The Port of Tanger Med will use its latest technological upgrades to maintain its position as the most advanced container hub in Africa and improve continent-wide supply chains.
In April 2021, the Port signed an agreement with Wartsila to launch a new Port Management Information System (PMIS) as part of a wider push to accelerate maritime digitalisation.
Speaking to PTI, Khalid Samir, Harbourmaster for Ports and Maritime Calls, Port of Tanger Med, said it has already established itself as a model for regional collaboration and acts as a “major logistics hub for connectivity and trade facilitation”.
Samir explained that the new PMIS will allow for “better management of terminal resources” and a “strong improvement in terminal performance indicators”, such as reducing idling times.
Improved processes will enable the Port to accelerate initiatives launched as part of the ‘African Port Task Force’, a coalition of more than 30 African port authorities that allows for strategic coordination between gateways and stakeholders, such as the sharing of vital data.
According to Samir, port management systems and port call optimisation software are “of deep interest to the African port community” and that integration between ports and land corridors are among the biggest logistical challenges in Africa.
“This strong commitment of Tanger Med in terms of port call optimisation and digitisation of port processes will allow the Port and the container terminals to achieve their productivity objectives.”
Additionally, Samir claimed the PMIS will analyse a “myriad of constraints”, such as pilot shifts and weather conditions. One of the goals of the PMIS is to allow the Port to optimise its nautical resources and anticipate eventual future congestion”.
Cutting congestion and carbon
How to alleviate and avoid congestion has become one of the biggest objectives of ports and terminals due to the surge in traffic in some areas and the obstruction of the Suez Canal, particularly at the world’s busiest hubs.
Tanger Med is regularly visited by vessels from the major container shipping alliances and its “connectivity and infrastructure” have made it the most important transhipment hub in the region.
To maintain its status, the Port has planned a number of other investments to “improve business processes” and the PMIS will help improve Just-in-Time (JIT) shipping and greater operational accuracy.
The Port chose to develop its new PMIS with Wartsila after an international tender process and the two parties will also work together to develop a new vessel traffic service (VTS).
The PMIS and VTS will be based on “the latest smart port innovative technologies”, said Ridouan Boulaich, IT Director, Port of Tanger Med.
“This partnership aims to reinforce the ambition of Tanger Med to become a reference smart port incorporating latest and state of the art technology,” he said.
Port digitalisation has become a major talking point across the industry and has accelerated with the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deployment of container ships what can carry up to 23,000 TEU.
Boulaich described systems such as the PMIS as “indispensable to the competitiveness of ports” as they make communication and decision-making easier through improved visibility, reliability and security “under various conditions”.
“Innovative developments support port performances by strengthening level of productivity and traffic handled,” he said.
“It reduces shipping and trucking costs, improves on-time delivery of goods and services, increase trade volume, and enhance organisational logistics capability.”
He said the Port is “fully committed” to digitalising its operational processes and that the new PMIS will make its day-to-day activities more efficient as it will automate workflows and enable better data sharing with stakeholders.
“The PMIS plays a central role in our port management and operations,” Boulaich explained.
“It enables operators to manage the processes for the ship’s arrival and departure, supervise traffic within the port basin, and interact with different players, such as terminals, liners and port authorities for the sharing of data.
“Providing value-added information services and analytics is increasingly important for Tanger Med, to maintain a competitive edge, to fulfill regulatory requirements and to enhance port logistics performance.”