Thursday, January 14, 2016

Increased Freight Levels Mean Ports and Cargo Terminals Need More Automation

Fifth Annual Report Indicates the Willingness of Sector to Update
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Manufacturing marine fenders might not always seem the most inspirational part of the freight and logistics sector but it always prompts manufacturer Trelleborg into studying trends and advances around the globe in the field of port management. True to form the Swedish headquartered firm, which actually involves itself in a wide variety of industries, has produced its fifth annual Barometer Report reviewing the impacting ports and cargo terminals around the globe.

This latest document reveals that more than 40% of the port owners and operators surveyed have experienced an increase in freight throughput since the last survey and the hot topic for Trelleborg this year is the rise of automated systems within the industry. In 2013 the report recorded that the market was lagging behind the technology available but this year only 7% of those surveyed said they didn’t utilise any automated systems with regard to traffic management. Last year the figure was 19% for those who relied purely on human or manual guidance at their facilities. Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation observed:

“To accommodate the higher levels of throughput, demanded by larger ships carrying more cargo, ports should look increasingly towards automated technologies. Automated technology has a significant role to play in delivering greater operational efficiency, reducing unit costs by helping to process cargo more quickly and more consistently. This principle and drive for efficient turnaround should extend to the jetty side too. There is a vast opportunity to reduce human error and refine scheduling as vessels come in to port, berth and are dispatched.

“While the wider transport and logistics sector is relatively advanced in its grasp and use of ‘smart’ technology, the ‘Internet of Things’ mentality is not necessarily translating quickly within ports and terminals. The more rapidly we take a smarter approach to connecting equipment, the quicker we can collect and analyse data from it, and the sooner we’ll improve efficiency.”

The report therefore concludes that the increase in the use of automated systems indicates that, given the opportunity, the vast majority of those employed in the industry are open to new technologies, showing a willingness to adapt and improve. The latest Barometer Report can be downloaded here.