Mobile computing in ports set to accelerate with positive global outlook

Introducing innovations like mobile apps to port operations is one way to achieve productivity gains, improve operational decision-making and maximize revenue opportunities.

Optimism is rising across ports around the globe, on the back of growth in trade and increasing freight rates. For ports it is time to look at ways to apply innovation that will capitalize on this positive growth.

According to a recent article in Port Strategy, world trade is expected to increase from 2.2% growth in 2016 to 3.8% in 2017, with a similar level of expansion forecast for 2018. The article also cited growth in freight rates for Maersk in Asia as a positive reflection of that growth translating into more freight movement.

Port leaders around the world will be looking at how they can position their port to benefit from this growth. Introducing innovations like mobile apps to port operations is one way to achieve productivity gains, improve operational decision-making and maximize revenue opportunities.

While many industries have been aggressively adopting modern mobile apps based on commodity-priced hardware, the port sector has been more cautious. According to port consultant Thomas Vitsounis, writing in Port Strategy:

“In general terms, the use of apps will change the industry and everyone knows that. When it comes to ports themselves, things have so far moved slowly – but there has been a remarkable change. . . . in the past year, it is tremendous how quickly this industry has shifted. Ports are now thinking in these terms. There is some distance to go but it is absolutely essential to move in that direction.”

There are some exciting opportunities to leverage this in your port by applying mobile technology in areas like cargo management, yard logistics, reefer management or rail service integration.

Some risks also exist though: in terms of choosing the best mobile app technology, the right support partner and successfully integrating a mobile approach into your existing IT systems, especially your TOS.

Jade Logistics have prepared a white paper “There’s an app for that” looking at the issues around mobility in ports, and what to consider when building your business case.

Also read the press release about Mexican based Grupo CICE testing and implementing the Master Terminal suite of handheld apps.


Jade Logistics launches suite of mobile apps

Published on  June 18, 2017

Jade has announced the release of 30 new handheld apps to put more power in the hands of its users.

Running on any modern tablet or smartphone with a supported web browser, the handheld apps will give users on the terminal greater flexibility. Events are recorded in real time, allowing a terminal to make informed business decisions, provide accurate reporting and ultimately offer better customer service. For more information, view our handheld apps fact sheet.

Read the full article on the website.


Do you get what you pay for?

Some people love designer clothing but don’t like the price tag that go with them, so you can imagine the appeal with shops offering designer type clothing at lower prices. What is the risk if you buy a pair of shoes that don’t last more than one season? Do you want to be wearing those shoes in a year’s time, or should you pay more hoping they last?

Now apply the same thinking to purchasing a terminal operating system (TOS) and you might find yourself running into problems.  Investing in a TOS is a major investment, which unlike shoes, usually only happens once in a lifetime and must be approached with considerably more thought.

There are many things to be considered when selecting a TOS:

  • Starting with clear business objectives is essential. Will the TOS give you confidence to grow or will you need to adapt your processes to fit the TOS? 
  • Is the vendor reputable, reliable, proven and experienced? Do they offer training and support with a clearly defined research and development roadmap?
  • What is the Total Cost of Ownership?  There are many hidden and ongoing costs to consider, not just the starting price.
  • How quickly will you gain efficiencies and see a return on your investment?
  • What about integration? Is it seamless, or do you need to bring in other vendors, which can open you up to risk.

Would you like to know more? Download our white paper, Investing in Growth to identify some of the key factors to consider before buying a terminal operating system.


closeup of the ends of logs stacked in a pile

Can Break-Bulk Terminals Avoid the “Perfect Storm”?

Break-bulk focused ports need to find ways of improving performance in an economic way.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, maritime economist John Martin said US ports were facing a ‘perfect storm’ of under-investment in infrastructure while facing the need to cope with rising cargo volumes. This storm had “. . .  surging cargo volumes slam ports ill-prepared to handle them.”

Retail strategist Frank Layo forecast in the same article that shipping delay costs to the US economic could reach $7 billion in 2015 and climb as high as $37 billion in 2016.

The struggles of the West Coast ports have been well documented. Investment expert Jonathan Rosenthal, managing partner of Saybrook Capital, expressed this in an article in the September edition of Logistics Management magazine about Los Angeles/Long Beach terminals, “In my business, we follow the money, and we see that the port ecosystem here is a little bit broken.”

Figures quoted in the Wall Street Journal put the world’s most efficient port, Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, as turning container cargo 70% faster than the USA’s best performing terminal – the Port of Los Angeles.

In this perfect storm of rising demand and overcapitalized infrastructure, break-bulk focused ports need to find ways of improving performance in an economic way.

Less traditional terminals like those at the Port of Houston are stepping into the breach, offering services to shippers frustrated by congestion and delays. According to Logistics Management, Houston’s terminals experienced 20% growth in container cargo and 26% in break-bulk like steel in the year to June 2015.

“As a specialty break-bulk port, the types of cargoes we handle vary based on the current economic condition of the U.S.,” said Les Reardanz, CEO of WA-based Port of Everett, a user of Jade Logistics’ Master Terminal product, in a recent press statement. “The best way we can prepare for these market shifts is to have adequate infrastructure and a national freight strategy.”

Mr Reardanz was joining other ports in a call to the US government to put more focus on port infrastructure, particularly the landside connections.

Where break-bulk terminals can make their own quick gains in performance is upgrading their terminal operating system, to ensure every possible piece of capacity is extracted from existing infrastructure, delaying the need for costly investment.

Download our white paper Message in a Bottle:
The challenges (and hidden opportunities) of managing mixed cargo.”

Busy African ports open up to Master Terminal

Jade Logistics’ port management software, Master Terminal has been selected by one of Africa’s busiest port operators, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to operate two of the continents major sea ports.

Ghana’s Tema and Takoradi ports which are some of the busiest terminals in West Africa, handle the majority of the country’s growing exports of raw minerals, produce and oil.

David Lindsay, CEO of Jade Logistics,  says Ghana Ports are strategically located being close to shipping routes and major ports of call for ships from all continents.

“We’re thrilled as the Ghana win gets Master Terminal into two important ports in the world’s fastest growing region with cargo volumes expected to rise markedly.”

“This is also strategically significant as it represents the first penetration into the burgeoning African continent for Jade and Master Terminal. The two ports in Ghana handle approximately 17 million tonnes of mixed cargo and containers, with vast opportunities for growth in the coming years. In particular container traffic is forecast to double over the next decade,” says Lindsay.

Lindsay adds that Master Terminal with its specialist ability to manage mixed cargo and multi-terminal customer needs is a perfect fit for growing and ambitious ports such as Tema and Takoradi.

“Tema, which is the larger of the two sea ports and services a busy industrial city. In a typical year Tema will receive on average over 1650 ships, including container, general cargo, tankers, roll on roll off and cruise vessels so Master Terminal is ideal to cater for this diverse mix.”

Lindsay notes that Takoradi port is ideally placed to Accra, the capital of Ghana as well as Abidjan, the capital city of La Cote d’Ivoire and so has become the preferred gateway to the middle and northern parts of Ghana and the Sahelian landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali.

“Like Tema, Takoradi is serviced by all the leading international shipping lines and in addition, because of its proximity to the rich oil and gas fields, Takoradi is also able to support the specialist supply vessels involved in exploration and production activities.”

The General Manager-Marketing and Business Development for Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mrs Alice Torkornoo says the port operator was looking for a solution to effectively manage its two busy ports, and at the same time be able to scale its operations to handle the increased volumes expected over the coming years.

“Master Terminal was selected as the best fit. The multi-cargo aspect perfectly suits our ports, and the proven technology and strong support network gave us confidence that Master Terminal would enable us to compete for new business, increase efficiency, security and consumer confidence, while reducing our costs,” says Torkornoo.

David Lindsay adds that Jade was delighted to be selected by Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, especially as the Authority looks to position itself in the region through an extensive expansion and modernisation programme.

“Master Terminal is the leading and fastest growing system globally for mixed cargo terminals, I am confident it will support productivity and efficiency gains for Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority.

“Jade will now look to engage channel partners in the wider African region to support the increased Master Terminal sales demand.”

Implementation of Tema and Takoradi will commence this year with go live in 2014.