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Ports and terminals are at the centre of the digitalisation process in the shipping industry. To date a lot of focus, time and resources have been spent on the digitalisation of global hub container ports. These hub container ports have invested heavily in smart technologies in their drive to transform themselves into ‘digital ports’ in order to facilitate the just in time shipping of large numbers of TEUs. 

This has led to a ‘digital divide’ in smart technology adoption between the hub ports and the medium/smaller mixed use ports. There is, however, now a global awareness that the other part of the port sector has been underserved by technology. To address this, new solutions are entering the market at a faster rate than ever before and the cost barrier to port entry has also decreased.

Many medium and small size ports are now realising that digital technology adoption is key to increasing their operational efficiencies by reducing the errors associated with manual, paper-based processes. Digitalisation can have many positive outcomes including:

  • An increased awareness of HSE issues, leading to an improved safety record
  • Increased efficiency in back office functions, improving operational cash flow
  • The reduction of vessel fuel consumption which will lower the port’s carbon footprint,

This presentation will include case studies from around the world and outline the direction of digitalisation in the medium/small port sector in the next three to five years.

Graham Howe, Business Development Director, ION

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