Portchain takes European transshipment hubs as berth software customers
TWO European container terminals, Germany's North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven (NTB) and Portugal's PSA Sines, have employed port technology provider Portchain to increase productivity, reports IHS Media
19 November 2020 - 19:00
The report comes as a sign of the increasing need to use software to better coordinate vessel calls with terminal resources.
Since founding in 2017, Portchain uses artificial intelligence to help terminal operators optimise their quayside strategy and operations as a way of balancing cost, throughput, and service levels.
'The quayside is where everything starts. How do you share the information so that organisational silos get that information immediately? The operations team needs to know which cranes are available, what's happening on maintenance, yard ops, where are the containers going to go. It's one big puzzle with many contingencies,' said Portchain's chief commercial officer Thor Thorup.
'Is the vessel arriving pro forma? And how should we plan this at the lowest cost while meeting the elements of the contracts? Should I go for scenario A or Scenario B? Many planners only look three days ahead. We're trying to help terminals and carriers increase that planning horizon to have more predictable and reliable terminal operations,' said Mr Thorup.
North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven (NTB) is a three million TEU capacity German hub used by Maersk, while Sines can handle 2.1 million TEU and is used by Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC).
'Transshipment terminals will have a big focus on meeting productivity targets. There's more volume going into these hubs during COVID. That means they need to know how they can cope with increased pressure on the quayside and still meet productivity targets,' said Mr Thorup.
A big challenge terminals have is in matching carrier schedules with operational reality. However, Portchain tries to optimise between those two by offering scheduling optimisation software.
'The pro forma integrity is not always great. Vessels are arriving late. The amount of volume isn't matching. The terminal needs to know how many cranes are required to be used based on the stowage. Which services are overperforming and which are underperforming,' said Mr Thorup.
'But we want them to know where would there be blank spaces on the berth to draw in more volume, so they have better conversations with their customers based on data,' he said.
'We want them to have a real-time view of what's going on for carriers, which allows those carriers to optimise the port stay and downstream scheduling,' said Mr Thorup.
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