Students Shine in Hamburg-PEMA Student Challenge


Students from the University of Hamburg were crowned champions of the third PEMA Student Challenge, held by the PEMA on June 10, 2015 at TOC Europe 2015 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

As part of PEMA’s educational outreach, the student challenge provides a fun and lively way to expose students to the real business of the ports and terminal world, and to bring university programmes and student talent to the attention of the ports business community.

Finalist teams from the University of Hamburg, the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) and Blekinge Institute of Technology from Sweden each gave a 30-minute presentation on this year’s theme – ‘The Impact and Mitigation of Berth Error’ – to a judging panel of industry experts.

Participants in this year’s student challenge were asked to address two fundamental topics in their presentations: the impact of berth error on performance, and the operational steps which can be taken to mitigate their impact on a fixed facility without penalising other operations.

Variables to be considered by students included berth length, crane assignment, yard type and vessel arrival time error.

This year’s judging panel included Lyes Chebrek, General Manager of Design and Operations at APM Terminals, Yvo Saanen, Managing Director/CTO at TBA, Arwin Stehouwer, and Senior Business Manager Containers for Port of Rotterdam.

Submissions from each university were judged on their understanding of real-world issues caused by, and flowing from, berth error; the robustness of techniques to calculate berth error impact; and the ingenuity of their approaches to impact mitigation.

The team – Mats Hansen, Julia Kasch, Nils Schröder and Philippe Tiede – supervised by Dr. Robert Stahlbock and Eduardo Aníbal Lalla Ruiz, are MsC students studying under Professor Dr. Stephen Voss at Hamburg University’s Institute of Information Systems, HBS Hamburger Business School.

They were awarded a cheque for more than US$1100 and will have the opportunity to give their presentation again, this time at APM Terminals’ headquarters in The Hague.

Tom Ward, Student Challenge judge said: “For our industry to prosper, we need to engage the creativity and energy of smart young people. The PEMA Student Challenge is an important tool for the academic engagement we need.

“The thoroughness and thoughtfulness of this year’s submissions shows that we can energise our young professionals to join in improving port operations for all.”

Ottonel Popesco, President of PEMA, and Mike Dempsey, Chairman of the Special Events and Education Committee, said: “Great technical education and research are critical for the future success of our industry and our goal at PEMA is to foster strong relations between the academic and business worlds so that both can thrive.”

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