Technology and commercial aspects of container terminal management using Solvo.TOS

Authorship

Solvo, Saint Petersburg, Russia

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System design and development

Solvo has operated on the logistics automation market since 1999. One of its first projects was to develop a real-time management system for container terminals. The solution was called Solvo. CTMS (standing for container terminal management system). This system has been specially designed to automate technology processes and handle container operations at terminals. Thus far, Solvo has successfully completed more than a dozen deployments for Solvo.CTMS at container terminals in Russia, Ukraine and Estonia.

In previous versions of Solvo.CTMS, different document management tasks, such as contract processing, job orders, EDIFACT messaging, intermodal shipment and government relations, were done using third-party host systems. To do these tasks, Solvo.CTMS had to be integrated with third-party host system XML-file exchange mechanisms. In mid-2000, Solvo.CTMS successfully developed as a software product and acquired a wider customer base. However, most of the users lacked their own reliable host system. So it was obvious that Solvo.CTMS needed a dedicated functionality to manage contracting party relations, along with other technological aspects.

To this end, Solvo started to develop the Solvo.DMS document management system in 2005. This system has been designed to be a tool for planning and report generation. The combination of Solvo.DMS and Solvo.CTMS is a comprehensive suite to handle all tasks related to terminal management. Further on, after three successive projects to introduce Solvo.CTMS and Solvo.DMS at different terminals, an integrated terminal management system called Solvo.TOS was created.

Unlike its Western competitors, the main distinguishing feature of Solvo.TOS is that it integrates all terminal operating functions, while Solvo.DMS is an additional system to perform document management functions. Consolidated information generated by both systems makes it possible to easily manage and streamline the operations of such an elaborate and large-scale business as a container terminal.

To manage their operations, many terminals try to develop a proprietary system to handle the information flows running between contracting parties. Despite a seeming simplicity in using staff programmers to build up the needed software, this way of solving the problem frequently ends up being very costly, because the resulting system will inevitably require constant efforts and additional costs to maintain and update regularly.

In fact, business processes and documentation management techniques are generally standardized at container terminals, even though specific requirements may vary. The Solvo.TOS container terminal management system will meet the general needs of any terminal, while the terminal’s specific needs can be easily addressed by customizing the system during the system deployment process.

As a result of this modularity, before choosing the Solvo.TOS management system, terminal owners can make an accurate and efficient assessment of not only the required amount of investments but also the time costs that are needed to automate their terminal.

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