Ports can be technological leaders
Captain Kaustubh Dalvi, Jade Master Logistics’ Director of business management, looks at changes and challenges facing ports, and explains how technology, people, and processes can prepare the path to automation.
The major challenges ports face aren’t all in the physical environment. Yes, changes like deepening water channels, strengthening quay walls, and adding more sophisticated machinery to the yard are coming to a lot of ports. But what about conventional processes, technology and systems? They’ll be under pressure to perform, and stay secure, as the industry evolves.
Terminals have to be competitive, productive, and cost efficient. This balancing act is easier with the right technology. Systems that worked in the past won’t necessarily keep you competitive in the future. Quite simply, ports can’t afford to be left behind.
I believe that ports need to open up to emerging technologies and pay attention to innovative trends. Process automation is particularly important. It’s an area in which ports can team up with the right vendors and take a leading role, to the point where other industries look to ports as an example and follow suit.
Preparing for automation starts with people and processes.
Automation will be the norm one day, but for most ports there’s still a fair distance to travel. Over this period it’s important to know how much automation you can afford, where your port sits on the automation spectrum, and which technological changes are best to make now.
With full automation being beyond most ports, the question is how well you can get machines and humans working together. This can bring similar efficiencies as automation, only more quickly and with a lower price tag. It also helps your port make the more gradual move towards automation.
Two things to look at today, then, are people and processes. Strong processes on the ground pay off in the short term and help prepare the way for automation. And strong processes require skilled, qualified people to drive the technology.
Some things shouldn’t wait.
Of all the technological and procedural opportunities you could take, which ones are most important? Look for areas with the biggest room for improvement and where changes will have an immediate effect.
Traditionally, one weakness of ports is in exchanging information between stakeholders. Both within the port and throughout the extended supply chain, sharing data and information efficiently and securely is key to becoming more efficient. This is one area where the right procedures and system can make a big immediate difference. For a lot of ports it’s a good places to start.
What’s the right move for you?
This is a quick look at broad trends global trends, but different regions are under different pressure and every port operation is unique. There is no single recipe for efficiency or success.
At Jade Master Logistics we’ve helped ports all around the world become more efficient and competitive. We’re port people who understand the potential of port technology, and how to implement and run systems to bring genuine, fast benefits.