As the mindset of ports has changed over the past 12 months, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is looking to connect and partner with hubs across the globe at the upcoming Container Terminal Automation Conference (CTAC) 2021.
Speaking to PTI, Sridharan Narayanan, Global Head – Ports & Cargo SIG, TCS, said, “It is important for TCS to participate in this event to identify and build partnerships with vendors who have complementary ideas and innovations for the connected ecosystem.”
He also said that TCS wants to further understand the evolving expectations and needs of the industry and to align its product map accordingly.
TCS is keen to share its offering with the industry which include:
TCS DynaPORT – Terminal Operating System (TOS) for Planning, Optimizing, Recording, Monitoring, and Analysis of Depots, Marine, & Rail Terminal Operations with Integrated Invoicing Module.
TCS SWIM – TCS Software for Intelligent Messaging (SWIM) is an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for B2B Communication between Marine Terminals and the external trading partners.
TCS VBS – TCS Vehicle Booking System (VBS) is a terminal appointment system for trucks to pick-up and drop-off Containers / Cargo in the Marine terminals.
TCS DynaPORT Terminal Analytics – Business Analytics Solution to provide real-time insights into KPIs for strategic and tactical decision making to improve Port processes, assets, and resources.
The product line meets various industry challenges and will help regional terminals increase productivity and optimize operations. It will also assist operators manage different terminal operating solutions across their portfolio.
Other challenges identified by Narayanan include the lack of transparent and efficient, cost-effective solutions to handle Business to Business (B2B) Communication, such as communication with port authorities, customers, shipping lines, can help.
DynaPORT, Narayanan said, can offer small and medium sized terminals operating in multi-purpose environments to handle end-to-end operations and supports multi-modal operations.
Terminals react to supply chain disruption
Ports have recognised that they need to have a sustainable and resilient infrastructure to withstand disruptive situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Narayanan identified numerous ways terminals have reacted to events since early 2020 when pandemic began to impact the supply chain.
According to Narayanan, terminals have started investing in community collaboration platforms that enable real-time data exchange and better resource management, such as blockchain, and which make value chains more agile and responsive.
Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and 5G are also being leveraged for real-time monitoring or tracking of container and cargo status, cargo carrier location, equipment and personnel movements, and terminal traffic or congestion will provide an edge to deal with future disasters, Narayanan said.
“Terminals have also implemented hands-free or contactless operations using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and vision analytics, remotely or fully automated equipment using programmable logic controller (PLC)/equipment control system (ECS) and an ability to operate port or terminal remotely using networking and collaboration platform are key trends in the industry,” he said.
The pandemic has meant ports must consider a “mobile workforce” where apart from the on-ground activities remaining activities like documentation, planning, and control can be remotely managed with connected workforce.
AI in ports
Narayanan said that artificial intelligence (AI) has potential to play a big role in enhancing the intelligence of TOS and enabling terminals with decision making systems instead of decision support systems.
“Terminals often face complexities involved in management and governance to deal with multiple vendors to implement and integrate various enterprise system besides terminal operation system. Terminal operators are looking for single vendor who has expertise and solutions from their partner ecosystems catering to their strategic growth and transformation related to their ICT needs,” he said.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that has been partnering with many of the world’s largest businesses for over 50 years.
Narayanan highlighted, “TCS being one of the world’s Top IT System Integrator, TCS can be your single vendor to meet all IT and automation needs of ports and terminals such as Infrastructure (including cloud), Enterprise Solutions, Application Development and Maintenances Services, Blockchain, Analytics & Insights, IoT, AI etc.
“Ports & Cargo, a dedicated Strategic Initiative Group (SIG) of TCS, provides Terminal Operating System (TOS) and ancillary products and solutions for marine terminals, Intermodal Rail, Warehouses, and other allied players including Cargo Freight Stations (CFS) & Inland Container Depots (ICDs).”