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Powering Optimisation with Digital Tools

PTI Edition 110 •

Using digital tools to optimise processes at container ports and terminals is key to building a resilient supply chain.

Across the industry efforts are being made in the areas of 5G, Internet of Things, mobile tools and, of course, automation.

Since the beginning of 2021, the industry has come up against a number of challenges – it seems there is a new event to talk about each month –which have put the spotlight on digitalisation efforts within the supply chain.

The recent crisis at one of China’s biggest ports, Yantian, once again pivoted the discussion towards digital tools and how they can help mitigate the impact of such a port being reduced to 30% of its original productivity because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

One industry commentator noted the need for large scale digitalisation to raise visibility across the supply chain. Another pointed out that the only long-term solution to the challenges brought about by so-called ‘one-off’ events is industry digitalisation and increased data visibility.

Major supply chain disruptions have had a severe impact on major import terminals which are having to think seriously about their own resiliency.

Coping with demand

As well as being prepared for unplanned crisis, the industry also needs to brace itself for an ongoing trend of increased demand for goods to be shipped.

In this edition of the Journal, Hutchison Ports BEST at the Port of Barcelona discusses how it has implemented a new mobile app, Hutchison Ports ubi, in order to provide greater visibility for terminal users.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Port of Southampton’s container terminal is going through a swathe of modernisation projects from the implementation of 5G to structural upgrades in order to prepare for mega-vessels.

One of the ultimate goals for the supply chain as a whole is to improve situational awareness. With this in mind Hexagon discusses maritime digitalisation and some of the opportunities that are being brought about by new data streams that are becoming available.

All of these developments also have the undercurrent of sustainability in mind: Aidrivers writes about sustainable automation, and resiliency, in ports and terminals, arguing that as part of the future restructuring of port terminal operations, dockside mobility automation is key.

There is a plethora of activities going on at ports and terminals in their bid to digitalise, be more resilient and ultimately more competitive.

This edition of the Journal highlights some of the key projects and industry efforts ongoing today.

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