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London, 12 July 2018
TOC Europe, the world's leading exhibition and conference hub for global port and terminal operators, container supply chain professionals and technology providers, welcomed close to 4,000 industry executives at its 43rd edition in Rotterdam this June.
The record attendance of visitors and delegates, up 15% on the previous year, reflected a welcome return to growth in world container trade and port volumes along with intense interest in smart technologies including automation, digitalization and cleantech. Innovation and technology featured strongly both on the exhibition floor and in conference, seminar, workshop and think-tank sessions staged over the three-day event.
With over 180 companies participating from across the globe, the exhibition showcased the latest in equipment, technologies and services for port and terminal operations across container and dry bulk. As usual, industry suppliers used the event as a platform for major launches, including a raft of new port handling equipment, new IT and digital initiatives, and new market reports. Among many announcements:
Kalmar, part of Cargotec, introduced an eco-efficient reach stacker with fuel saving guarantee – the first solution in the company's new Eco Range. The equipment and technology supplier announced that its full offering will be available as electrically powered versions by 2021. During the event, the company also staged the Kalmar Co-Create idea generation challenge to discover disruptive ideas to specific customer challenges in container handling industry.
Konecranes introduced three automation-related equipment technologies – the automated Konecranes Noell straddle carrier (A-STRAD) and automated Sprinter Carrier (A-SPRINTER), Konecranes Gottwald automated guided vehicles (AGVs) with lithium-ion battery and a new cooperation with terminal tractor provider Terberg to provide a complete Automated Terminal Tractor (ATT) series.
Liebherr unveiled two new reach stacker models for container and timber handling complying with latest EU Stage IV/EPA Tier 4 emissions rules and with option for hybrid drive.
Hybrid drives, alternative fuels and electrification for port equipment were also the focus of an intensive half-day Cleantech session during the TECH TOC seminar at the event.
Container crane specialist Künz unveiled its Freerider RTG with several innovative new features and designed with automation in mind from the outset, so that RTG terminals can convert later to automated operations with their existing set-up. The need to find a solution for automating existing facilities operating with RTGs and terminal tractors – the 'workhorse' of global container terminal handling configurations – was also discussed in the 2nd Automation Workshop and World Cargo News debate during the TECH TOC seminars at TOC Europe.
Terminal software provider Navis and XVELA, a collaborative platform for optimising vessel stowage, also both part of Cargotec, launched Working as One, an industry survey examining the extent to which different players across the global container supply chain can work together in a unified fashion with a common set of shared data to improve coordination and synchronisation of operational processes.
"With change on the horizon, many believe it will be the shipping lines and major shipping alliances that will be the primary drivers for synchronizing information in the carrier/terminal planning space," said the two companies on launching the report. "Global terminal operators and individual terminals will lead the way in improving communication around berth window management, and port authorities will accelerate collaboration efforts among the port community."
Keynote speaker Wolfgang Lehmacher, Head of Supply Chain and Transport Industries at the World Economic Forum - 'we have no choice but to digitize'
Data-driven collaboration, standardisation and interoperability were also the single biggest focus of this year's discussions in the various conference, seminar and workshop sessions staged over the three-day event.
In his keynote speech on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to the TOC Container Supply Chain conference, Wolfgang Lehmacher, Head of Supply Chain and Transport Industries at the World Economic Forum, told delegates that the future lay in a "connected system of systems" and said that "we have no choice but to digitize".
With a forecast 20 billion connected "things" by 2030, the Internet of Things (IoT) is among the technologies that will play a major role in bringing transparency, visibility and intelligence to supply chain, shipping and port operations as part of the new platform economy, he said. Integrated networks of autonomous ships and land vehicles, drone delivery, 3D printing and e-commerce will also have a transformational impact.
Data is becoming the new 'oil' driving the global economy and developing data competence will now be critical alongside existing skills in physical cargo handling, transport and infrastructure management, noted Mr. Lehmacher. But realising the value of 4IR requires a new age of global protocols, policies, public-private sector dialogue and knowledge building. That includes jointly addressing escalating cyber security and data governance risks, which could derail digitalisation if not managed proactively and collaboratively.
Speaking later in the CSC conference, Lamia Kerdoudj-Belkaid, Secretary General of FEPORT, the Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals, reinforced that "open systems and engagement of all parties, with due governance, is vital to getting value from digitalisation along maritime logistics chains and to deal with disruption."
"What is needed in this sector and all the other areas I am talking about is collaboration," stressed Mr Lehmacher. "What's the point of having data if you don't share it?" Speakers from major container shippers also emphasised the need for a more open and joined-up approach to sharing information along the supply chain along with a shift from 'after-the-fact' data to live updates driven by the IoT that enable more proactive decision making and trouble shooting. "We don’t just want event updates, we want solutions so we can move to predictive planning," said Alejandro Parodi, Procurement Manager, Logistics EMEA at Eastman Chemical Company, a 90,000TEU a year shipper. Dieter Degryse, GM Transportation Operation EAME at Caterpillar Inc., told delegates that the manufacturer was in process of marrying people, process, technology and data to outline a "compelling vision, strategy and roadmap" for digital, automated logistics flows.
As part of their digital journeys both Eastman and Caterpillar have been experimenting with 'smart' containers – fitted with IoT tracking devices – as a route to real time visibility and control. "We want to be a partner for innovation and a full part of the chain," stressed Mr. Parodi.
During the CSC conference, the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg also officially launched a new project involving unprecedented levels of data-driven collaboration to optimise ocean carrier port calls in the North Europe area. “In the last couple of months Hamburg and Rotterdam have shared port call data to try to optimise port calls of the shipping lines in the North Europe area," said Joyce Bliek, Director of Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam. “We are now at the stage of connecting systems, even though we are two competing ports – we need to change the mindset’’.
Both Rotterdam and Hamburg already had vessel optimisation programmes underway that have considerably reduced berthing times at their respective ports. Linking those two systems up and making the data available to vessel operators has been the key plank of the recent collaboration between the two ports.
Initial trials have found that an 18,000 TEU vessel moving between Rotterdam and Hamburg could save 20-30 tonnes of bunker fuel per voyage, along with other benefits including better organisation of port labour gangs and greater awareness of shipment availability to other port stakeholders.
Gerald Hirt, Managing Director of the Hamburg Vessel Coordination Centre, said they would now look to bring other ports into an emerging network: “This is not a closed shop – we would like to invite other ports to join us.” Ms. Bliek said that data standardisation discussions were going on between major port hubs to take a global view on port call optimisation.
Together with Dieter Degryse from Caterpillar and other speakers, Ms Bliek also highlighted that developing a digital infrastructure was requiring a fundamental shift in approach by the Port of Rotterdam. "We build infrastructure for 100 years and there is no such thing as an MVP for a quay wall," she said. But digital initiatives require more input from customers and a shift towards Proof of Concept, sprint and agile techniques, with a willingness to get started quickly, fail and learn and move on swiftly to the next iteration.
L - R, Keith Svendson, Chief Operating Officer and Alex Duca, Head of
Automation Program, both of APM Terminals
Keynote speaker Keith Svendson, Chief Operating Officer of APM Terminals, issued a clarion call for far greater collaboration among container terminal operators to address the lack of industry standardisation in automation projects. Against a backdrop of diminishing returns and growth, carrier consolidation, increased competition and more regulations, "we need to take out legacy costs and make things more customer-driven including shipper users and supply chain collaboration," he added.
“For us, automation is critical to stay competitive," said, Mr. Svendson, citing better safety and consistency as key issues. But while expectations from automation are high, the benefits have so far proved elusive. "Terminal operators need to step up and help move the discussion forward because we really have to work on standards, interoperability and protocols as an industry so that we don’t increase the complexity of the system just for the sake of it,” said Mr. Svendson.
"We started the standardisation efforts several years ago and are now ready to accelerate efforts and share what we have. Now we need people to show up and be interested.
Speaking in the TECH TOC seminar, Alex Duca, said the company now has six terminals with equipment automation in its portfolio, and each has a completely different automation framework, with its own software and integration environment. "Lack of industry-wide operational standards and increasing project complexity is hampering automation and we believe a modular approach is the future," he said. Mr Duca also confirmed that 'retrofitting' existing terminals – using technology to increase efficiency – will be the priority over greenfield developments. Jan Cuppens, Director Global Engineering at DP World, told TECH TOC that a 'reality check' was needed on automation. "Our fully automated container terminals are too slow," he said, and the operator's expectations have yet to be met. Mr. Cuppens and Mr. Duca also took part in an extensive 3-part Q&A series on terminal automation running up to the event "
FEPORT and PEMA, the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association, chose TOC Europe to announce that they were jointly supporting a new initiative from an open group of 15 global private container terminal operators and port equipment manufacturers to foster a closer technical interaction on industry standards. The first objective of TIC 4.0 (Terminal Industry Committee 4.0) will be to develop common definitions for technical terminology used in the container handling industry, as most of the phrases currently used in the sector remain subjective
IAPH, the International Association of Ports and Harbors, and ICHCA, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association, also chose TOC Europe to sign an MoU to cooperate on IAPH's World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP), a collaborative initiative to demonstrate ports' contribution to the UN Sustainable Development goals. The two organisations will work together on matters of mutual interest including safety and security and digitalisation and will seek to further strengthen the voice of ports and the cargo handling community at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), where both are represented as NGOs.
Patrick Verhoeven, MD - Policy & Strategy at the IAPH told the CSC conference that the ship-shore interface – and hence ports and landside cargo handling - will inevitably come more under the scrutiny of IMO as it seeks to address climate change, decarbonisation, automation, digitalisation and other key industry trends.
TOC Europe returns to Rotterdam from 18-20June 2019
Ahoy Rotterdam, Netherlands
About TOC Worldwide
For 40 years, TOC Worldwide has provided the market-leading conference and exhibition forums for the global port and terminal industries and their customers. With a change of name to TOC Container Supply Chain, the TOC event portfolio is now evolving fast to attract a wider audience of container supply chain professionals. Taking place each year in the world’s four key shipping hubs – Europe, Middle East, Americas and Asia – each TOC is now a complete container supply chain event for its region, bringing together cargo owners, logistics providers, carriers, ports, terminals and other key members of the container supply chain to learn, debate, network and foster new business solutions.
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