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10 st / March 2017 www.sea-technology.com to much cheaper, easy-to-maintain "open" software pack- ages, without which operating a container line and network of agents would simply be impossible. Take, for example, the staggeringly large amount of infor- mation that must be processed when a containership is in port and engaged in loading and discharging its boxes. As containerships get bigger, so this volume of data increases, but vessel turnaround times have not really been extended. There are six standard moves for a container in port, which are: gate out depot, gate in terminal, load terminal, discharge terminal, gate out terminal and gate in depot. Each move requires information to be processed. Added to this might be a booking con•rmation, release order, bill of lading, invoice, notice of arrival and delivery order. So, it is easy to see how important ef•cient data handling becomes as ship size increases. Altogether, a containership of 18,000 TEU could, con- ceivably, require 108,000 pieces of information for the standard moves and double that if all the terminal/depot requirements are included. Of course, these days most con- tainers are generally 40- or 45-ft. units and rarely, if ever, are all boxes loaded or discharged in a single port. Even S ome say that Malcolm McLean changed the face of global shipping forever. He was the American industri- alist often feted for inventing containerization, streamlin- ing supply chains and bringing down the cost of interna- tional trade. Although McLean can't be given sole honors for this shipping revolution, his legacy—and the legacy of all those others involved—led to the ultralarge container- ships we now see carrying 20,000 boxes or more from Asia to Europe to the Americas. Containerization has spread to every corner of the globe, with more than 120 million boxes being moved by an in- ternational 'eet totalling more than 5,000 vessels. While this has brought bene•ts to countless nations, businesses and individuals, it has also thrown up enormous technical challenges that the shipping and logistics industries have had to overcome. Aside from the structural and physical is- sues surrounding large ships and large ports, the activities connected with the boxes themselves are immense. Boxes and cargoes have to be declared; tariffs set and agreed; on- board space managed and allocated; loading and storage arranged; and so on. And on top of all this, visibility must be maintained across all activities to ensure all involved gener- ate enough of a pro•t to stay in business. The Pace of Change In the early days of McLean's revolution, many of these pro- cesses were carried out manu- ally, but as ships got bigger and trade increased, the larger operators with deep pockets began to invest in technology to manage back-of•ce and ad- ministrative processes. Times have changed, and IT is now both more affordable and acces- sible, allowing smaller carriers to compete on the same terms as the larger players. Today, be- spoke solutions have given way From Revolution To Evolution How Automation Will Dene the Future of Container Shipping By Lars Fischer As containerships carry more boxes, the amount of data that need to be processed multiplies.