Integrating systems for optimised port operations

Smart Ports

How a small regional port is integrating operational systems to plan and optimise vessel discharge operations

Key Results

Provide a central source of information to reduce unnecessary communication

deliver real-time and predictive capabilities that enable a profitable operation

Background

Our client, a small regional port in the United Kingdom, handle a broad range of bulk, break-bulk, ro-ro and containerised traffic. Distribution of information in an efficient way is paramount to ensuring the effectiveness of the small team running the port. They required a means of distributing up-to-date information from one central location, ensuring that everyone knows exactly what is happening at the time they need to know.

We worked with the management team to define the challenges, identify the data sources, work with third party vendors to create integrations to ActiveMaps.Live and design visual representations of the data that clearly communicate information to the users.

Our Solution

Firstly we integrated with the ports own AIS devices to provide real-time visualisation of vessel movements on approach to, and within, the estuary. This enabled all uses in the port to see accurate information on vessel location.

Next up, we enhanced that with an integration to the vessel booking system. This allows us to enhance the visual representation of the vessel with key information relating to the vessel call.

With information on planned vessel movements, such as ETA, ETD and berth, we are able to place vessels accurately on the map, and by providing the user with a means of moving through the timeline, represent vessels visually, in position, to show how the scenario will appear in the future. This helps users easily understand problems such as berth clash.

Moving on to the landside, our next step was to integrate to stock systems to visualise stock values in port stores. We receive real and near-real time updates from multiple stock systems to show the latest position of aggregate and animal feed stocks within the port.

While this is useful for understanding the current position, having the ability to understand what future stocks may look like, and how that might influence berth planning was the ultimate goal. While the port cannot currently predict with accuracy the movement of stock out of stores, significant historical data allows us to make a good estimate of future patterns of uplift.

By applying those patterns to current stock values, we are now able to offer a visualised prediction of what the stock might look like in the future. By combining this information with the planned vessel movements, and visualising the future scenario, the port are now able to make informed decisions and take proactive action, such as creating space for stock closer to the vessel discharge. This offers the best opportunity to reduce vessel working time, which not only benefits the vessel, but creates a more profitable operation.

The next step for this innovative port is to create real-time alerting on vessel productivity. Using historical data from previous vessel operations, we can determine an acceptable performance range. By monitoring current operational performance and comparing against the expected performance values, we can immediately alert the Operations team so that they can take pro-active action to bring the operation back on track.

Check in with us regularly for the latest updates on this project.

UoS ForthERA Screenshot
UoS ForthERA Screenshot

Project Facts

Client:
Location:
Date:

Undisclosed Client

United Kingdom

Ongoing