How to Use Digital Transformation For Making Seaports Smart

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Ports continue to be revolutionized with the advancement in technology. The shipping industry has introduced remote-control cranes, self-driving trucks, containerization, larger vessels, electronic data interchange, and other latest technologies. A digital approach must be adopted by operators who want to maintain a competitive edge. Smart-port technologies must be implemented in order to stay productive and customer friendly.

The global trade is continuously increasing including the vessel sizes and cargo volumes which compels ports and terminals to keep innovating if they want to keep up. Intense pressure is faced by the shipping industry to work more proficiently and profitably while catering to the increasingly sophisticated, digital demands of their customers.

Constant overcapacity along with comparatively soft global demand is putting huge pressure on the rates and profit margins of shipping organizations. Customers also want faster and efficient services. No matter how loyal customers are, they will choose only those providers that offer solutions aimed to deliver significant value along the supply chain.

Many of the traditional ways in which businesses are conducted by shipping executives have been re-evaluated. Nowadays businesses are so unpredictable that the old-fashioned methods no longer apply. Latest strategies are adopted that can efficiently optimize utilization and cost structures.

Digital transformation can be used to achieve this and sophisticated shipping competitors are aware of it. Traditional shippers are continuously replaced by the innovative players which offer latest and efficient digital business platforms that provide more advantages to the customers.

The shift towards Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has led to the thought that there is a potential of truly innovative technologies such as augmented and virtual reality solutions, to autonomous ships. There are numerous ways and examples which show that ports are becoming smarter.

Smart sensors can be used to improve efficiency. It can help in monitoring the condition of vital infrastructure. Operators can use it to schedule predictive maintenance and the need for annual inspections can be decreased. Sensors can provide data that can be used by port operators to carry out lots of applications.

There is a possibility of enhancing collaboration between port stakeholders. Information from lots of sources can be centralized on one digital platform with increased investment in solutions, after which it can be shared across port stakeholders.

Traffic flows can be improved with the help of digital technology. Ports want more digital means like terminal appointment systems to improve traffic flows. It will allow trucking carriers to reserve precise times for dropping off or picking up freight. It will decrease turnaround times and stops incoming traffic from sitting idle on roads.

When Artificial Intelligence (AI) Takes Over To Shipping

In order to achieve success, three major actions can be taken: create new business models and offerings, digitalize core operations, and develop a healthy internal digital foundation. For shipping organizations, the transformation model requires the following:

  1. Develop New Business Models And Offerings

In order to be relevant, “one-click” online booking has become a must too. This can be advantageous for shipping companies to make and improve their relationship with their customers directly. The simplicity of booking online can also prove helpful in making new relationships.

E-commerce platforms and innovative cargo management systems let liners grow their offerings into higher-margin areas of the supply chain, like intermodal and warehousing solutions.

Provide next-Generation Solutions, for instance, real-time cargo tracking and on-board sensors allow monitoring of cargo conditions which means catering to customer demands for better visibility all over the shipping journey.

  1. Digitalize The Core Business

Management of revenue is important. It allows you to unravel dynamic pricing and contract portfolio optimization with substantial opportunities to enhance revenue.

Advanced modeling lets optimization in network design, vessel deployment, cargo routing, and empty repositioning to lessen costs.

Implement blockchain technology. It provides a way for the industry to organize and protect the process of documentation.

Liners can influence the broad network of agencies and considerably grow customer bases using connected market intelligence and lead management.

Connecting ERP functionality between liners and customers affords advanced capacity planning, and boosts customer lock-in by offering an automated booking system directly from customers’ own ERP systems.

The fleet activity can be tracked by leveraging millions of data and on-board sensors. It lets continuous routing and vessel performance optimization along with predictive maintenance.

Information between liners, terminals, and intermodal companies can be exchanged to develop the effectiveness of port call and connection with intermodal.

  1. Build A Robust Internal Digital Foundation

A strong digital foundation in an organization allows the right digital talent in shipping which helps the business grow and run more efficiently.

Innovative methods to take advantage of the latest data and predictive analytics allows growth-minded intelligence and decision-making capabilities.

Imparting a system of working throughout the shipping enterprise that allows shorter innovation cycles to more rapidly improve solutions.

When companies raise the latest digital offerings, they can sometimes profit from forming a new organization that is independent of the core.


In modern seaports, digitalization is continuously changing the logistics processes. The success of digital transformation depends on the adoption of modern technologies and latest systems. However, it depends particularly on the adaptation of organizational structures. It shows that digital initiatives can easily fail if the diverse requirements, perceptions, and suggestions for individual actors are not properly considered. This is particularly true for complex ecosystems like seaports.

The arrangement of strategies and cooperation among stakeholders play a critical part in changing port operations with common goals. It means that intra-, inter-, and meta-organizational perspectives can be considered in order to analyze options, resulting costs and advantages of digital transformations.


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