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(Interview) Andy Barrons on Collaboration

Vice President of Navis Andy Barrons has told PTI that collaboration is the key theme at Navis World 2015, echoing the sentiments expressed across the event which has seen port executives, big company names and technical specialists meet in one dynamic space.

Collaboration has been used in binary terms during the conference; as a call for better communication between ports and carriers, and a more harmonious relationship between port staff and their IT-based programs. 

Outlining the key objectives of Navis World Barrons commented: “Going back to 1996 at the very first event, the goal was uniting people, technology and ideas. That really is the core goal still: bringing together all the terminal operators, and with one another talking about the solutions for the industry.

“You don’t really get that in other events, that level of concentration.”

Barrons has a strong point. One feature of many industry events is the ubiquity of big company brands jostling for prominence, however Navis World has pulled off a trick in giving actual terminal operators as key a role, if not a more prominent role, than the big name companies. This has injected the event with an open, welcoming and practical dynamic in which ideas can be nurtured, discussed and circulated rapidly amongst the attendees.

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Another key theme which is at the core of contemporary automated terminal planning is evolution. In a changing world and a lively, often unpredictable market, port operators are finding they cannot rest on their laurels. Today’s answer is almost never tomorrow’s; Barrons comments: “I read in the media about revolution and evolution.

“I read the comments from Soren Skou [Maersk Line’s CEO] really challenging the terminal industry on how you’re going to develop the next level of efficiency and talking about Fastnet. That’s a revolutionary idea. But I think automation is a mix of evolution and revolution.

If we look at cranes and crane cycle time, there’s evolution there, with dual cycles which can dramatically increase productivity. There’s evolution in optimisation. We’ll move from optimising parts of the container terminal to optimising holistically.

“The other element is people and using data to monitor every business process. These are evolutionary steps that don’t cost billions of dollars. This is a natural evolution.”

Barrons also made special reference to the Navis World opening speech from Ron Widdows, who has the rare capacity to speak from the point of view of liners and terminal operators, having held top roles in both sectors. Barrons also gave a nod to George Kohlreiser, who argued that people, coaching and how one guides one's own practices are as important, if not more important than the more ostensible business strategies which conventional wisdom states is the key area in optimising productivity.

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