Juan Guzmán Triviño Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 Consultant

Walking towards port 4.0. through of digital transformation

Port Authorities around the world are in one continuous improvement phase to adapt new models of operation from a Smart Port concept; more efficient, innovative and oriented to user service this will enable you to manage operations and port services in a sustainable manner, using all the capacity and power offered by all the enabling technologies at your fingertips.  The port becomes then a competitive, sustainable port community, with an agile and efficient administration. 

Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Ports

This work of port evolution that is globally taking place seeks to take advantage of the processes of digital transformation of the ports, allowing them to occupy the desired positioning within the port ecosystem. This process must be developed from a comprehensive strategic perspective that must respond to a construction process based on the following stages: 

  • Analysis of current situation, starting with an internal analysis of the processes and technological solutions implemented and with an external analysis (economic, port, regulatory, technological context), which will be used to identify the potential of port improvement. During this analysis the innovative technologies and developments that are being implemented will be evaluated, both in the port sector and in other sectors (and that can be adapted to the port sector)
  • Definition of the Strategic Plan and the lines of action, accompanied by a cost-benefit analysis that supports decision making and its prioritization. 

  • Preparation of the road map with the set of projects necessary to achieve digital transformation and the development of the corresponding plans, with a comprehensive and global approach of the competences and functions of Port Authority. 

Technological integration: key in the Izertis Digital Transformation strategy

We are implementing this kind of work in IZERTIS, in UTE with MCVALNERA, for the Port Authority of este trabajo Gijón, as winners of the definition of its Digital Transformation Strategic Plan.

The experience of IZERTIS in this kind of work shows us that the key to the success of the digital transformation will be in an efficient and innovative use of the technological solutions to which an entity can have access to generate competitive advantages and new models of business, based on digital services and products, thanks to the integration of technology in its strategy, culture and operation model. 

Therefore, the strategy to follow should not be based only on the implementation of new technological solutions, but on the integration of these in a structural way to achieve the previously established business objectives; we believe that digital transformation must remain linked to the objectives and strategies of Port Authority combining practices and techniques to generate new value proposals. 

As a result of this work, one can tell that, today, there are three main axes in which the developments carried out by Port Authorities are being framed for the digitalization of the sector and for the application of new technologies in the logistics-port area: 

  • Digitalization of systems, implementing new technologies in all port areas, allowing sustainable management of port operations and services, using for this purpose all the capacity and power offered by ICT.  
  • Deployment of integral technological platforms to standardize and integrate the different systems that are part of a port, to turn the port into a more efficient, innovative and oriented to user service using a Smart Port concept. 

  • Changes in logistic and transport parameters, including the elimination of intermediation and the improvement of modal exchange, in order to improve the competitiveness of transport chains based on automation and on robotization.

Advantages that Smart Ports offer

The digital transformation of the port will allow, among others, the following benefits:

  • To improve operational efficiency.

  • To provide data to customers in real time, about the status of the cargo or about the working conditions of the port facilities.

  • To integrate the activity of ships and terminals.

  • To generate new experiences for customers and users.

  • To reduce the time for cargo delivery.

  • To provide a greater forecast in sending and recording information. 

  • To provide information progress about the situation of the ship and land transport vehicles and about the movements of the container and cargo. 

  • To improve the planning of berths, handling equipment, storage conditions, etc. 

  • To promote the culture of innovation and change. 

  • To streamline and to improve internal collaboration

Evolution in the process of a port digital transformation

The ports evolve in their digitization from the electronic port to 4.0. going through the following states:

  • Connected port. It is one in which port operation have reached a high level of automation, replacing human intervention. The fundamental technology is sensorization. 
  • Smart Port. It is set around a digital platform that captures information from sensors and IoT networks, processes it, displays it, helps to make decisions and even acts; all in real time. We are basically talking about Big Data and Machine Learning.
  • Port 4.0. It is a concept analogous to that of Industry 4.0 and includes from it what refers to the flow of information with the outside. So, to the intelligence of the Smart Port is added here its role as a node in the supply, energy and information networks.  

Linked to Port 4.0. the concept of sincromodality appears, whereby the stakeholders of the transport chain actively interact within a cooperative network to flexibly plan transport processes and be able to switch in real time between modes of transport adapted to the available resources. This operation allows the client to determine in advance the basic requirements of transport: costs, duration and sustainability aspects, which implies a fundamental tool in decarbonization and logistics optimization in general. 

Conclusions

In IZERTIS we consider that digital transformation represents a set of new opportunities for port development which are born thanks to the evolution and democratization of technology.  It represents a change (transformation) that is not only technological, but also implies providing people with new skills and also implementing organizational innovations that will affect processes as well as business and service provision model. In Izertis we have a commitment with the future of organizations to bring digital transformation to fruition.