Make optimisation a shared goal, says Navis

Navis believes container terminal users should help plan, monitor, analyse and control the operation process Navis believes container terminal users should help plan, monitor, analyse and control the operation process
Industry Database

Software specialist Navis wants to bring the user back into the automated container terminal optimisation process in a move away from the previous ‘black box’ approach.

Director of product management, automation, Oscar Pernia believes that users should play an active role in planning, monitoring, analysing and controlling today’s highly advanced container terminal operation processes.

“Optimisation is all about making better decisions, so the system has to be able to adapt. Container terminals decisions have critical time constraints and dynamic characteristics, so feedback and a holistic approach are fundamental.  We had to remove this idea that optimisation is a black box to the user,” he said. “We need to provide visibility and full operational control to them, in terms of usability and in terms of configuration.”

With a catch-all of ‘complex systems, but simple operations with human brains tuned in’, Mr Pernia added that container terminal software users are changing and that there is a preference for more IT-minded people with analytical experience.

“I see a split between the planning and the execution; you need optimisation to figure out this gap,” he said. “From an organisational point of view you can have the planning outside the terminal. This is a big change. Shipping expertise and knowledge remain really important of course, but you may have to remove people from your current organisation, or you may need to change their approach, job descriptions and existing workflow.”

For automation, users deal with process and equipment monitoring and related exceptions handling and need proactive analysis tools in place in order to identify problems and bottlenecks before they impact productivity. For remote STS crane operators, ‘drivers’ can work 300 metres or more from the crane in an automated terminal and work in a operators pool for the whole quay. While the cost/savings and productivity benefits are huge, the work methodology is completely different.

“Automation and optimisation means a new way of container terminal management, covering all levels of the business,” said Mr Pernia. “We are clearly at the next generation of terminal operations.”

In line with this, Navis’ latest terminal operating system release, SPARCS N4 2.5, offers more customisation, and improved analytics and ease of implementation, in addition to enhanced automation functionality.

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