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SURVEY: RISK MANAGEMENT CONCERNS RISE AT PORTS AROUND THE WORLD

risk management

SURVEY: RISK MANAGEMENT CONCERNS RISE AT PORTS AROUND THE WORLD

The deadly spread of COVID-19, and the economic and trade disruption the pandemic has caused, is prompting port managers to examine new ways to improve risk management and digital processes.

Those are the conclusions in the latest biennial global ports survey conducted by Remy InfoSource, which was established in 2001 in the Netherlands to provide artificial intelligence diagnostic solutions to the high-tech and transportation industries. The lifecycle contract management specialist is now based on Australia.

The “2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey” was undertaken during the height of worldwide economic lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020 and on behalf of iSpec, the world’s leading web and mobile-based software procurement solution for buyers of capital intensive outsourced projects such as ports.

The survey revealed that 51 percent of port executive respondents now identify risk management as the key area they would like to improve on in the future, up from 32 percent in the previous iteration of the iSpec Ports Industry Survey in 2018. That year, the top two areas for improvements noted by ports and terminal executives were shorter lead times and more standardization.

“I think it’s no surprise that in such an uncertain world the importance of risk management has increased dramatically,” says Pieter Boshoff, CEO of Remy InfoSource. “Disruption to supply chains has increased across the globe causing operational and investment uncertainty and, with social distancing rules, also changing the way we all conduct our business.

“Managing that risk has become a major challenge at ports, particularly when it comes to managing outsourced equipment tender and procurement projects that are often complex in nature and frequently involve multiple vendors.”

Port operators represented 71 percent of the respondents to the 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey, up from 58 percent in 2018. More than two thirds of respondents are responsible for the procurement of quay cranes, reach stackers and trailers.

Asked how the COVID-19 lockdown had affected the way ports were conducting business, 41 percent of global respondents said the pandemic had required a shift to more digital collaboration, 49 percent said more projects were now on hold, and 62 percent said they were now working from home more often.

The 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey also found that “quality” has become the leading reason for customer/supplier disputes. In the 2018 survey, “delays” was cited most often as the cause of customer/supplier disputes.

“No matter what the business, the spread of coronavirus has forced executives to find new ways of conducting business and for the most part this means turning to digital solutions,” Boshoff explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is a trend that will accelerate in the future. It is becoming abundantly clear that for many businesses there are benefits and efficiencies in the new online and outsourced methods they have developed during the pandemic. I think many of the work processes adopted during lockdowns, particularly around communication, will outlast the coronavirus crisis and become part of our normal way of working.”

ports

Ports Must Consider Pros and Cons Before Automation Implementation

Ports across the globe have been slow to embrace digital technologies in comparison to other supply chain industries. Most container ports still rely heavily on manually operating massive container yards, which presents several challenges, especially in large ports.

The biggest port in the U.S., the Port of Los Angeles, handled 5,039,363 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2018 alone, for example. In ports of this size, finding a specific container would be a considerable challenge without technology.

Certainly, many obstacles faced by ports can be overcome with the introduction of technology. People, equipment, infrastructure and other critical assets can all be connected across the ports using Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as sensors and digital radios. This would not only improve productivity but also reduce operational costs in the future.

With a significant number of potential benefits, many may wonder why port operators are hesitant to embrace the Industrial IoT (IIoT). This is because many port operators focus on the cons of port automation as opposed to the long-term benefits of automating their key processes.

Emergence of the IIoT and Its Benefits

Industries across all sectors have taken advantage of the technology revolution, using IIoT devices to increase efficiency and reduce costs. IIoT devices are often more sensitive and precise than IoT devices, as they are often used in environments where precision is critical. Examples of these applications include the monitoring of health equipment, using robotics in factories, and analyzing data so users can better understand the performance of their operations.

A significant benefit of IIoT is that is has opened up opportunities to automate services for a number of industries, in particular ports. Automation can completely transform ports from mostly manual operations to a much more machine lead process, which can result in optimized operational productivity and efficiency.

Pros of Port Automation

The significant reduction in potential errors and the opportunity to introduce more services are just some of the reasons port automation will be an unmissable opportunity for many port operators. As many industries have already discovered, the pros certainly outweigh the cons when it comes to automation.

Increased efficiency is a significant benefit of port digitalization, with reports stating that productivity could rise by 10 to 35 percent. Examples include:

-Helping to predict and forecast demand by monitoring the arrival-and-departure patterns of container ships

-Easy to schedule the maintenance of equipment for optimal availability

-IIoT devices used to allocate equipment and frontline staff, as well as adjust the allocation in real-time

-Machine intelligence used to make plans ever more accurate

-Data collection standardized and used to help make ports and terminals more efficient

Port automation is also highly cost-effective; this is because while the initial start-up cost may be high, in the long-term operational expenses can fall by 25 to 55 percent. There are multiple reasons for this reduction in operating costs. For example, with the right network in place, operators can predict performance across the network, reducing human failures.

The landscapes of ports, in which their physical environment is structured and predictable, makes them a great platform to introduce new and innovative IIoT technologies. Ports are also able to generate large amounts of collected and processed data, which can be used by IIoT devices to increase efficiency and reduce costs massively.

Cons of Port Automation

The digitalization of ports is not without its drawbacks, though. Due to the ever-changing environment of ports, making sure data isn’t misaligned—or even absent—is extremely difficult. Any potential dead zones will prevent ports from collecting and exchanging information efficiently. This is particularly an issue for automated ports as unlike conventional ones, they can’t contain problems at individual functions or process steps, so there must always be close collaboration among activities.

Equally, with the extremely complex nature of ports, such as the necessary operational and security functions involved in the successful movement of cargo, the network used will need to be highly secure and highly mobile.

The initial investment cost of automation is exceptionally high with such a complex network being needed and is not affordable for every port, particularly those in developing nations. There are also potential updates that need to be considered to ensure ports can keep up with advancements in software. Ignoring these advancements could leave ports open to security breaches, which would be highly damaging.

On top of this, installing and maintaining an automated port requires a new skill set within the port industry. Finding these specialized technicians will not only be challenging but also costly for ports.

Enhancing the Pros, Reducing the Cons

Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh technology can provide robust and mobile-enabled connectivity that ports need to capitalize on the opportunities of IIoT fully. By using Rajant’s innovative BreadCrumb radio nodes with patented InstaMesh software protocol, connected port infrastructure has the ability to communicate wirelessly peer-to-peer, via multiple simultaneous connections. Information can be shared back and forth in a fully mobile, highly resilient web of communications.

Rajant’s BreadCrumb nodes are easy to install, as well as cost-effective. More BreadCrumbs can be introduced seamlessly to the network depending on the needs of the ports. The BreadCrumbs can also be directly deployed on a port asset—for example, a vehicle, quay crane, RTG, straddle carrier, light mast or drone—essentially turning that asset into a network node. These can then communicate not only with centralized access points but with other moving nodes within the network as well, meaning that all can share information back and forth in a highly interconnected web of communications—providing total network mobility.

DP World Antwerp

Rajant’s wireless Kinetic Mesh technology was chosen by BT to help form a wireless data backbone that could meet DP World Antwerp’s complex demands. Rajant’s “Make-Make-Make-Never-Break” method of forming connections played a significant role in this, ensuring that no connections have to be broken for new ones to be made, minimizing DP World Antwerp’s interference challenges.

What’s more, the Rajant network dynamically adapts to an autonomous, mobile environment of moving vehicles, such as containers or large ships, guaranteeing that DP World Antwerp can keep up with its ever-evolving, in-motion environment. Rajant’s ability to combine fixed, wireless, and mobile nodes together ensures that DP World Antwerp’s critical data always gets to where it needs to go–rapidly.

Handling more than 2.5 million containers every year, 3,000 trucks daily and almost 950 ships annually, it is vital that DP World can carry out its operations efficiently and effectively. With the help of Rajant and BT, DP World is now able to provide secure and resilient connectivity to 900 of its employees at Antwerp Gateway. Furthermore, DP World can analyze and optimize its processes and operations, such as the movement of vehicles around the terminal. This ensures that DP World Antwerp’s employees have an end-to-end view of operations, enabling timely analysis and decision making.

The Living Network of Tomorrow

In today’s competitive world, the demand for IIoT devices in ports will only increase. With the help of Rajant’s Breadcrumb nodes, which can be easily installed onto any object to turn it into an IIoT device, meeting this demand will become easier than ever.

By creating a living network such as this, port operators can protect their assets with proactive monitoring and improved situational awareness, whilst meeting the increasing demand to move a higher volume in and out of their ports.

With Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh technology, any potential cons associated with port automation will disappear, while the possibilities for the future of ports expand.

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Gary Anderson is senior vice president of Business Development with Rajant Corp., a Malvern, Pennsylvania-based provider of wireless telecommunication equipment. Anderson’s background includes several high-tech business start-ups, including the founding of AEI, where he served as president and CEO, and the director of sales at Vivato. Selling AEI in 2001, he was subsequently nominated by the Bush Administration to serve as the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, after Sept. 11, 2001, he withdrew his nomination and volunteered to assist the White House in establishing he Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. The retired U.S. naval officer joined Rajant in January 2006.

Breakbulk Europe Opens Today

21 MAY 2019, BREMEN, Germany—Breakbulk Europe, the world’s largest event for the project cargo and breakbulk industry, opens its doors at Messe Bremen to an expected crowd of 11,000 from 120 countries today. The Welcome Reception will be held from 17:00 – 20:00, followed by two days of exhibition, conference programming and networking activities.

Breakbulk Europe 2019 returned to Bremen for a second year and will be held in the same location in 2020. With unwavering support from its host city, the event will officially be opened by Mayor Dr. Carsten Sieling, president of the Senate of the Federal State of Bremen, along with Senator Martin Günthner, Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports for the Federal State of Bremen, and Robert Howe, managing director of bremenports, the host port for the event, and Nick Davison, portfolio director for the event organizer ITE Group.

While being the biggest provides a competitive edge, size is not enough for an industry that is constantly evolving with the global market. “We listened to our customers feedback from last year’s event and have made every effort to deliver an experience that will meet, and hopefully exceed their expectations,” Davison said. “Breakbulk Europe will have a better VIP experience, a stronger and more diverse content offering, more areas for our community to network and have fun, free transport for all attendees across the city, new ports, a new hall … I could go on and on!”

The value for companies in this specialized market to exhibit at Breakbulk Europe has spread and is evidenced by 80 new exhibitors among the more than 550 participating in the show. “Breakbulk Europe will see its first Russian, Danish and Croatian ports,” the event’s director Maleha Khan said. “It’s not just about more exhibitors, it’s about encouraging the right exhibitors to participate. “

“This year’s show will have stronger representation from key sectors such as ports in regions where project cargo is being shipped in greater volumes. In fact, as new areas of opportunity open around the world, you’ll see them reflected in the mix of new exhibitors on the show floor.”

Extensive market research was conducted to identify the topics that will be discussed over the two-day conference in two themed areas: the Main Stage in hall 4 will focus on business strategy, case studies and sector-specific issues, while the new Tech & Innovation Hub in Hall 6 will tackle tools for change and a how-to approach on implementation. More than 70 experts, most of whom are working industry professionals, will welcome audience input, so conversation is sure to be lively and offer practical takeaways for all those involved in the industry.

Tickets are available at the door for €200, and include the exhibition, all sessions on the Main Stage and in the new Tech & Innovation Hub, along with free transportation by tram, bus and train via the badge, thanks to the City of Bremen.

For details, see the Breakbulk Europe 2019 Preview at https://www.europe.breakbulk.com/page/preview.

About Breakbulk Europe 2019

Breakbulk Europe has become the global hub for the entire industrial project supply chain, including the world’s foremost manufacturers, oil & gas companies, EPCs, carriers, ports, logistics firms, specialized transporters and related service providers. This year’s event is expected to bring together around 11,000 professionals from more than 120 countries. To request exhibiting and sponsorship information and to register for the event, visit europe.breakbulk.com.

Breakbulk Europe is one of four Breakbulk global events, along with Breakbulk Americas in Houston (8- 10 October 2019), Breakbulk Middle East in Dubai (25-26 February 2020), and Breakbulk Asia in Shanghai (18-19 March 2020).

About ITE Group

ITE Group is one of the world’s leading organizers of international trade exhibitions and conferences and specialize in organizing events that help to connect your business to the world. We organize over 240 exhibitions and conferences each year worldwide with many market leading events and well-known brands in key industry sectors.

Press contact:

Leslie Meredith

Marketing Director

Breakbulk Events & Media

E: Leslie.Meredith@breakbulk.com

T: +1 801 201 5971