By Jonas Constante
According to a recent report by the consulting firm Mckinsey & Co, across Europe as a whole, infrastructure congestion costs 1% of GDP. In 2013, globally, $400 billion a year could be saved by making more of existing infrastructure through improved demand management and maintenance.
The digitalization can create value for private and public stakeholders involved in the logistic port sector through various initiatives, among which we highlight: i) eGovernment and the creation of administrative single windows/one-stop shops; ii) the smart port logistics and its implementation through port community systems; iii) the intelligent transport systems oriented to interact and communicate with users and infrastructures; iv) the Internet of Things favoring the networking of sensors, identification and location through GPS, RFID, AIS, OCR, etc., and the subsequent use of the information generated.
For ports interested in develop this innovative solutions, two important benchmarks to follow are the initiatives that are being implemented in Santos and Hamburg.
In order to avoid queuing of trucks in city and road access to the port, especially during the peak runoff of agricultural crops, the Secretariat of Ports (SEP) of Brazil began in 2014 procedures for deploying Portolog, a smart port logistics system in the Port of Santos. Portolog aims to synchronise the arrival of ships and cargo in terminals, scheduling and accreditation of vehicles for rational use and use the full capacity of port access. Once deployed, the Portolog will be interconnected with the paperless port system and the VTMIS that enable the monitoring of vessels in the navigation channel and anchorage areas in the Port.
Based on the projected benefits derived from the reduction of trucks’ waiting times to access the port, transport time and cost taken to go from the origin to the port, of the trucks parking fees and the quantity of in a year, we estimated an annually savings in the total transport cost of around $200 million, a 10.27% of reduction in the transport cost. The positive externalities such as less CO2 emissions, reduction in accident’s rates, cargo thefts, etc were not included in the equation.
Another emblematic case was the solution that is being implemented by the Port Authority of Hamburg (HPA). As HPA says in its website, the smartPORT logistics aims are: managing and using the existing infrastructure in an efficient manner, reducing traffic-related emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, establishing an intelligent infrastructure and optimising the flow of information to manage trade flows efficiently.
Smart port technologies consists of elements such as Bluetooth, hotspots or WLAN, cloud computing, mobile end devices, Internet of Things and Big Data. An intermodal Port Traffic Centre will interlink the various modes of transport and make traffic flows for water, rail and road more efficient. This centre will process all traffic information collected in the Port of Hamburg and distribute it to the users. Transport users and decision makers will then be able to read the relevant traffic information in real time, enabling them to choose the fastest and most favourable mode of transport to get their goods to their final destination.
Data on the major traffic flows and their potential development will be captured automatically. Such data will then be processed and distributed to users. To achieve that, traffic detectors installed throughout the port will automatically capture traffic volumes at the strategically significant road sections of the port road network. The aim is to have all the available required information and data at the required time in the best-possible quality.
We can´t forget to mention the recent launch of the Internet of Things initiatives by shipping companies and logistics operators, but these two examples presented here shows how the whole port and shipping industry are moving towards a completely new innovative environment, that will put more pressure on the port competitiveness. IDC expects the Internet of Things market in Europe to expand with yearly growth rates over 20% in value between 2013 and 2020, with IoT revenues in the EU28 achieving more than €1,181 bn in 2020.
This article was contributed by Jonas Mendes Constante, a senior strategy consultant and Miguel Llop, director of information technology in the ValenciaPort Foundation, and first published in Port Strategy on 25 January 2015