Port strategy | INCREASE OR RISK OF IMPACTS
In the first of two articles, Felicity Landon examines some of the immediate, short, and medium-term digitization recommendations of a new report from the World Bank and IAPH.
A new report, Accelerating Digitalization: Critical Actions to Strengthen the Resilience of the Maritime Supply Chain, was produced by the World Bank’s Global Transport Practice and the International Ports Association’s Global Port Sustainability Program (WPSP). and harbors (IAPH).
Seaports need to improve their position on technological innovation and integration – otherwise there will be tangible repercussions, warn the authors of a technical report on digitization in the sector.
“In the short term, these barriers are likely to lead to shortages of essential products and higher prices; in the medium to long term, they could lead to slower economic growth, lower employment and higher trade costs, ”the report says.
Prepared by a joint team of representatives from the World Bank’s Global Transport Practice and ISA’s Global Port Sustainability Program, the “ Accelerating Digitalization ” report was produced as a follow-up to a statement by policy published in June 2020 by a number of industry organizations. This declaration listed nine priority areas, ranging from stopover optimization to cybersecurity, and was endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“When it comes to digitization, the COVID-19 crisis has painfully demonstrated the heterogeneous landscape that currently exists in ports around the world. While some port communities have seized the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and developed into full-fledged “ smart ” ports, many others have barely grasped the basics of digitization and continue to struggle with greater high reliance on personal interaction and paper transactions. standards for on-board, ship-to-shore and land-to-hinterland trade, ”said Patrick Verhoeven, Director General – Policy and Strategy, IAPH, in his foreword to the report.
Boutheina Guermazi, Director of Digital Development at the World Bank, further explains: “The digital revolution has emerged over the last decade as one of the main drivers of change in the port and maritime sector, promoting a high level of integration between devices, agents and activities. . With the increased connectivity between ports, it has created a new ecosystem in the industry – an ecosystem where being outdoors presents a significant disadvantage to ports and countries. “
One of the lessons learned at the onset of the pandemic was the need to ensure the business continuity of critical supply lines, including sea gates and associated supply chains, the report said. “Maritime transport transports 90% of all merchandise trade and, as such, any obstacle to maritime logistics chains has tangible repercussions for the countries served by the port and their respective populations.”
He notes: “The experience to date and the risk of subsequent waves of COVID-19 underscore the urgent need to improve the resilience of the maritime sector, by accelerating the digitization of maritime trade and logistics, which will automate trade. cross-border and reduce traditional human activities. interaction and paper-based transactions. “
GREATER FOCUS ON INNOVATION AND INTEGRATION
It is vital that seaports improve their position in terms of technological innovation and integration, “both to ensure or improve their competitiveness, but also to reduce the cost of international trade for their respective hosts and their hinterlands. The report says.
However, as the authors point out, digitization doesn’t work if everyone goes their separate ways on the trip. The standards and data elements used should be harmonized to facilitate the exchange of information between ship and port and the interoperability of electronic systems. This need for harmonized maritime data and agreed common standards has led to the development of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Commerce, a tool for software developers who design systems supporting electronic transmission, receipt and response of information required for arrival and stay. and the departure of ships, people and goods to or from a port.
In addition to meeting the requirements of the IMO FAL Facilitation Convention and working on key data elements, the report states that it is equally important to establish and introduce a community-based system through ports. port (PCS), described as a “vital platform to optimize, manage and automate port and logistics processes through a single data submission in the transport and logistics chain”.
In addition, along with meeting FAL requirements, discussions should take place on the nine key data elements related to stopover optimization. “Optimizing port calls allows ships to optimize their speed during the voyage to facilitate rapid arrival at the pilots’ embarkation point, thus securing berths, aisles and nautical services at destination ports. This just-in-time (JIT) arrival will also increase the relative attractiveness of a port and therefore its competitiveness.
In the medium term, each port must switch to a port management system (PMS) “in order to ensure the complete digitization of all processes related to traffic control and asset management”. Such a system allows the port authority to control all port traffic via a single digital interface and to manage port infrastructures such as stopovers, rights, log, incidents, waste, dangerous goods, planner, freight, inspections, permits, services, security and assets. , explains the report.
Then comes the need to discuss to allow the transition to the new generation PMS, “intended to prepare the transition from the freight hub to the digital hub via the smart port”. This is defined as an automated port that uses emerging technologies such as AI, advanced analytics, IoT, 5G, autonomous systems, digital twin, blockchain and other distributed ledger solutions, as well as other methods based on smart technologies to improve performance, economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability. “In an ideal smart port, all processes would be automated and connected via IoT,” the report says.
Underperforming ports reduce trade volumes, and this impact is particularly pronounced where ports serve landlocked developing countries or small island states, the report notes. “The port, with the access infrastructure to the hinterland (whether waterways, railways or roads), constitutes a crucial link with the world market and must function efficiently.”
However, port performance is not just about the scale of physical and digital infrastructure – the report highlights the importance of “ institutional infrastructure ” (including administration and customs clearance services, as well as Supporting ICT) and “ human capital ” in maritime administration, operations and services, as well as in the logistics sector supporting the port. Along with the digitization agenda, there is the need to protect and develop human capital in the sector.
Recommendation number one: digital health security
Number one on the list of short-term recommendations reflects the impact of the pandemic on global health systems, highlighting the need to improve digital health security at critical infrastructure such as ports, to protect people. workers.
This involves measures such as enforcing social distancing rules and controlling the temperature of port workers through the use of thermal cameras, drones and electronic wearable devices, which could be integrated into a command center and digital port security control.
However, digital technology covers a much wider area in terms of health and safety. The report describes a pilot project in the port of Antwerp, which has partnered with a Belgian start-up specializing in IoT solutions for maritime services and port terminals. The company has developed a portable device equipped with several port specific safety and security applications.
A series of port tests focused on man-to-machine detection, man-down detection, working safely in closed spaces and a lone worker alarm, which includes a panic button and detection of a man down.
In February 2020, a new feature was added to monitor and maintain physical distance and to facilitate contact tracing through device-to-device communication. The device generates a vibration and an orange light when the distance between two or more devices is less than two meters.
A second signal – loud alarm, vibration and red flashing indicator – is generated when it detects less than 1.5m between devices.
Thermal cameras have also helped prevent and control epidemics in many settings, the report says. For example, they were introduced at many entry points during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2016.
In the maritime sector, Port Coronel in Chile was one of the first ports to introduce thermal camera technology in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing the devices in the main access areas and in the logistics center. cargo terminals, to measure with a high degree of precision the body temperature of workers entering the terminal.
Cameras are also used to monitor the temperature of passengers at ferry and cruise terminals, with Portsmouth International Port being the first facility in the UK to install such a scanner to ensure passenger safety.
However, the report warns that thermal imaging cameras should not be seen as a panacea; they can detect a high body temperature, but no other symptoms of infection. A high temperature does not necessarily mean that a person has COVID-19 – further testing would be needed – and, furthermore, many people infected with COVID-19 are contagious while remaining asymptomatic.
The second part of this report review will appear in the June 2021 edition of Port strategy.
Note: this article retains American grammar to complement the character of the report