When we think about the arrival of a vessel to the port, the first thing we think about is the loading or discharging of the cargo. Even though this is not entirely incorrect, many ships have more specific requirements and needs upon arrival. This is where the role of the ship agent comes in, and this is what we chose to focus on in this post for our #DidYouKnow series.
DidYouKnow posts related to Port Operations courses
The time is now approaching when the shipping industry will undergo tremendous shifts and transformations. The maritime sector has started to leave behind its conservative style and began to implement some major changes; largely in terms of technological strategies. A sector that has historically shied away from succumbing to the appeal of new gadgets and systems has begun to embrace them in light of the technological challenges brought on by shifting consumer demands and expectations. It has become clear that not joining this new wave of change may leave the maritime alternatives out of the markets.
We live in a time where not only are we helped and pushed to innovate by technologies, but also motivated by conscientious societies that call for environmental awareness requiring all to be more involved with sustainable decisions and procedures.
It is against this backdrop that the sector responsible for transporting more than 80% of the world’s goods has a lot to contribute, and has recently witnessed more initiatives and willingness from its actors.
The maritime sector brings together many actors, each with their own requirements and specifications. Nevertheless, it is the ports that shoulder the responsibility to make smooth interaction between everyone not only possible but as a norm. This has resulted in the emergence of the Smart Ports.
This digital transformation in the ports is being implemented with initiatives to incorporate systems such as Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twins, AI, platforms for data management, 5G and technologies and processes that help the transformation of EcoPorts aligned with the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) reports where Air Quality and Energy Consumption are in recent years the priorities to be addressed.
Currently the IMO is trying to establish new limits for the control of emissions in the world’s fleets, which are aligned with its organizational policies as well as with the SDG 2030 UN agenda goals, more in deep with 11-13 goals for sustainability and climate action. In tandem the ports are looking for options to optimize monitoring and reduce their environmental impact, especially those with close geographical proximity to large cities.
As the ports are links of transport interconnections and areas of operation of vast amounts of equipment and machinery, their policies and the initiatives of their actors have an important impact on sustainability goals. Without a doubt the activities within the terminals have a profound effect, but it is the emissions of the ships that generate significant impacts.
Setting fixed limits on ship emissions is currently undergoing a strong debate in the IMO. Some ports are taking initiative on this issue by implementing OPS – Onshore Power Supply (also known as: Alternative Maritime Power (AMP), Cold Ironing, Shore Power, etc.), which reduce emissions from vessels during their stays in ports through the supply of onshore electric power avoiding or reducing the use of ship generators.
This technology not only requires an important infrastructure investment, but above all it requires ensuring that the generation of this energy is clean so that the problem is really solved and not relocated. On the other hand, it requires the collaboration of all those involved, which in most cases includes the port authorities, liner service shipping lines (with frequent calls), the terminal operators, the local communities, suppliers of electricity and automation technology and environmental engineers, among others.
Currently there are more than 8 OPS technology suppliers and the systems handle different frequencies (North America at 60 Hz and Europe and most of Asia at 50 Hz). On the other hand, some ports can also vary between low or high voltage. It is the latter that is becoming increasingly frequent.
The voltage demands of vessels vary in relation to the type of vessel, length and operation as the use of energy differs greatly depending on the equipment or machinery that the vessel has to put into operation during its stay. The following gives a rough idea of how the consumptions are distributed:
This in turn requires the vessel to have a facility onboard to make the connection of the land cable. Today there is already a large number of shipping companies have incorporated these proposals on part of their fleets; in particular regular line services as the land connection proves to be significantly beneficial the larger the number of port calls.
In order to motivate the use of OPS, some ports have implemented the reduction of port fees for vessels using OPS System in order to motivate shipowners to incorporate them to their fleet of ships. For its part, the EU is establishing guidelines and directives that oblige member states to take the necessary measures to address the environmental problem. Added to this is the recent debate regarding the implementation of the Mediterranean area as a possible SECA area.
Technology is changing the way societies function and taking in to account the environmental actions that currently need to be address. The Internet of Things is slowly building connections between the physical world and linking it to the digital real. We have already witnessed smartphones, smart cities, smart cars. Now it is the turn of the ports to digitise themselves and join the revolution. The Escola has partnered with the Smart City Expo World Congress, the leading international event for the smart city sector and a key meeting point for experts and leaders of the world’s most innovative cities, companies and research centres. This year’s Fair will take place in Barcelona between the 19-21st of November. Some of the world’s leading Smart Ports will be given the chance to showcase their digital transformations and innovations. It is an event not to be missed. For more information you can visit the event website: http://www.smartcityexpo.com
- Over 25,000 professional visitors are expected, with over 1,000 exhibitors, along with high level representatives from more than 700 cities and over 400 international speakers that will share their vision on how to build a more sustainable and livable urban future.
This year the event will focus on the five main tracks touching the most pressing issues facing cities: Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance & Finance and Inclusive & Sharing Cities.
Useful links :
Intrigued? Check out the following YouTube video on OPS:
- Vanessa Bexiga, Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)
In an era of a globalised supply chain, the role of the port has evolved from its traditional cargo handling and storage functions to being an integral part of the global supply chain. With the growing demand for integrated logistics services and the intensification of port competition, a port must collaborate and cooperate with its supply chain partners to provide value-added services to its customers and, by extension, to its entire regional area of influence.
Today, instead of companies competing with each other, the logistics chains engage in more active competition. Greater efficiency of their operations gives them advantages over their rivals and positions them higher above other companies in the market. In order to identify all the items that make up the most efficient logistics chains, it is necessary to analyse and combine systems, processes, people, teams and strategies in order to find the most profitable and efficient solutions for all parties involved. Economies with efficient logistic solutions can easily connect companies in their territories with national and international markets through reliable supply chains, while countries with inefficient logistics face high costs, both in terms of time and money, in international trade and global supply chains, leaving their companies at great disadvantages.
On an international level, the position of the economies in the logistics sector can be evaluated through the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index – a tool comprising different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that reflect the perceptions of logistics of a country based on the efficiencies of processes of customs clearance, the quality of available commercial and transport infrastructures, the ease of arranging shipments at competitive prices, the quality of logistics services, the ability to track and trace shipments, and the frequency with which shipments arrive at the consignees on time. From this perspective, ports play an essential role, which can only be optimised when all actors and agents collaborate and interact efficiently. We are not only talking about the actions of port authorities; the direct and active participation of shipowners, exporters, importers, shippers, customs agencies, consignment agents, freight forwarders, stevedoring companies, land and multimodal carriers, port and terminal concessionaires, customs authorities, health services, among others is crucial.
Nowadays, the role of a port is not only limited to its port or technological infrastructures, but also to its role as a productive and efficient logistic platform thanks to the integration of all processes and the information capabilities of its actors. In this way, an efficient port becomes an engine for the economy.
This coordination is possible when all the agents of the port community, as well as the rest of the members of the logistics chain, are aware of the roles and responsibilities of each of their interlocutors. This allows the gear between all of them to be much more fluid and efficient. In this sense, the knowledge and training on “what happens in a port” help to generate synergies and process improvements among the participants of the operations, both maritime and terrestrial, and to pave the way for integration, presenting the client as a single entity: the port.
Specialised training in port operations will help increase the efficiency and safety of operations. Ensuring that all actors in the logistics chain are informed of and understand the working procedures will make it easier to find equilibrium between the different actors in order to provide better operation times and greatly reduce operational costs.
As such, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport has brought together the main actors that make up and partake in port operations to offer specialised training, with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the efficiency of ports and logistics operations on a national scale. This course is part of the Summer School of the Escola, which will take place from 1 to 12 July, and is divided into two scenarios of port operations: vessel operations and goods operations. During the two weeks, participants will be able to get to know all the actors involved in port operations in order to get a panoramic and integrated view of what happens during the passage of goods through a port.
You can find out more about the upcoming course by exploring the course programmes (https://www.escolaeuropea.eu/calendar/port-operations-for-vessels/
) , or by writing to the Escola (firstname.lastname@example.org).