Evolving business models the flavour of the week across international ports


Ports and supply chain stakeholders across the world are transforming the way they work in a bid to supplant evolving demands from its customers.

It was announced this week that the ports of India will receive a massive $82 billion into its port projects by 2035, placing digitalisation and innovation at its very centre.

The call for India’s supply chain to digitalise reverberated around players during the India Maritime Summit this week: no more so than from Pawan Agarwal, Special Secretary to the Government of India (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The Indian government official highlighted that India is making major investments to its supply chain infrastructure, bringing together all stakeholders including ministries, terminal operators, shippers, exports to develop “a coherent approach to addressing issues of logistics”.

“How do we create an infrastructure in the future that addresses the first mile and last mile issues that takes into consideration the important nodes, the ports and terminals?” he asked. “We need to ensure this infrastructure is interconnected and seamless.”

Global maritime digitalisation received a major boost this week following the announcement of an industry breakthrough for the co-creation of a global digital ISO standard for data exchange.

The ISO standard making data exchange compatible and interoperable, will benefit with granular and real-time information on scheduled port calls from the shipping sector.

Vessels will more easily able to be able to communicate using Application Programming Interfaces (API) with ports on shipping schedules, cargo holds, and delays and cancellations.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven said the progress on digitalisation in the last nine months “has been significant”.

Expansions worldwide

The decision to invest $455 million in upgrading the Terminal Cuenca del Plata (TCP) at the Port of Montevideo is the biggest investment ever made at the Uruguayan port, and is one of many expansion efforts announced this week.

Logistics company Katoen Natie will be building a new 22-hectare terminal yard at the major port, adding capacity to the port to handle four container ships simultaneously, processing 2.5 million TEU every year.

CEO of TCP Vincent Vandecauter said TCP will become “an indispensable link” in Latin America, increasing the Port’s attractiveness for Uruguayan supply chain members.

Further east, the Port of Santos has received approval by the Brazilian Navy to receive vessels of 366m in length: projecting a boost of up to 7.9 million TEU by 2040. The Santos port complex takes in almost 30% of the national trade and is preparing for further growth in container traffic from expansions in new areas in Saboó.

In North America, the Port of Montreal Authority’s intriguing new container terminal near Contrecoeur has been approved.

Located in the main pool of consumers and importers in Quebec and Eastern Canada, close to major rail and road routes, the Port of Montreal’s Contreoeur expansion will consolidate local strengths to effectively meet future needs.

The Freeport future?

A fascinating development will be the progress of British ports following the announcement of eight Freeport zones around the UK.

Ports and their surrounding communities could evolve massively due to the benefits of reduced or cut tariffs on imports.

Players in the winning ports, such as Thames (including London Gateway Port and the Port of Tilbury), will be seeking external investment in port facilities, and collaborating with surrounding companies such as Ford and Nissan, to build innovation and add another revenue stream to its business model.

PD Ports, operator and owner of Teesport and winner of Freeport status to Tees Valley, said Freeport status “marks the new beginning of a new chapter” in Tees Valley’s renaissance.

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