Barcelona Remains Europe’s Fastest Growing Port

The Port of Barcelona achieved record results in 2018 across all main traffic indicators, solidifying its position as a key facilitator of export activity.

During the financial year 2018, Barcelona handled 67.7 million tonnes of cargo, representing a 10% increase on the port’s total volume for 2017.

According to a statement, the record-breaking volumes were largely driven by a 15% year-on-year increase in container traffic, Barcelona moving 3.4 million TEU during 2018.

Read a Port Technology technical paper by Olaf Merk, International Transport Forum, to understand demand-driven port development.

This rise in container volume underlines Barcelona’s status as the fastest growing port in Europe, as it comes on top of a 32.5% increase already achieved during 2017.

The results also confirm an increase in intermodality, with the significant growth marked in rail transport helping to boost sustainability of the logistics chains passing through the Port of Barcelona.

China has consolidated its role as Barcelona’s main trading partner, with 25% of the containers passing through the port either beginning or ending their journey in the Far East.

“Motorways of the Sea”, regular lines connecting Barcelona with various destinations in Italy and North Africa, progressed in 2018 as well, diverting approximately 150,000 trucks from the road to the “maritime mode”, a more sustainable option.

In economic terms, the port achieved a net turnover of nearly US$198 million, up 4% from the previous year.

The Dawning of 5G

As the digitization of industry and the global economy continues, a necessity for reliable, faster and more secure networks to connect businesses and the global supply chain continues to grow.

It is no surprise then that major companies and service providers, such as IBM and Vodafone, are forming joint-venture initiatives to test and develop a 5G ecosystem which, according to President of Mobile Networks with Nokia, Tommi Uitto, can generate new potential for automated operations and artificial intelligence.

While the worldwide implications of 5G technology are myriad, with leading companies Nokia and China Mobile seeking to create a more open and interoperable form of architecture for high-speed networks, its application to the ports and terminals sector could be game-changing.

As Dr. Yvo Saanen, Founder of simulation specialists TBA Group explains above, there is a need to connect a port’s assets, machines and people to systems, thereby increasing the safety and efficiency of cargo-handling operations.

The ability of 5G to optimize operations and “transmit data safely within milliseconds” is already being trialled as part of the Wireless for Verticals (WIVE) research project, one of many initiatives demonstrating the technology’s value as a catalyst for improved performance.

Faster and Smarter Networks

It would be easy to focus on the speed of 5G alone, especially when the development of this technology is likely to produce much shorter network response times for a wide variety of industries, including the logistics and port sectors.

However, as the University of Surrey’s world-leading 5G Innovation Centre underlines, the next evolution of connectivity is more significant than catering to the individual needs of everyday consumers: 5G is as much about “machine-to-machine” as it is “people-to-people”.

The flexibility of 5G networks, to “evolve, adapt and grow” is vital to the progress and implementation of this next technological phase which will allow applications to perform the “bandwidth-heavy” tasks demanded in the future.

Other benefits of 5G, as explored by key industry players like Nokia, include its prediction capabilities, security and reliability, positioning the technology as a crucial foundation for the development of machine learning tools.

Marc Rouanne, the ex-President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, once stated that “AI and machine learning will enable a myriad of new service opportunities”, in addition to reducing end user costs and minimizing the consumption of energy.

Revolutionizing Ports

Like a whole host of other industries seeking to ride the wave of digitization, businesses in the maritime sector, such as service providers, are hoping to leverage 5G to their collective benefit.

Kalmar, a provider of lifting solutions, is already trialling 5G applications and building a “technology road map” that will make the next stage of connectivity part of the “industrial standard of the future”.

Forecasting the revolutionary potential of 5G, Kalmar’s Director of Automation Research Pekka Yli-Paunu has predicted that “advances in connectivity give us the opportunity to develop the next generation of remote control that may utilise not only video, but audio and haptics as well”.

In addition to this, major ports are conducting their own 5G trials, testing its capability to drive advancement in other areas and provide a bedrock for smarter, more efficient operations.

The Port of Hamburg has already hailed the success of their project, with intermediate results indicating that “5G enables new types of mobile applications for the Hamburg Port Authority’s business”.

Looking ahead, Hamburg has isolated “5G network slicing” as an area that will have a particular impact on operations, laying the “foundation for new IoT applications” and “business models” that will boost the competitiveness of the entire port industry.

Unlocking the Potential

The cooperation of key players from multiple industrial and technological fields is currently forming an access point to 5G for businesses in all sectors.

Nokia has emphasized their work with “a lot of partners in the ports and terminals space, such as Konecranes, to enable the development of a connected ecosystem,” with the company “well positioned to understand the applications and savings made possible by mission-critical wireless technologies”.

According to Nokia’s statistics, ports and harbours make up a significant proportion of its vertical enterprise customers, all of which are currently deploying private LTE networks for their operational campus needs.

In the case of ports like HaminaKotka (located in Finland) the focus of “operational needs” once again shifts to connectivity, correlating to the intelligent machine Dr. Yvo Saanen imagines in his assessment of 5G.

Based on the sound situational awareness of container handling, warehouse logistics, and port security which machine-to-machine and machine-to-person connectivity offers, operations can be improved across multiple areas, from safety and efficiency to environmental performance and cost-effectiveness.

The extent of 5G’s potential impact on ports and terminals is still uncertain, but as operators and service providers search for smarter solutions, and ways to leverage automated technologies, the key word for the future is connectivity.

Source: Port Technology

Portugal Launches Huge Maritime Smart Tech Plan

The Portuguese government has announced an initiative aimed at accelerating the creation of smart tech start-ups in the shipping and ports sectors, according to a statement.

Named ‘Bluetech Accelerator – Ports & Shipping 4.0’, the programme is being led by the Minister of the Sea of Portugal and is designed to make the country a world leader in smart technology innovation.

The government has said it has already established a coalition of stakeholders, including shipping groups Portline Group and ETE Group, the ports of Sines and Leixoes and digital and robotics companies Inmarsat and Tekever to identify and finance start-ups in the smart technology and shipping industry.

The chosen start-ups will be announced in the last quarter of 2019, and the government has said it expects other stakeholders in the maritime and port sector to join the initiative.

Speaking about the initiative, Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, said: “The Portuguese port system must be seen as the front line of the implementation of the blue economy based on the operational, energy and environmental innovation of maritime industries, promoting the emergence of new companies.

A recent Port Technology technical paper looked at smart investment in the maritime sector.

“This objective will be possible through the creation of a network of Port Tech Clusters, platforms for accelerating the technological and business innovation of sustainable blue port-based businesses.

“From here will be created new companies that will constitute and reinforce the Port Tech Cluster 4.0, innovation network that will be installed in the national port system focused on the application of industry 4.0 to the maritime-port sector”.

The Port of Sines, a key participant in the scheme, signed an agreement last week with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company to develop a new, next-gen container terminal, a story PTI covered.

Source: Port Technology

Driverless wagon ready to hit the track in the Netherlands

Autonomous single wagons that access whatever train path is accessible: that is the future of rail freight. These wagons will make rail as flexible as road, believes Paul van Bers, Innovation Project Manager at Container shift2rail. The wagons are already there, but some challenges remain. Van Bers will present this innovation at the Freight and Terminal Forum, taking place from 26-28 March in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

It was in 2012 when van Bers stood at an airport, looking at the luggage belt. Thousands of luggage pieces are thrown on this belt every day, and find their way to the right destination. The sorting is done behind the scenes. “I suddenly realised that this is the future of rail, this is how individual containers should be arranged and distributed to end up on the right track. It is a first-mile rather than a last-mile service.”

Autonomous wagon

Van Bers gathered a group of people equally enthousiastic about the idea and applied for a subsidy in the Netherlands, where he lives. “I received 100 thousand Euro to realise the concept.” Two years later, the wagon was there, ready to hit the tracks. RWTH Aachen University had built an automated unit. The software was provided by Container shift2rail.

“The software makes this wagon autonomous. It is a smart wagon, it can improvise and react. It can operate alongside the traffic management system of a network, as it is able to observe when a train path is available. As such, it does not need to request a train path in advance.”

Flexible modality

It is this last asset that makes the wagon an ideal unit to compete with the road, explained van Bers. “Rail is a non-flexible modality; when an operator wants to carry out a train journey, it must first check train path availability and then request access many days in advance. A truck on the other hand can depart when required. This autonomous wagon can do the same.

“Currently, the sector is focussing on longer trains, to be able to carry more cargo in one journey. That is a good solution for the transport of bulk, which usually requires several wagons for the same cargo. But containers are like people; they all have a different origin and various destinations. If these can be moved individually and immediately when required, rail truly becomes a more flexible modality.”

Hurdles

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of hurdles on the way, van Bers admits. Today, seven years later, the wagon is still not on track. To begin with, the software system that allows the wagon to spot available train paths – the Supervisory Route Control System (SRCS) must be marketed. Moreover, the concept should be embraced by the industry. “We need to gain trust from train operators, so they are interested in using this rolling stock”, the innovator noted.

The introduction of the wagon could be phased out in three stages, he explains. For this, the company has considered specific locations in the Netherlands, such as the Maasvlate II at the Port of Rotterdam. Here, the wagon could be used for inter-terminal transport. In the same premise, the wagon could serve as feeder to the Rail Service Center (RSC).

“Eventually, we should create extended gate terminals to access the hinterland rail network. For example, the Betuweroute in the Netherlands could have a dedicated entry point for the autonomous wagons, in so it does not clash with the regular traffic. In this way, large terminals will experience a smoother flow of goods to the hinterland, or the other way around.”

Freight and Terminal Conference

Paul van Bers will provide a workshop about the innovative concept at the Freight and Terminal Forum, which takes place from 26-28 March 2019 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Registration for this large-scale event is already open.

Source: Railfreight.com

Morocco: Booming Tangier Med

2018 was what we can call a full year for Tangier Med and its businesses, while the opening of the Tanger Med 2 port in 2019 will add more possibilities for the treatment and processing of containers.

With a total processed volume equivalent to 317 billion dirhams (28.9 billion euros) in 2018, the port Tanger Med has exceeded that of Durban, South Africa, to become the first African platform.

More than 139 billion dirhams of exported goods passed through Tangier Med, representing more than 50% of all of Moroccan exports. For the leaders of the platform, Tangier Med would be the “first export port serving the competitiveness of the Moroccan economy.”

In tonnage handled, the volume processed last year exceeded 52.2 million tonnes, signifying a 2% increase over 2017. In both terminals of the port, more than 3.4 million of TEUs were treated, an evolution of 5% compared to the year 2017. In comparison with its beginnings, in 2007, the port Tanger Med has seen an increase of 15.7%. This rise is justified, according to the port managers, by the performance and productivity of the container terminals, the harbor master’s office and the piloting for the management of port operations.

Vehicle Activity Increase

In terms of passengers, traffic remains stable in comparison with 2017, with more than 2.8 million people. TIR (International Road Transport) traffic grew by 14%, compared to the previous year, reaching a total traffic of 326,773 TIR units. This increase is mainly due to exports of industrial and agri-food products.

The vehicle business also continued its upward pace. In 2018, 479,321 cars passed through Tangier Med, 11% more than the year before. On the terminal dedicated to Renault, the manufacturer has exported 383,715 vehicles, of which 91% came from the Tangier factory. The Tanger Med executives look forward to 2019, which will mark the start of exports of Peugeot vehicles, manufactured at the Kenitra plant.

Solid bulk traffic in 2018, for its part, was down 18% from the previous year, mainly due to lower cereal imports. Liquid bulk experienced a similar trend, falling by 21% from 2017, with a total of less than 6 million tonnes of processed hydrocarbons.

Digitisation, the nerve of war

More than 13,000 ships and boats docked at Tanger Med port in 2018 from 186 ports and 77 countries. Djibouti, Guatemala, Ireland, Bahrain and Madagascar are the countries with which the Moroccan port provided a first direct sea connection last year. The port has mainly enabled Morocco to establish its policy of proximity with African countries and increasing trade with Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana.

Occupying an extremely strategic geographical location, Port Tanger Med has established itself over the years as a gateway to the Kingdom of Morocco. Its leaders are happy to have thought about digitisation and the implementation of an IT infrastructure, which has become the nerve of the war of activity, saving a lot of time. According to the operators with whom we could speak, the port of Tangier seduces with its fluidity.

Automation forces Spain to introduce structural changes in logistics

The transport and logistics sectors are currently in the process of automation. In the coming decades it will undergo deeper transformations, which will test the reaction capacities of countries such as Spain. “We must be creative in changing our way of thinking. There is a lot of work to be done in the short term, in short electoral cycles, by survey, and there are structural changes that must be applied in the medium and long term, “says Inprous CEO and president of Pimec Logística, Ignasi Sayol.

For his part Miquel Serracanta, the founder of the consulting firm Solutions & Decisions, put the emphasis on how the increase in competition “has caused a very important fall in prices both in the trunk and in capillary transport”, so that the carriers that have increased in size have started to search for synergies and efficiencies in their supply chains in parallel. For this reason, he considers that it is necessary to prepare for changes such as the electric and autonomous vehicles, since “they will substantially modify our environment in the next ten years”.

Globally, transformations will involve changes in jobs and new trends will be developed that will improve the efficiency of deliveries. Although technological advances will be inevitable, they will occur gradually and will vary according to the region. These are some of the results published in the new report prepared by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU).

Evolution vs Revolution

Although the report foresees that the automation of global transport is more “evolutionary” than “revolutionary”, Sayol affirms that “the irruption of technology in logistics will radically change the way we do things”. Gradual changes are expected in transport patterns that will affect the different regions of the world. According to Serracanta, autonomous vehicles “will not arrive for another five or ten years and will do so progressively, coexisting therefore, with difficulties, with vehicles driven by humans.”

The partner founder of Solutions & Decisions foresees that automation will make roads safer and that fewer accidents and traffic jams will occur, “with which the reliability of compliance with deliveries will increase”.

Sayol points out that logistics 4.0 will be an opportunity for developing countries, “because they can implement it without the mortgages that exist in developed countries.”

“Automation will probably reduce the differences between developed and developing countries in the medium and long term, once the latter can be added to the technology train,” says Serracanta. However, it considers that in the short term it is possible to increase them, especially in terms of road and rail transport: “Those who are in the process of development may not be able to start this road yet due to previous pending issues, as indispensable basic infrastructures”.
Worldwide, it is expected that transportation routes will also change if situations such as a hypothetical stagnation of China or the growth of Mexico are consolidated. If confirmed these trends, directly affect the GDP of the countries. However, this forecast does not apply to long-distance maritime transport, which will continue to be the main means in terms of scale and volume of goods transported. In contrast, a reduction in road transport is expected both in the EU and in the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as growth in the maritime sector, because “it is still in an early stage of transformation,” according to the study.
The Impact of Automation on employment
Automation will impact the transport sector through the destruction, displacement and creation of jobs. Workers will be affected differently according to their level of skill and preparation, with the least educated being the most affected. This will require the retraining of professionals such as cargo agents and crane operators so that they can work complementarily with this technology, notes the report of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU). However, despite the high levels of automation, human resources will still be necessary, especially in cases where people provide additional value.
“The challenge will be twofold, for the companies that have them on staff and for the worker himself, who must improve his own employability with additional training if he does not want to lose possibilities in his current and future position,” says Serracanta. “The repetitive tasks and added low value are the first at risk of being replaced by robots, and workers who today are the first to be recycled.” In fact, today automated metro lines are already operating, such as the one that connects the city of Barcelona with its airport, or the one that connects the two passenger terminals of the Frankfurt airport in Germany.
Logistics 4.0
In addition to the automation of vehicles, infrastructures and processes, the new logistics 4.0 will allow technologies such as Big Data or artificial intelligence to be progressively applied to know what the client wants, anticipate demand and position stocks at the suitable point. “It sounds like science fiction, but it’s already a reality,” says Sayol.
The CEO of Inprous also includes the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain in this group, which “will enable the creation of dis-intermediated and efficient marketplaces that allow for optimisation and secures the available transport resources”. Finally, “more complex technologies to apply in reality” will exist, including platooning. “Here the time horizon of implementation is more difficult to get right, as it is subject to the legislation of each country and investments in infrastructure that inevitably must be made,” he explains.
According to Serracanta, this automation and logistics 4.0 will also allow for the “reduction of consumption and fuelling of large trucks, because they are more efficient than humans, with which there will be less CO2 emissions and the environment will appreciate it”. Thus, an evolution is foreseen in the logistics transport sector that will bring economic benefits and that will entail new regulations, a greater technological preparation and the development of new skills and dynamics in the labor market.
Source: El Mercantil

Shipping and Logistics Needs Protection from Cyber Threat After Costly Attacks

Following the extremely costly cyber attacks on the Maersk, Clarkson and COSCO operations this year the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) has gathered together some heavy hitting stakeholders from the legal and logistics sectors to help in drafting its first ever cyber security clause for the benefit of ship owners and other related freight and shipping interests.

Inga Froysa of chartering specialist Klaveness, Oslo is leading a team which includes Navig8 ship management, marine insurance experts the UK P&I Club and international lawyers HFW. The aim is to produce a clause able to deal with cyber security risks and incidents that might affect the ability of one of the parties to perform their contractual obligations. It will necessitate the parties having plans and procedures in place capable of protecting computer systems and data and of responding immediately to any cyber intrusions.

An affected party will have to inform others immediately to enable them to take counter-measures and it will be drafted to cover a range of stakeholders, not just ship operators but inclusive of a range of third-party service providers, such as brokers and agents. The liability of the parties to each other for claims is limited to an amount agreed during negotiations. A sum of $100,000 will apply if no other amount is inserted.

The range of the clause is twofold, firstly it is aimed at raising the awareness of cyber risks among owners, charterers and brokers. Its main purpose is to ensure contracted parties are prepared for a cyber-incident, have suitable protective and reactive measures and can mitigate any damage swiftly. The new clause is due to be published in May 2019.

In the early stages of development, the drafting team discussed if the clause should also address payment fraud. It was concluded that the risk of this increasingly common fraud is probably best dealt with at a procedural level by companies tightening up their internal payment procedures to require verification of any changes to payment details.

The HFW legal team working on the clause is led by senior associate William MacLachlan and also includes partners Elinor Dautlich and Toby Stephens and associate Henry Clack. William MacLachlan observed:

“As the shipping industry wrestles with how to respond to the cyber threat, this clause aims to lay down a benchmark for cyber security measures and explicitly address the question of liability for a cyber security incident. We are pleased to have been able to support BIMCO, the other members of the drafting sub-committee and the shipping community generally on this important and topical point, and look forward to seeing how it is taken up and implemented by the industry.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

The rail industry positions itself within refrigerated transport

There is increasing pressure both from the political sphere and from the shippers themselves to favor rail transport and intermodality, a trend that also has been reflected in refrigerated transport.

Statistical records indicate that the presence of the railroad in the transport of goods in Spain is purely testimonial, both in terms of volumes transported and the modal share.

The National Institute of Statistics calculated that last year private operators and Renfe transported a total of 27,914,502 tons, 5.3% more than in 2016. This number is still far from the record obtained in 2015, when the rail transport of goods in the country reached its maximum historical level, both of which are tiny when compared to the volumes that this mode moves in other European countries.

Specifically, last year, 1,915,972 tons of agricultural and livestock products were transported by rail, 9.1% less than in 2016, as well as 370,172 tons of food products. These numbers are small, but they show an annual growth of 63.7%.

Likewise, the rail transport of food products has grown in Spain by 39% annually in 2016, 19% in 2015 and 3% in 2014.

In 2010, 211,238 tons of foodstuffs were transported and in 2017, as mentioned above, 370,172 tons were reached, showing a significant increase of 75.24%, although the quantities are small and favour spectacular growth.

Similarly, in 2010 the railway moved 1,477,257 tons of agricultural and livestock products, which means that between that year and 2017 there has also been an increase of 29.7%.

Both statistics, despite their small volumes, have their importance, especially when compared with the downward trend of other products and the rail way itself.

To the scarce infrastructure existing in Spain, the low commercial speed of this way is united and a series of circumstances turn this transport mode into one with many complexities, and one dominated by the presence of a hegemonic public railway operator that conditions the operation of an entire sector .

However, in recent years, both politicians and shippers have turned their eyes towards this transport means, in which they have seen more efficiency and, above all, less pollution, despite the significant external costs that comes with it.

Customers have begun to believe that rail transport is suitable for certain goods and certain traffic, which in any case exceeds 500 kilometers, in which they can offer economies of scale equal to or higher than those of road freight transport, but without the flexibility that, in any case, trucks provide.

In any case, the idea exists among politicians and customers, to ensure that road and rail are complementary.

In this context is the recovery of the Silk Road that the Chinese Government is making and with which it intends to create a large railway corridor that connects China with the Iberian Peninsula through the entire European continent and with what is to be achieved. an annual capacity of three million containers, compared to the 500,000 that currently move between China and Europe per year.

Simultaneously some railway companies have begun to operate in some traffic while waiting for the European freight corridors to become a reality and allow an effective intermodality.

Source: Cadena de Suminstro

The Evolution of Maritime Blockchain

The market for blockchain-based solutions, especially with regard to container shipping and the global supply chain, has become highly competitive.

This PTI Insight will explore the range of options available to businesses operating within the maritime sector, and how industry leaders are staking their own claim in the quest for an optimal platform to transfer documentation, data, and ultimately reconfigure trading practices themselves.

An Overview

While Maersk and IBM’sTradeLens platform has garnered the most headlines in recent months, promising to deliver more efficient and secure global trade, major companies are not the only players dictating the progress of the technological development.

Start-up organisations, such as CargoX, are providing neutral solutions for businesses of any size, allowing shippers, freight-forwarders and logistics companies to benefit from the more reliable and trustworthy trade networks facilitated by blockchain.

Leading ports and terminals, which play a pivotal role in the global supply chain, are also joining the wave of new companies integrating blockchain into their business operations.

This includes the Port of Veracruz in Mexico, which is inaugurating a blockchain project to improve the safety and security of freight transportation. It is not the only centre of trade taking this step.

The Major Players

It is not surprising that the most prominent members of the shipping community want to shape the future of the industry.

The aforementioned Maersk and IBM clearly harbour an intention to lead the way on blockchain. Not only has Maersk secured the cooperation of 94 ‘early adopters’, but 234 marine gateways around the world have also agreed to use the platform, which will offer real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data.

Although this solution has received massive support, other leading carriers, terminal operators and supply chain specialists have shown they are prepared to challenge the status quo.

In November 2018, news of a nine-party consortium to develop blockchain, including COSCO, CMA CGM, DP World and PSA International, emerged from Shanghai.

While this assembly of companies has not yet formulated a product to contend with the TradeLens service, such a powerful union of influential maritime leaders could represent the first serious challenge to Maersk and IBM’s potential blockchain dominance.

A Start-Up Challenger

Despite the sheer scale of Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens initiative, and the possible implications of a multi-party blockchain consortium, there are companies independent of those major players attempting to secure their position in the blockchain marketplace.

One of those businesses is CargoX, a Slovenia-based company specializing in the ‘Smart Bill of Lading’. In November 2018, it officially launched the Smart B/L platform, which is described as “the first open and neutral blockchain platform in the shipping industry for real-world commercial use”.

CargoX has emphasized the difference between its platform and TradeLens, which “relies on a private blockchain infrastructure” that is “much more prone to manipulation”.

As for a nine-party blockchain consortium, CargoX has suggested that “decision-making processes” could “run much slower than expected”.

So what are the benefits of an alternative platform like Smart B/L? According to CargoX, which highlights how “the real-time market is becoming more and more dynamic”, its own blockchain service is “simple to use” and can be adapted to “virtually any workflow or process”.

The company, a prominent member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), has also offered a vision of the future: “In five to ten years, most maritime shipping documentation will be provided through blockchain technology, just like people switched from sending paper letters to sending email for important, business-critical messaging”.

Ports and Blockchain

As the future of logistics and trade curves towards the digital, including the rising prominence of blockchain platforms, ports and terminals are aiming to adapt to this new landscape.

For many of these vital supply chain nodes, Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens has proven the most attractive proposition, with Valenciaport, the Port of Montreal and multiple APM Terminals locations recently connecting to the solution.

According to Valenciaport, “the developers of TradeLens have indicated that the information contained in this system grows at the rate of one million daily data shipments”, underlining the vast distribution capabilities of the service.

On the other hand, some ports are taking it upon themselves to develop viable blockchain solutions.

Working alongside Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO, the Port of Rotterdam is trying to leverage blockchain technology to boost transparency and efficiency.

A pilot project, set to commence in January 2019, involves the multi-modal transport of a container from a factory in Asia to the Netherlands, testing the three companies’ cooperative network and forming the basis for “an open, independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers”.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration, Sanghun Lee of Samsung SDS revealed that “for the first time in the rather short history of this technology, we can have different blockchains operating together”.

Future Developments

As Nadia Hewett of the World Economic Forum suggested at PTI’s recent Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference (SPSCT) 2018, “blockchain within the supply chain is a solution still managed by IT teams”. So why must the rest of the industry become more aware of this technology?

Oliver Haines, Vice President of BiTA Europe, has revealed that “widespread adoption will not be driven by one or two platforms alone no matter how big the companies involved are, particularly with the industry being so fragmented”.

Instead, as Haines asserts, the industry must collaborate to “drive forward standards and best practices which will, in turn, maximise benefits.”

BiTA, the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, has also expressed its delight that “major international shipping companies” are deciding to leverage blockchain technology as an essential part of their logistics operations, although the speed of progress remains uncertain.

Whether a uniform solution develops sooner or later, Haines predicts that “the market will go through significant changes”, bringing about “more transparency, trust and efficiency than ever before.”

Source: Port Technology

Terminal Drones: Game-Changing or Hot Air?

Drone technology could be vitally important to the evolution of smart ports and terminals, but they also present a number of challenges in terms of safety and security.

This insight delves into their utility within the port and terminal sector, and questions how valid they are in such an arena.

According to EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, “…drones are a key part of the future of aviation and will become part of our daily lives”, yet for some ports and terminals, drones are already a part of daily operations.

Drones in Ports and Terminals:

After testing their ability in filming site operations, monitoring traffic flows and observing unsafe behaviour, APM Terminals introduced the technology at its facilities in San Antonio, Texas and Santiago, Chile.

They are not the only ones to make this leap.

Today, drones are in operation across multiple ports, terminals and maritime facilities around the world; some have been put to use surveying Israel’s new Gulf Port in Haifa, while others have been tested at the Port of Singapore as a method of delivering small loads.

While the drones in the aforementioned ports have been used for surveying and observation, Abu Dhabi Ports’ drone devices have formed the basis of its surveillance and security measures at the Khalifa Port and KIZAD facilities, enabling the company to “instantly check even difficult to access locations from various perspectives, without putting any employees in danger.”

However, it should be noted that port operators are not the only maritime players testing and implementing drones for a variety of purposes.

Drones as Cargo Movers:

Wilhelmsen, a provider of smart shipping solutions, is currently developing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, and predicts that drone deliveries could reduce shore-to-ship costs by 90%.

According to Marius Johansen, Commercial Vice President at Wilhelmsen, the rapid of progress of drone technology is also driving the development of “key technological solutions such as ship localization and precision landing, payload release systems, and light and reliable 4G/LTE communication.”

Could the introduction of drones to the maritime sector therefore be considered a catalyst for change?

In April 2018, logistics provider GEODIS teamed up with DELTA DRONE to develop “a completely automated solution for inventory management using unmanned drones”, the very first of its kind.

The same quadcopter drones implemented by Abu Dhabi Ports were used again by these two companies, who were able to combine the surveillance capabilities of drones with geo-location technology, allowing the unmanned devices to navigate a warehouse and perform administrative tasks.

The development of drones is also being supported by massive companies like Allianz, which has encouraged shippers to use the technology more effectively for a range of monitoring purposes.

According to maritime surveyors, drones are able to assess vessel damage, undertake search and rescue operations and assess environmental pollution.

On the other hand, Allianz has also stressed “the importance of striking the correct balance between human interaction and technological enterprise to prevent standards falling.

Standards:

Key “standards” that need to be considered, when deciding how to implement drones within ports and terminals, are safety and security.

With these concerns in mind, could the emerging technology be a double-edged sword for the maritime sector?

The Port of Rotterdam has highlighted the “less sympathetic ends” to which drones could be used, including “reconnaissance for criminal activities” and “espionage”; as well as ensuring the security of ports, the technology also poses a potential threat.

It is for this reason that ports like Rotterdam have imposed strict rules and regulations on the use of drones, prohibiting private operators from flying over port areas without a special permit or permission.

Standardization was a key topic of discussion at this year’s Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference.

For now, maritime authorities can establish restrictions to protect the integrity of their operations.

However, as drone technology continues to advance, will major players be able to maintain the same levels of security?

As with all technological developments across the industry, the future remains uncertain.

Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism.

Future Outlook:

In March 2018, design consultants PriestmanGoode revealed their vision for the future of drones, the technology’s capacity to innovate change and create revolutionary solutions set to extend beyond ports and terminals.

The Dragonfly delivery concept imagines a world in which cities and commercial centres can be relieved of congestion by drones, the devices passing between buildings as they proceed towards their destination.

While this kind of futuristic landscape might seem a lifetime away, the rapid progress of drone devices is ready to change the way global trade operates, including the operations of increasingly automated ports and terminals.

The challenge now, for those key maritime players, is keeping pace with technological developments, ensuring that safety measures are sophisticated and prepared for the risks presented by such a flexible technology.

Source: Port Technology