Ports, logistics firms and shipping lanes are the mainstay of global trade and economies, any fluctuations in it can affect their operational profitability. Since the last few years, the value of global trade merchandise has decreased, to be precise its growth rate is slower than the growth rate of global GDP. This has put immense pressure on ports to invest in new information and communication technology (ICT) to improve their market share and thereby profits. This article will look into some of the innovations in ICT, read on to know more.
Why Should Ports And Logistics Firms Invest In ICT Innovations?
As mentioned earlier, because of the slowdown in global trade, ports and logistics firms need to invest in information and communication technology innovations to improve their market share by reducing operational cost and improving efficiency. Such advances are already used in ports such as scanning technologies to monitor illicit or harmful substances. Listed below are the major ICT innovations for ports and logistics firms.
Automation And Robotics
The automation in ports has been increasing over the years, for example the first automated stacking crane was installed in Rotterdam port in 1990. Automation is employed in port operations like ship to shore movement, container stacks management and truck loading, and straddle carrier ground operations. Also, automation software are employed to optimise and monitor the movement of goods in and out of the port. These coupled together improves the operational efficiency by reducing time, fuel cost and number of personnel employed.
Autonomous or driverless vehicles are a technology that will have a huge impact on port operation and logistics. They are already in use to move containers and goods within the ports in some locations. The innovations and development are heading in the direction to implement it on a broader scale that encompasses land, air and sea. This allows for greater security, less operational cost and time, and remote monitoring and operation.
Big Data Analytics And Internet Of Things
One of the big advantages of automation, and incorporation of different types of technology in almost all sectors including ports and logistics is availability of huge amounts of data, both real-time and offline. This is achieved with the help of robots and cheap sensors that are installed as part of automation, and connected to a network of Internet of Things (IoT). As a result, huge amounts of data and often complex sets are analysed using Big data analytics tools to allow the smooth flow of logistics chains.
These are some of the key innovations in information and communication technology that will revolutionize the operation of ports and logistics firms in the present and future.