Digitalisation themes that were explored during presentations included artificial intelligence, data management, cyber-physical systems, and interoperability between layers of IoT platforms.
The digitalisation of ports and terminal operations offers ways to realise a “fourth industrial revolution”, bringing with it safety, operational, and environmental benefits, delegates heard at the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association annual general meeting, which was held in the Spanish port city of Bilbao.
“With the necessary ambition among PEMA members, everybody can be best in class in improving safety, driving efficiency, and reducing environmental impact,” PEMA president, Ottonel Popesco, told AGM delegates.
Digitalisation themes that were explored during presentations included artificial intelligence, data management, cyber-physical systems, and interoperability between layers of IoT platforms – all of which are emerging as ways to improve container throughput at ports and terminals.
One of two opening speakers, José Llorca, Chairman of Puertos del Estado, stressed the importance of digitalisation in the ports sector, saying that it was: “crucial to the quality and efficiency of services, and to align [the sector] with the industrial revolution 4.0.”
Keynote speakers Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, secretary general of ports body FEPORT, and Capt. Richard Brough OBE, technical advisor at ICHCA International, highlighted the broader challenges facing the ports and terminals sector.
Macro challenges discussed included regionalisation of trade flows, labour market disruption, regulatory changes, common standards for data analytics, state aid and private investment, the emergence of new business models, competitive collaboration, and sustainability.
Speakers and delegates cautioned, however, that inertia in the ports and terminals sector threatened to stymie its development.
The Association’s membership totalled 106 member companies as of January 31, 2018, delegates were told.
“With our growing membership, and increasingly diverse range of activities, PEMA is better-positioned than ever before to ensure that the port equipment and technology sectors have a clear, unified voice in the industry,” Popesco said.
The Association is also set to launch a brand new website in the coming weeks. (Inputs: PEMA).