CTAC 2021: DP World Limassol’s resilience through digitalisation

Aerial view of cruise ship arriving at Limassol port

DP World’s continued success throughout 2020 and 2021 has been the result of the company’s continued forward-planning in digitalisation investments.

DP World Limassol, the multipurpose Cyprus port, is no different.

The terminal operator is in the process of implementing the modern cloud-based Zodiac TOS at the port.

Zodiac is already in full operation on conventional cargo and ro-ro operations, and DP World Limassol is now in the final testing of its container module, with the final module – cruise vessels – due to be integrated into the TOS by the end of 2021.

Nawaf Abdulla, CEO, DP World Limassol, told PTI the terminal operator’s investment in the upgrade TOS will benefit the port community through the removal of laborious and slow-moving manual processes.

Abdulla said the TOS removes the burdens of cargo manifest being sent through Excel sheets, and removes paper-based crane logs and tally sheets, for example.

“That is all being now done on the tablet where you are connected in real time to the system,” Abdulla said.

The result for port actors is a dynamic and real-time presentation of their cargo movements as it is processed through DP World. Clients have automatic notification of release of cargo, as well as seamless integration with customs and ports charges.

Abdulla added that port agents are also able to capture through the tablet’s imagery of any damages to vessels or port infrastructure, giving users an all-encompassing service when accessing the port.

“What does this mean for the community? The community will be able to immediately have a report of all cargoes being discharged and loaded. It has allowed us to move things faster and quicker,” Abdulla explained.

Nawaf Abdulla will be a keynote speaker at PTI’s Container Terminal Automation Conference 2021. Click here to register!

A handheld future

Smartphones and handheld devices are allowing ports to manage daily yard operations more effortlessly. APMT Barcelona’s 5G smartphone rollout for its safety pilot is another example of ports harnessing handheld.

Abdulla said handheld devices for port operatives is a key objective for DP World going forward. “It is a goal. It is an objective. It is an easy way to manage our businesses,” he said.

On the back-end of staff operations, every DP World employee is equipped with an app to allow them to remotely clock-in anywhere in the terminal and receive their timesheets, reducing kiosk queue-ups and allowing the port to continue social distancing rules.

Moving forward, Abdulla said DP World will continue to explore the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to move away from manual transactions.

“The future is purely: how can we do things faster? How can we do things smarter? Can we do it through the apps? Can you do it through the tablets That’s exactly where we are going,” he said.

Understanding your terminal

Abdulla said DP World Limassol has circled the company’s integration with blockchain-based digital container logistics platform TradeLens as an area of focus in the year ahead.

The terminal is currently undergoing scenario-testing of implementing blockchain into its TOS to better secure and improve efficiencies of its cargo processes, and will be fully operational by around 2025, Abdulla said.

Abdulla emphasized however that the terminal’s investment in emerging technologies is based on understanding the current infrastructure and demands of port actors on the ground.

“[Investments] are related to how developed our infrastructure is on the ground,” Abdulla said. He said that ports could go to the “maximum level of digitalisation,” but may still be dragged down by a community or stakeholder who is still requiring signature for paper, or the release the documentations notifying of dispatch.

“There are similar challenges in the future, so that’s why for me it’s a collaborative effort that everybody has to put in, in order to become a more successful business environment,” he said.

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