Reducing Cost and Maximising Safety: The Maritime Doman Awareness Information System

AIS message transmissions number in the tens of millions every single day. The Internet of Things, radar and vessel monitoring systems have hugely increased the amount of data to be processed, stored, analysed and distributed, but a secure cloud-based or hosted infrastructure can reduce the cost, commercial and operational load while increasing the value to the mariner.

Class A Automatic Information System (AIS) transponders are mandatory on all ships of over 300GT on international voyages – and have been for more than a decade. In addition, tens of thousands of Class B AIS systems and other devices operating in the AIS band are in use, including smartphones that carry AIS apps.

Numerous systems have been deployed on land and in space to collect AIS data, promoting the four key benefits of safety, security, protection of the environment and the reaping of economic advantages. So what is the next phase, and how do authorities large and small participate and take advantage of rapidly developing technologies and applications?

3D Printing: Disruptive Technology & Logistics

The days of conventional machining by means of dies, presses and hammers appear to be numbered with computer aided design (CAD) software, materials science and other technologies that 3D printing relies on becoming more advanced in recent years. Already a revolutionary practice for several industries, 3D printing (3DP) will prove to be a disruptive technology for logistics and how goods are transported across the world.

3% for 3DP by 2037

We expect 3DP to grow significantly over the next 20 years, potentially reaching about 3% of total global manufacturing. 3DP is less labour intensive than traditional manufacturing and could reduce reliance on lower-wage countries for product assembly, which is a key driver of the US-China bilateral trade imbalance.

In addition, as mass production via 3DP becomes more economically feasible, supply chains could be shortened with more manufacturing carried out locally. Net goods transportation may reduce as a result, negatively affecting transportation infrastructure’s revenue.

Pervasive, Industrial, Wireless: Evolving Terminal Operations

Private cellular wireless services are the key to unlocking the digital transformation of terminal operations. Today, the full-scale automation of berth and yard operations, including the deployment of automated stacking cranes (ASC) and automated horizontal transport, such as straddle carriers, as well as the use of drones, is being held back by the inadequacies of existing wireless systems. With the availability of new radio spectrum, there are now 4G/LTE solutions and soon-to-arrive 5G solutions that are designed for private wireless networks. With their arrival, full digital transformation is now possible.

Terminal operators worldwide are challenged to meet growing the volume of container traffic, which is threatening to double by 2050, yet many terminals are already running 24/7. Container vessels grow ever larger, while just-in-time supply chains demand even faster turnaround times. Facing competition from new, smaller ports, shifting sea routes and loss of traffic, operators need to increase productivity, add new services and reduce costs to compete.

Digital Twin and Capacity Planning: Next Generation Ports

As the scale and complexity of container ports operations grow, more sophisticated and accurate methods are required to derive precise planning for next generation ports. 

The researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are currently developing maritime digital twin systems to assist port operators in their decision-making on terminal capacity planning, as well as other maritime challenges. 

Ports in the New Manufacturing Landscape

The association between ports and manufacturing has constantly evolved through technological and economic changes. Prior to containerization, there were strong linkages between ports and heavy industrial activities, and indirectly with lighter forms of manufacturing.

Many ports were a combination of commercial and warehousing activities requiring a large amount of labour, while other ports focused on transshipping bulk commodities with the related heavy industrial activities.

Manufacturing activities are influenced in their locational choices by three main categories of factors with each activity having different considerations for ports.  

Eco-efficiency in Terminal Operations

Over the years, the cargo handling industry has made tremendous strides in developing the eco-efficiency of cargo and material handling through more efficient machines, optimization of cargo flows, as well as intelligent equipment and automation. The development has been driven by current megatrends such as urbanization and digitalization, as well as a growing concern for the environment.

The eco-efficiency of terminal operations encompasses three different angles, all of which are relevant for a container terminal. Firstly, various new solutions can shape the industry and minimize the environmental impact of terminal operations and equipment. Secondly, systems efficiency involves utilizing technology and data to enable more efficient operations. Finally, the concept of resource efficiency encompasses upgrades and refurbishments that extend equipment and fleet lifetimes.  

The Sky’s The Limit: Using Drones to Future-Proof the Seaport

Drones are transforming the way organizations operate across the world. While most are prevalent in the military and defense industry, seaports are climbing to the top of the list of industries in the commercial sector that can reap the benefits.

From container and cargo management through to data storage, logistics management, and national security, drones can be used across the entire supply chain. Some companies have already reimagined drones to take their benefits one step further. Maersk Tankers, for example, recently revealed it had completed its first drone delivery to a ship to test whether unmanned aerial vehicles can be used and implemented in its supply chain.

Seaport operators can also maximize their potential by taking advantage of small, lightweight drones. These aerial platforms can collect and transfer large amounts of information, work around a range of obstacles and operate days, or even weeks, over long distances. This, in turn, enables port terminals to achieve transformative productivity and efficiency gains.

Building Smart Ports: Through Many Small Steps

Smart ports is a topical theme in the maritime industry as ports, terminals, shipping and the logistics chain seek to understand and take advantages of technology to improve the productivity of all aspects of their businesses. As one of the world’s leading maritime consultancies, we‘ve seen momentum building and minds awaken to the gravity of what smart solutions can provide and how they can change our industry, as well as the world itself.  

The contemporary ports and terminals sector is a technology spectrum, we see highly automated terminals to extremely traditional ports with limited IT systems and manual/paper based processes. Yet all ports and terminals are operating within the context of the global trends of digitalization, electrification and automation whilst trying to achieve the required short-term return on investment. 

How Intelligent Data Systems Change the Way Companies Work

In 2016, Künz started designing the new Künz Information System (KIS), which is based on the Senseforce Software. The idea was that KIS would empower Künz in its strategy to become a data-driven company that utilizes the data generated by container handling cranes. All new generation cranes have multiple sensors and components, which constantly produce data, and with new technology, Künz was able to transfer the data to the cloud and from it into different departments using an intelligent analyzing tool.