Port Investment and Development

Port investment and development

As the need to increase cargo capacity in terminals and ports continues, so does investment in expansion, development and new technologies. Few, if any, projects have been halted directly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts continue at ports around the world to improve container capacity and operational efficiencies.

In this edition of the Journal our contributors highlight some of the projects currently underway from Italy to Los Angeles, India to Brazil.

In our ongoing series with the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) we hear from three of its members about the importance of Port Community Systems (PCS) and digitalisation as ports across the world look for the best places to invest.

The Association highlights how the Port of Los Angeles is rolling out various programmes in order to deal with the ever-increasing cargo throughput. As the Port looks to further develop its Port Optimizer solution it is taking a broad outlook in terms of connectivity.

Meanwhile, the Port of Trieste, Italy, is using its PCS to build connections with railway operators and terminals beyond its own location.

Poland is also continuing to develop its national PCS and the national approach for the ports of Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin and Świnoujście was a crucial element of the Government’s plans for port development to 2030.

Building Blocks

The Port of Rotterdam prides itself as being one of the leading smart ports in Europe and the world. According to the Port, there are seven distinct building blocks ports will need to consider in order to prepare for the future.

It notes that ports of the future will be ‘smart’ and will be able to effectively respond to demands of all types. If the past 18 months has told us anything it is that adaptability is key, as is having the flexibility to respond to an uncertain market.

The goals of a nation

India, one of the world’s most populous nations, is investing heavily in its supply chain infrastructure and is building a new mega-port to keep up with demand.

The new Vadhavan Port in Maharashtra would represent the nation’s 13th largest port complex and could handle up to three million TEU per year by 2030.
However, as with any grand investment plan, things will not necessarily be plain sailing and the authors point out that the nation could be left in a Catch-22 situation with the greenfield and brownfield sites if it is not careful and considered.

Finally, in Brazil, the Port of Santos is seeing its container volume grow year-on-year and multiple stakeholders, including the port authority, state and national governments are keen to build on the port’s container portfolio.

Santos Port, along with many other Brazilian ports, is undergoing a large amount of privatisation as part of a new commercial approach by the federal government. A new container terminal is also being planned in the Saboó region.

Powering Optimisation with Digital Tools

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.

Container Terminal Automation Today

As I write this introduction PTI has recently concluded its Container Terminal Automation Conference (CTAC). During the four day online event speakers from across the industry explored how terminals are using the latest technologies to overcome a host of supply chain challenges.

In this edition of the Journal, we provide you with a review of the week and highlight some of the key topics that were discussed, including digital twin, standardisation and inland terminals. We also have a number of interviews with some of the top-level speakers from a number of the leading industry players including Hutchison and DP World. In addition, Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, Advisor to Chief Economist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), discusses how automation is a key driver of growth for ports and terminals, especially in Asia.

The overall feeling throughout CTAC 2021 was that despite the challenges presented to ports and terminals during the COVID-19 pandemic, most remained resilient. However, those with more advanced automation and digital processes weathered the storm more easily.
For instance, Nawaf Abdulla, CEO, DP World Limassol, told PTI the terminal operator’s increased focus on digitalisation centres on adapting to changing circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While digitalisation was already a big focus already for ports and terminals, in many cases this focus has been accelerated. Also, in this edition of the Journal, Kalmar talks about the need for container terminals to embrace standardisation and open interfaces.

Kalmar notes in its paper that in order to reap the full potential benefits of container terminal automation, a systemic, standardised approach is required.
Finally, Navis provides insight into an area that is becoming a growing focus within the supply chain – rail operations.

Johannes Leholm, Solutions Architect, Navis explains to readers five ways to modernise on-doc rail operations at container gateways as ports look to increase the size and scope of on-doc rail facilities.

With an increase in container traffic at many ports and terminals it is not sufficient to solely focus on investment in waterside infrastructure improvement. This rhetoric was also echoed at CTAC. If you missed out on the CTAC event you are able to catch up on the event in full on-demand by signing up at https://ctac.events/.

Creating a Resilient Supply chain

In this edition of the Journal, we look beyond the ports to explore the wider supply chain from intermodal terminals, to rail networks and port call optimisation solutions.

A developing trend is the focus on the supply chain as a whole, not just parts of it, with shippers and forwarders assessing how best to get value and reliability from the routes they choose.

The disruption to the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made many reconsider their approach as smooth sailing is no longer a guarantee.

In an interview for the Journal, Aymeric Chandavoine, Head of Logistics and Services, A.P. Moller-Maersk, noted that the threat of disruption has forced stakeholders to move away from single suppliers and to rethink their dependence on ‘just-in-time’ supply, where components are delivered to factories exactly when they are needed.

This will ultimately have a ripple effect throughout the supply chain with higher levels of inventory being kept in on place. Another element of the supply chain that is gaining increased momentum is the rail sector, regularly being touted as a more eco-friendly solution than truck cargo.

But, as we hear from HPC in their contribution to the Journal, there is a long way to go in order to digitalise and guarantee reliability in this sector, which is ultimately the key for customers.

A delay in any part of the supply chain impacts the entire operation, and solutions are being offered up to iron out inefficiencies. Infolayer discusses how its proprietary TerminalSENSE offering provides end-to-end terminal performance insights with rapid time to market advantage, enabling cross terminal operational transparency, performance improvement, cost optimisation and revenue/margin enhancement for the sector.

Additionally, PortXchange provides a review of its achievements in port call optimisation, another solution embarking on efficiency throughout the supply chain, as it looks to include more partners in its solution offering.

Finally, the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) provides insight from its members on how collaboration and working with the community can result in effective end-to-end supply chain solutions.

Dynamic Port Automation

Achieving full automation or a truly smart port is not as simple as flicking a switch and turning everything on. For a port it is a journey that will evolve over time and must take into consideration a multitude of variables and challenges. The journey many are exploring today is one of retrofitting existing equipment in order to enhance operations and drive efficiencies.

ZPMC, the world’s largest crane manufacturer, has said that the growth rate of automation retrofit projects is now exceeding the rate of new automation terminal projects.

Speaking to PTI for this edition of the Journal, the company said that more users have a desire to retrofit brownfield terminals. This of course requires less investment than the construction of a fully automated greenfield site, making it an attractive solution.

For many, it will come down to the return on investment: will the terminal be able to achieve the efficiencies necessary with semi automation, rather than going all out on full automation.

There is an argument that for some terminal operators it may be more useful to automate only parts of the terminal operations. Dr Rafiq Swash, Founder, AIDrivers points out in his article that for the automation providers they must ensure that their solutions are “easy to slot into existing brownfield terminals to render semi automation viable and attractive”.

Efficiency-driving technologies
Automation is not the only efficiency-driving technology our contributors have highlighted in this edition of the Journal. We also discuss the use of drones, how to reduce container handling downtime and container visibility across the supply chain.

Each solution strives to make the supply chain as seamless as possible and remove the problems that cause major inefficiencies. Regarding drones, Lorenz Technology highlights how a drone solution specifically designed for the port industry can help in the transition to the fully automated terminal.

Hyster discusses how to overcome container handling downtime, a costly event, by mitigating the threat of downtime before it happens.

Finally, Navis examines the supply chain from the ship to the intermodal terminal and how data exchange between the two could benefit the cargo owner in the future.

Ports Embark on Digital Transformations

Today’s ports find themselves at the centre of the digitalisation journey the global supply chain is currently on.

Industry members agree that the uptake of digital processes, automation and other efficiency driving technologies will certainly increase in the coming years because of the impact of COVID-19 on ports and terminals. This type of digitalisation enhances resiliency to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, according to a new report, we run the risk of creating a ‘two tiered’ system if some ports are left behind on the path towards digitalisation.

A divide has already appeared between ports who have digitalised, mainly in the northern hemisphere, and those who have not, typically those in the southern hemisphere, according to the report launched by the World Bank and International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) on 21 January.

COVID-19 has emphasised the risks ports face from technological inefficiencies, which are caused by lack of a high level of integration between devices, agents and activities at ports, the report authors suggest.

In this edition of the Journal, we explore some of the tools available to ports today to enhance their digital transformations including port call optimisation, digital twins and modern data analytics. Inform gives us part two of a three-part series on data, in which the authors discuss decisions behind democratisation and data. PTI also spoke to the Port of Marseille Fos, France, and the Port of Tanjung Pelapas, Malaysia, about their digital journeys.

Cause for Celebration

The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2021, having been founded on 15 June 2011. IPCSA will be submitting a series of articles in PTI’s 2021 Journals, beginning with insight from its own members on digital transformations.

Today IPCSA has nearly 50 members, including Port Community System (PCS) and Cargo Community System operators, Single Window operators, and Seaport and Airport Authorities, drawn from all regions of the world.

The pandemic has certainly not held back IPCSA – rather the reverse. In the past year, IPCSA has launched its Network of Trusted Networks (NoTN) a secure port-to-port and cross-border data exchange solutions to provide predictability, visibility and certainty within the supply chain, and developed and piloted a Blockchain Bill of Lading.

The association was also one of the leading signatories to the International Maritime Organization’s ‘Call to Action’ to accelerate the pace of digitalisation to cope with a post COVID-19 new normal.

With maritime transport carrying over 90% of global merchandise trade, totalling some 11 billion tons of cargo per year, digitalising the sector would bring wide-ranging economic benefits and contribute to a stronger, more sustainable recovery, the World Bank and IAPH point out in their report.

Spotlight on Sustainable Initiatives

Environmental concerns continue to top the list of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report in terms of likelihood and impact for the next decade.

The 2021 report states that the highest likelihood risks over the next ten years will be extreme weather, a failure to fight climate change and human-led environmental damage.

Within the report’s executive summary, the World Economic Forum says that a shift towards greener economies cannot be delayed until the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic subside.

From speaking to those involved in the ports and terminals industry, sustainability and decarbonisation goals have not been pushed aside because of the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.

However, as noted by Thomas Jelenić, Vice President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, in his article there may not be enough technology out there right now to meet all the targets demanded by various governmental stakeholders. Using California as an example, he notes that there are huge challenges to come with the transition to zero emissions equipment over the next 15 years.

This edition of the Journal explores how suppliers and ports are attempting to tackle climate change issues.

Alternative fuels are at the heart of a number of initiatives to drive down carbon emissions. The Port of Tyne in the UK describes its efforts to become an all-electric port through a vast electrification programme. However, our interview with the Port of Tyne highlights several challenges that are still present as ports strive towards climate neutrality.

Meanwhile, at the Port of Amsterdam the focus has been on developing green energies through shore-power. Hydrogen is also on the agenda, and the Port is part of a project focussed on building a value chain for hydrogen transportation.

On the side of the equipment suppliers, Kalmar explains how smart design and driveline choices can enhance the eco-efficiency of rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) crane fleets.

Looking at artificial intelligence (AI), AIDrivers proposes AI-enabled autonomous solutions as an option for delivering green initiatives. With the efficiencies associated with AI-enabled autonomy comes energy-savings.

With so many new technologies being implemented t is important to keep sight of the ongoing IT operations at both ports and terminals. Navis talks in its latest paper about how IT departments are now at the centre of success for terminal operations.

Finally, ABB discusses how ports can cope with the demands they are facing today with fully realised automation.

Smart Port Technology Prevails

Smart technologies, including wireless connectivity, artificial intelligence, automation and digitalisation in general have been hailed as strong solutions to some of the biggest issues of 2020 brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic interrupted supply chain flows and forced many to switch to remote working it was these smart solutions that came to the forefront as the answer to minimising disruption.

For those who have not already implemented automation the benefits of such a technology is now abundantly clear and many in the industry have commented that there is a strong shift in the demand for such solutions.

Speaking ahead of PTI’s Container Terminal Automation Conference (CTAC) in December 2020, Sun Fei, Automation Architect, ZPMC, said the pandemic had made the industry “better understand” the value of new technologies and that automated terminals had demonstrated their resiliency during 2020.
During CTAC Fei commented that ZPMC has seen its domestic orderbook double as Chinese ports step up their own automation projects amid rising confidence that the worst of the pandemic is over.

Through this final edition of the Journal for 2020 we explore optimising automated equipment fleets as Kalmar discusses how terminals adapt to a changing business landscape.

With all this automation being implemented we also consider how there will emerge a need for an intelligent centralised system to run and manage the daily operations across various port facilities.

PTI has also received an exclusive article from various authors, including those from the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), Hamburg Port Authority, Hapag-Lloyd and Kuhne+Nagel, about the concept of ‘lighthouse ports’ being digital pioneers and how they will now act as nodes of supply chain networks.
Our PortEconomics partners explain what has been happening regarding throughput at ports throughout the globe during 2020 with an overview and analysis of TEU volumes through the first nine months of what has been a challenging year for many.

Finally, Navis provides insight into why now is the perfect time for terminals to embrace software as a service (SaaS)-based terminal operating systems. The tide is changing and momentum is building for widespread adoption of the SaaS model.

Beyond the Mega-Ship Revolution

Mega-ships are not new to the container shipping industry however this year saw records broken with the largest vessels ever to take to the seas entering the global fleet.

The events of 2020 have not discouraged carriers from investing in mega-ships and many have been inaugurated throughout the year. South Korean container shipping line HMM completed its fleet of mega-ships with the unveiling of the 24,000 TEU HMM St Petersburg in September, with the HMM Algeciras first of the new Algeciras-class taking to the ocean in April. Meanwhile, CMA CGM launched the first of 26 new generation Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)-powered conatinerships, the CMA CGM Jacques Saade. The first nine of the fleet will have a capacity of 23,000 TEU, the rest of the LNG-powered vessels will be of various
sizes and join the fleet by 2022.

It was feared that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could quash carrier’s appetite for these larger vessels and while it may be the case that large orders are being put on hold temporarily, these 20,000+ TEU vessels will continue to be brought into the fleet well into the future.

In this edition of the Journal we explore why these mega-ships are so appealing to the container trade and the economic viability of vessels larger than those we see today.

With these vessels visiting ports the Journal also looks at the impact that such large volumes of containers arriving at once has on port operations and the infrastructural considerations ports must take to accept the biggest vessels.

In addition, Navis provides experienced insight into both berth planning and vessel planning and how predictive visibility can support expert users to make better decisions. Planning for the future with the use of data at container terminals is key to improving operations as well as managing costs.
Finally, Kuenz explores automated equipment and its use in the hinterland at intermodal terminals.

Next-Generation Terminal Technology

Port and container terminals’ primary job is to move containers from ship to port and beyond as they keep the supply chain moving. Growing demand has seen many ports experiencing a surge in container throughput with many having experienced record-breaking months, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

To stay up to date and ahead of the competition, ports across the globe are implementing digital solutions to ensure container handling operations are kept reliable. This includes tracking the movement of containers, digital documentation and inspection for damage.

In this edition of the Journal the Port of Antwerp provides an example of how it is turning to a digital solution for the release of containers, ultimately saving time in the movement of containers through the port.

Meanwhile, the Red Sea Gateway Terminal is using its long-term investment of $1.7 billion to upgrade container handling and yard infrastructure, among other things, as it looks to its TEU throughput growing to 8.8 million TEU.

The demand on ports has led to suppliers and vendors creating new solutions to enhance container handling operations. In this edition ScanTainr talks about the issues surrounding container damage as containers are moved multiple times throughout their journey and how AI can help identify damage in a more efficient way, reducing both financial and time costs.

The physical movement of containers is also a key consideration and EagleRail offers up its solution of a monorail track with electrified carriers to safely move containerised cargo.

At the very beginning of all these types of projects is an innovative idea, a new concept or a solution to a problem and the Port of Tyne is looking to generate such ideas through its innovation hub which celebrated its first anniversary in 2020.