Is the automating of port terminals the Holy Grail, or is a more delicate balance between people, process and technology wrapped in a layer of intelligence that elusive factor which will provide the next breakthrough in our industry?
Automation brings consistent levels of operation, increased safety and perennial levels of efficiency, yet it doesn’t offer much opportunity to exceed the designed output. How then do we blend components of automation, people, operational equipment and pervasive technology in order to consistently outperform norms that are achievable with full automation? There is a fine line between putting a terminal at a competitive advantage, or at a total disadvantage.
The challenge for terminal operators employing little-to-no automation is the lack of consistency in performance, and as a result, decreased customer satisfaction. These inconsistencies are largely a result of a deviation from standard operating procedures, unplanned outages and limited operator skill. Furthermore, because terminal operators compete with one another, it is difficult to benchmark performance indicators across the industry because the required information such as business models, long term strategic plans and cost structures are largely kept confidential.
Customers expect faster and more reliable services, full traceability of goods, online access to information and accurate billing information. They are also interested in the effort
terminals are making towards ‘greening’ their environment to ensure future sustainability while accommodating ever-increasing…
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