Smart Port Transformation In the Era Of Digitalisation

The maritime industry carries out approximately 90% of global trade, according to

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The maritime industry carries out approximately 90% of global trade, according to the World Bank, and it remains highly dependent on human manual operation of cranes and other cargo-handling gear. With the onset of COVID-19, lockdown and restrictions on final destination have delayed, discharged or rerouted enormous amounts of shipment, causing a ripple effect on the global supply chain. Meanwhile, domestic logistics networks have been disrupted which trigger container volume and waiting times for vessels to fluctuate rapidly. Unable to meet delivery commitments, cargo handling costs have skyrocketed. We can’t help but think about what could be the solution. With the aid of Industrial internet-of-things (IoT) technologies, algorithms, and blockchain technologies, smart port transformation could be the winning formula for future challenges of the shipping industry.

The 5G+ Smart Port

Various traditional industries have discovered the potential of the 5G internet to upgrade and optimize their business. The arrival of 5G has unlocked all the necessary means to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and information. Smart port embraces the ideas of digital transformation to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of port traffic by using centralized remote control systems. 

As the world’s largest container port, according to Ship Technology, the Port of Shanghai in 2019 has already processed 40 million containers with the new innovative application and handling capacity is up to 43.6 million TEUs. As the leader of smart port technology, it has established a set of 12 maritime standards as the basis of future Chinese smart port development. The Port of Shanghai has consolidated its position as the world’s greatest automated container terminal run by the 5.8 GHz LTE network technology and advanced wireless scheduling algorithms. According to Huawei, With its highest level of performance, it aims to reduce energy consumption by 70 per cent and build a zero-emission terminal in the near future. 

The “Smart Eyes”

With the intention to automatically collect all the relevant data to manage a terminal efficiently, smart sensors are the key to strive in the digitalisation of smart ports. Port authorities and terminal operators rely on the information provided by smart sensors to schedule and monitor the operation. Sensors are embedded in railways, bridges and roads to create an extensive data-based network. Emerging the movement data with algorithms, the system can instantly identify the traffic bottleneck and initiate an appropriate action to ensure peak efficiency. 

When it comes to higher productivity in an industry, it certainly means lower operating costs. Especially in a country where labour costs are expensive, the return on smart sensors investment is apparent within a short period of time. Take the example of the Port of Valencia in Spain, accordingly to Ship Technology, the operation costs shrank 10% after the installation of a sensor-based network on 200 cranes, trucks, and forklifts. By facilitating automated loading, dispatching and transporting goods, a reliable monitoring system can improve warehouse logistics and inventory management. Ultimately, it redefines the meaning of efficiency.

Mark a Milestone in Maritime History

The world-leading digital infrastructure fuels the development of port technology. Based on Report Linker’s forecast, by 2026, the smart port market is projected to reach USD 5.1 billion. In particular, Asia Pacific is witnessing predominant growth and becoming one of the fastest developed regions in the smart port market. In the era of digitalisation, enhancing port efficiency, minimizing environmental impact and strengthening capacity through massive-scale automation is what we are looking at.

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