But what’s the cost of not investing in the technological infrastructure to improve your operational efficiency? By automating mundane processes, your staff focuses on higher priority activities, while your customers experience better service. Using tools like AI in everyday situations enables terminals to make repeatable decisions that enable fluidity, consistency, efficiency – and ultimately positive change.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about going all-in digital and shoring up your port or marine terminal operations, visit here

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