Speeding Ahead: The Effect of E-Commerce on Terminal Operations

Barely an hour goes by without humans engaging in one or another form of e-commerce. It changed how we interact with banks, telecommunications, a plethora of service providers, and most importantly, how we buy things. Ours vision of e-commerce is embodied by a small pack age that travels fast at the touch of the checkout button in the e-commerce site.

The paper explores the effect that the demand from e-commerce is having on the supply chain and port terminal operators.

Value Creating Smart Ports: Exemplary Examples from Asia

Digitalization, innovation, technology – these are the buzzwords of the decade. This is because in a competitive and dynamic market, seaports must embrace digitalization, innovation, and technology in order to become smarter entities, that is, they must strive to be ‘smart ports’.

This wave of industry development inevitably affects many ports in various ways, including planning, infrastructure investment, operations, and customer service. With numerous off-the-shelf solutions and a wealth of current research and development efforts, port managers should always remember that the ultimate goal of being a smart port is to create higher values above all else. Asian ports, such as the ports of Busan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Singapore, all provide some exemplary examples of being smart for the benefit of value creation.

Shaping or being shaped? The potential white labeling of “Uber Port”

Digitization allows ports to easily identify, assess and leverage what is available in the port ecosystem through technologies such as dashboards and touchscreens. Cranes, containers, ships and trucks can now also be monitored and moved across ports and beyond from any place on the planet – provided these things are ‘smart’. Further, when data sharing is done at a nascent stage, it allows all parties involved to prepare for the arrival of vehicles and goods, which thereby increases efficiency and avoids disruptions. Perhaps most importantly, this method allows unfavorable events along the supply chain to be anticipated.

At present, most ports seem to prefer the granular optimization of specific activities. This means a limited data exchange as opposed to a holistic digital operation that would render the physical port a digital business within a broader digital economy. Some ports might even consider this optimization a way towards larger digital integration. For example, the Port of Rotterdam has launched PRONTO, an application that shipping companies, terminal operators and other port stakeholders can use to manage their tasks during a port call based on standardized data exchange.

PRONTO also links into the Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC) to exchange port call information, widening the data streams and creating much more accurate predictive analytics. In turn, Antwerp has invested in NxtPort, a data platform offering a range of port services around container weight data and customs information. So far, only Singapore has, with the launch of Calista, created an open supply chain platform that invites other ports and logistics service providers to join.

Testing the Ability of 5G to Reduce Complexity

The 5G Vertical Integrated Industry for Massive Automation (5G VIIMA) is a research project between Kalmar and Nokia which represents one of the first real-world applications of time-critical 5G applications in terminal automation. A 5G-ready private LTE test network supplements research and allows us to initiate live testing of many 5G features in a digital automation environment today. This paper explores Nokia and Kalmars progress thus far in making 5G a reality in ports and terminals


Since the creation of the first maritime container port in 1956, the container shipping industry has primarily grown through scaling operations in which we’ve transported more than we did in the past at a faster rate. The industry is seen as slow to embrace new technologies, but could now be on the precipice of some big advancements. We appear to be ready to implement digital technologies and tools to support the aggressive business plans that terminal operators are planning. The need to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and drive revenue throughout the entire ecosystem is driving the adoption of these new tools and technologies – all of which involve the data that resides inside this vast ecosystem.

Security for Ports of the Future

Shipping is one of the biggest transport means moving about 80%-90% of the world trade and that has experienced an increased demand from supply chain actors. In particular, the increasing world’s real GDP coupled with the globalization trend that aims to move manufacturing facilities abroad in low-cost countries, i.e. India, China and other developing countries, has had a strong impact on the growth of the shipping industry.

As experts in supply chain security claim, increasing flows of goods are attractive targets for criminal groups. The same can be said for the maritime sector, where intentional illicit actions against maritime vessels and port terminals have been increasing in the last few years. Attacks are perpetrated on a global scale and include theft, pilferage, armed robberies, smuggling, piracy, and so forth.

Containerized cargo is particularly targeted by criminals and results in theft or smuggling by simply breaking into containers while they are moved on vessels or stored at port terminals. Apart from theft, the shipping industry is also exposed to smuggling and therefore law enforcement agencies typically link maritime security to terrorism, drug smuggling, stowaways, human trafficking, and piracy.

Smart Shipping and the Supply Chain: Evolving with IoT Connectivity

Throughout the maritime industry, a digital transformation is underway, one that is reshaping smart shipping and the smart supply chain. On land, the adoption of machine-to-machine Internet of Things (IoT) data communications has made transportation smarter than ever, as logistics businesses have connected all containers and devices across a centralized cloud network and share mission-critical data for real-time visibility of their operations. On land, the result has been a focus on maximizing supply chain efficiency.

This same logistics transformation is beginning to happen at sea, as the maritime industry enters the era of smart shipping—namely, performance management and condition monitoring via digital technologies such as maritime IoT. Whether it is the vessel operators, ship managers, port personnel, equipment manufacturers, or the end customers, all are beginning to leverage connectivity as the key to unlock IoT for business efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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?


Much of the improvements in transportation and logistics since the onset
of containerization have involved physical infrastructures. Transport and logistics flows were occurring at a velocity slow enough that much of the inefficiencies related to transactions and compliance (e.g. customs) were not particularly apparent. The growth and diffusion of containerization on and larger containerships, coupled with a global network of container
terminals, were all drivers that increased the modal and particularly the intermodal velocity of freight. Coupled with trade liberalization and facilitation, signifi cant additional demands for shipping and logistics occurred, placing transactional and managerial pressures. It thus became apparent that the transactional dimension of freight distribution was taking a higher toll on its velocity in relation to the physical dimension.

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.