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Smart Port Conference: AKQUINET and Industry Experts on Port and Terminal Automation

Presentation on approaches to implementing smart port solutions

Industry experts joined international vendors of port logistics systems in a high-profile panel and discussed the latest developments in IT-supported process management.


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The Smart Port International Conference, organized by the PMO (Ports & Maritime Organization), was held in Tehran on February 27. Industry experts joined international vendors of port logistics systems in a high-profile panel and discussed the latest developments in IT-supported process management. Alongside presentations on planning and systematically implementing smart port concepts, the Hamburg-based IT and port specialist akquinet demonstrated approaches for automating port processes and optimizing container ports using terminal virtualization.

"The global sea transportation industry is growing by 3% annually. With its 5800 km of coastline and 210 million tonnes of commercial ports capacity, Iran needs and wants to become a competitive hub in global trade. Aiming for productivity and cost reduction in maritime transport and port logistics, PMO now takes a leap towards innovative Smart Port concepts. Iranian port operations so far have maintained customized IT solutions such as the Container Control System (CCS), the General Cargo Operation Management System (GCOMS), and the Integrated Maritime Affairs System (IMAS). In order to ease the flow of information through the entire of ports, we are going to implement IoT as our first step towards a Smart Ports solution. The PMO aims to do these steps at a tremendous pace," said Mohammad Rastaad, PMO Managing Director, about the current state of Iran's port logistics. To take the first step, the PMO invited a committee of international experts to Tehran. Norbert Klettner is Managing Director at akquinet and an expert in implementing smart port solutions and processes, as well as for TOS (terminal operating systems) and port community systems for port logistics. During his presentation at the Smart Port Conference, which generated a lot of media attention, he emphasized that the ideal implementation cannot be approached as a one-dimensional undertaking. There is not simply one major smart port project; each one is comprised of strategy, objectifying process analytics, and a graduated plan. Carrying out such projects involves both strategic planning and physical processes that can be measured based on KPIs. These workflows have to be linked and automated as much as possible, to enable predictive planning of regular operations.

The essential steps for implementing smart port solutions include the following:

1. Transparent exchange of information between all process-relevant parties at the port facilities (PCS - port community system/port telematics)
2. Automation of operations and planning processes (such as container handling, monitoring of refrigerated containers, TOS-supported planning processes)
3. Integration of all terminals at the port using a slot booking system and other approaches
4. Active control of inbound deliveries and further transport based on demand, capacities, and traffic data.

Port and terminal operators around the world already use software-based virtualization to optimize terminal workflows. AKQUINET's software partner ISL Applications GmbH offers the CHESSCON Suite, for example, which makes it possible to simulate the entire life cycle of a terminal. With terminal design featuring 3D models, forecasts of handling capacity, simulation of new layouts and equipment, and even support for everyday operations, CHESSCON simplifies strategic planning and workflow optimization. The main feature of the application is a virtual container terminal that makes it possible to make changes to the terminal live without interrupting operations. The productivity of a terminal is determined largely by the use of equipment, the TOS, and the physical workflows. These four major factors can be optimized virtually in a variety of scenarios. The simulations can also be used to improve employees' knowledge of the application. The different modules can be applied specifically to improve workflows in terminals of all sizes, which cuts costs and improves productivity. CHESSCON offers a pragmatic solution for improving berth planning processes for smaller terminals and inland ports in particular.

Are you interested in an exchange with Norbert Klettner on the subject of port logistics systems?
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