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Automation ‘Standards’: the search for perfection

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Author(s): Dr Oscar Pernia, Senior Director of Product Strategy; and Elisa Rouhiainen, Director: Partner Programs, Navis, California, USA

The implementation of equipment and process automation has been an increasingly important topic in container terminal operations and there are important initiatives driving the market demand to concentrate on automation standardisation. With more and more automated container terminals being implemented, there is an opportunity to standardise the solutions and learn from each other.

The paper seeks to address what the current environment looks like for implementing automation at terminals, the keys to enabling a more professional and agile approach toward system integration, and the main areas that terminals need to focus on for a consistent and repeatable automation implementation in the future


An automated terminal operation requires many different hardware and software systems to satisfy various business needs; complexity is a natural outcome. The necessary technical integration is complex and impacts equipment, systems and people. Typical projects have more than 35 interfaces that connect different software systems and pieces of equipment. In addition, automation requires time to develop the designs and concepts that need to be well defined up front and flexible enough for iterative development and tuning.

Navis terminal operating system integration with third party technologies has proven to be critical to meet go-live operational readiness. The number and variety of components involved in automation has created significant challenges to deploying a complete and integrated solution. Some of these challenges include…

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