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SECTOR REPORTS OCEAN PORTS & CARRIERS

BY LARA L. SOWINSKI

AUTOMATION

ADVANCES AT SEAPORTS P

The paperintensive port environment is yielding to software and technology that promises to streamline the movement of cargo and information.

With the help of IBM technologies, the Port of Rotterdam is positioned to become the world’s smartest connected port.

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ort automation can be a sensitive topic in some circles. The advent of robotics and automated terminal equipment is undoubtedly impacting longshoremen and highly coveted union jobs, yet in order to stay competitive and efficient, major container ports around the world, especially those in the United States, are compelled to continue the embrace of automation. “Our world is moving rapidly toward an autonomous, automated and transparent future of global logistics. This is a world in which cars, road trucks and container vessels operate autonomously and smoothly together, containers and other types of cargo are handled in a highly efficient manner, and fully automated terminals adopt modern tools and technologies that attract skilled workers,” wrote Jari Hamalainen, director of terminal automation for Kalmar, a leading manufacturer of cargo handling solutions, in a recent blog. While automated terminals and self-driving cars have gotten a lot of

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attention these past few years, they are only one aspect of the logistics chain of the future, he says. “In this vision, a transparent information flow extends throughout the cargo handling and global supply chain all the way from producer to consumer. Openness and transparency pave the way for new competitors and partners, many of which will own or operate no physical assets. This enables highly optimized cargo handling operations in which logistics companies sell business performance and sustainability instead of mere transportation of goods,” explains Hamalainen, who adds that the “most intelligent solutions” will be the “winners.” The benefits of an open and transparent supply chain not only enhance the marine shipping environment, but also extend to other players in the global supply chain as well as to the end consumer. “When we start to enable fully digital, transparent end-to-end transactions, we will be able to

connect factories, assembly lines, cargo brokers, forwarders, trucks, cargo vessels, trains and warehouses into one continuous digital supply chain,” he notes. “It may be an autonomous vehicle that finally delivers your new sneakers to your home, but the real magic will be in everything that has happened to that point to make it possible.”

Digital Initiatives Underway at Key Ports The Port of Rotterdam announced a digital transformation initiative with IBM earlier this year. While self-driving cars and trucks are in the spotlight today, the port aims to make waves by hosting autonomous ships by 2025. According to Vincent Campfens, a business consultant for IoT and smart infrastructure at the Port of Rotterdam, to prepare for this reality, “we are actively enhancing our entire 42-kilometer port area, from the City of Rotterdam all the way to the North Sea, with IBM Internet of Things technologies and IBM Cloud,” which will position the port to become “the world’s smartest connected port,” he says. One of the first steps is to use IBM’s IoT in order to “create a digital twin of the port—an exact digital replica of our operations that will mirror all resources at the Port of Rotterdam, tracking ship movements, infrastructure, weather, geographical and water depth data with 100 percent accuracy,” says Campfens. “This part of our digitization initiative will help us test out scenarios and better understand how we can improve efficiencies across our operations, while maintaining strict safety standards.” www.foodlogistics.com

8/2/18 10:42 AM

Profile for Supply+Demand Chain/Food Logistics

Food Logistics August 2018  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...

Food Logistics August 2018  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...