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.