Four ways to improve your container terminal productivity

Container terminals are critical knots in the worldwide supply network. At the same time, they are expensive, and resources such as geographical location, space, hinterland connection, and knowledgeable workforce are limited and must be managed wisely. That's why container terminal productivity plays such a vital role.

Areas of improvement are manifold and should be chosen where the impact is critical and offers a good ROI. Port automation of processes is technically feasible and eliminates costly human errors but should offer enough flexibility to handle exceptions.

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Drug Trafficking and Container Terminal Safety

Shipping and law-enforcement officials say they believe about a third of cocaine cargoes from South America are moved around the world on commercial ships. Ship and terminal operators are under pressure to deliver vast amounts of cargo on time, and the rule of thumb around the world is that only one in 10 containers gets checked.

This arms race between drug smugglers and container terminal operators continues. Drug smugglers can find opportunities to penetrate the security concepts successfully and conduct smuggling to the profitable markets of Europe and North America in high quantities. Law enforcement is unable to stop this and acknowledges that there is only one way to control the number of narcotics flooding the markets effectively: to make it complicated and costly for the cartels to operate their supply chain.

This is the first half of a series about narcotics, container terminal safety and countermeasures through port automation.

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Port Automation: What is operations planning?

Container terminals in seaports constitute essential connections between sea and land in the global supply chain. Consequently, these logistics facilities face an increasing demand for service capacity, as reflected by a tremendous growth in the worldwide container transshipments per year: 815.6 Mio TEUs of containers were handled in ports alone in 2020 (UNCTAD).

Container terminal reliability is the essential ingredient of a thriving port. But a terminal is faced with a complex set of variables that influence the outcome of everyday operation. Operational planning is a process that systematically takes all aspects of terminal assets into account and creates the most feasible and efficient plan to manage discharging and loading ships.

Narcotics, Container Terminal Safety and the Rise of Technology

When IDENTEC SOLUTIONS set out on the journey of bringing a traditional Position Detection System (PDS) to the market, we imagined the main motivating factors for purchasing would be keeping 100% yard stowage accuracy and the elimination of CHE operators' keystrokes.

Ports and liners remain targets for organized crime to use the shipping container to distribute contraband material, whether illegal drugs, weapons, counterfeit goods or sanctioned commodities.

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Port Automation: Improving terminal operations

Terminal Tracker is a crucial ingredient to create a semi-automated port. The objective is to improve container terminal operations to their full potential. Our video explains the principles, and the TTI Algeciras use case shows how things are done in reality.

In just ten years, TTI Algeciras became one of the Top10 performing container terminals worldwide. Their relentless focus on process optimization and a committed workforce helped them become a very successful player in the international shipping industry.

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How is semi-automation increasing productivity?

One-third of container terminal operators see port automation as a way to increase productivity by up to 50%. At the same time, about one fifth believe that automation could cut operational costs by more than 50%.

Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, and other continuous improvement methodologies embrace smart automation. However, not everything can be automated, nor should it be. The lean journey needs to be adopted, not just automation alone. As in other industries, excessive port automation means less flexibility within container terminals due to amortisation.

But less flexibility for operational planning, new scenarios that have to be previously planned, more difficulty to react when exceptions occur must be taken into account when expecting higher productivity. A semi-automated port is in the most cases the way to go.

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Unreported Container Damage: How to achieve fewer claims in Ports

The efficiency of terminal operations depends on whether supply and demand can be adequately planned and handled. A big part of this process is asset management and scheduling. It relays on accurate and up to date information on all your assets. This can be almost impossible if unscheduled breakdowns or damages get out of control.

Tracking unreported damages can be pretty challenging; reviewing, collecting, and analysing historical data from various sources is labour-intensive, time-consuming - and prone to errors. Often made impossible due to the lack of available and accurate data.

To investigate unreported damages, you need objective, rich data. With a solution like Terminal Tracker that interacts with your TOS, you bring port automation to a new level.

Port Automation: Planning day-to-day

Container terminals form a vital gateway in the transport chain for the shipment of cargo containers. To handle the enormous amount of throughput, the advancement of information technology has played a crucial role in automating processes and transferring data seamlessly between the shipping lines and the terminal operators.

The essential objective for a container terminal is to shorten the vessel port stay as the vessels are most profitable while at sea.

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Known Port Automation Challenges

The future of port automation is bright but challenging. Careful planning and implementation are necessary, based on proper process understanding, industry-wide standards, and the flexibility to adapt processes to customer demands. But what are the challenges to become an automated port?

Automation is an excellent recipe for improving the productivity of brownfield and greenfield container terminals. It is fair to say that semi-automation may hold some advantages against a full automated port in most scenarios. Operational flexibility is needed as you want to keep your processes open to changing customer demands.

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VW Autostadt Infographic

The Autostadt in Wolfsburg focuses on all aspects of mobility. The theme park and educational centre is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. The Autostadt is also the world's largest new car delivery centre and home to the multi-brand ZeitHaus car museum.

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The Challenges of Port Automation

Container port automation is the application of automated systems to manage the movement of containers within a port or terminal. By design, it improves efficiency and productivity by reducing the time and cost associated with manual handling processes.

After a brief introduction to the shipping industry's history of automation, this whitepaper discusses the potential benefits for container terminals, looks deeper into port processes and uncovers the potential of automation before showing real effects on ports based on use cases rather than models.

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PT TERMINAL PETIKEMAS SURABAYA

In 2015 Identec Solutions won their first Terminal Tracker project in Indonesia, which marked the beginning of a longstanding relationship with PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya (TPS) and local integrator PT Primus.

The main objective of the solution is to perform Position Detection (PDS) and reporting moves performed by the Container Handling Equipment  directly to the terminal operating system (TOS). The port automation solution removes the need for human interaction with the onboard display by automatically completing moves and ensuring an up to date and accurate yard inventory. This not only allows TPS to work more efficiently but also minimizes the risk associated with people working in the yard while delivering full visibility of the Terminals inventory.

TTI Algeciras

In 2020, TTI Algeciras was named one of the Top10 performing container terminals worldwide. This success story describes the motives, the project and the insights of implementing a core element to enable semi-automated terminal processes.