International container port operators, users, equipment and technology providers debate next generation terminal operating efficiencies at annual industry gathering
New approaches and technologies to manage the next big step-change in container vessel sizes, call exchanges and carrier service expectations at ports and terminals worldwide will be a major focus of attention at the upcoming TOC Container Supply Chain Europe 2012 conference and exhibition, taking place 12-14 June in Antwerp.
The latest wave of ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) will create new challenges not just for those ports expected to handle these mega-vessels, but right across the terminal industry, as larger vessels displaced from main routes cascade down into trades and regions where they have not previously been seen.
The increased scale and concentration of shipping activity, combined with burgeoning trade demand in emerging markets, means that ports across the world face new pressures to improve operating efficiencies, increase service reliability and avoid costly congestion that can seriously disrupt international container supply chains.
How ports and terminals rise to the new challenges will be addressed at this year’s TOC Europe in a series of conference sessions and free seminars across the 3-day event.
In the conference, delegates will hear views on Terminal Efficiency: New Expectations and Responses from a panel of terminal users, operators and technology providers including Harald Nijhof, Project Lead for Maersk Line’s Terminal Partnering Project, Franck Magarian, VP Improvement Plan for CMA CGM, Tom Ward, Chief Engineer for Ports America and Frank Kho, SVP and Global Head of Terminal Projects and Offerings for Cargotec. Other sessions will address port and terminal finance and assess the changing role of ports in global container supply chains, including port logistics clusters and intermodal connectivity.
Conference highlights will include a case study session on delivering next generation port infrastructure and performance from Frank Tazelaar, Managing Director of APM Terminals Maasvlakte II, joined by Joyce Bliek, Director of Containers for the Port of Rotterdam. The global terminal operator recently announced plans to adopt advanced automation technology for its MVII facility, due to open November 2014 as part of Rotterdam’s giant Maasvlakte II expansion and designed to handle the world’s largest container vessels, including Maersk’s new Triple-E 18,000TEU ships. New technology at APMT MVII will include a world-first application of lift AGVs to automate container handling between the quay and the yard, together with advanced AGV fleet scheduling software.
"Managing thousands of containers that are discharged or loaded while a vessel is at the quay is an area we are targeting for higher productivity results for our customers," said Tazelaar. "We have designed the terminal to serve the largest containerships in the world with higher productivity and service level consistency while operating in a safe, environmentally-friendly way. Our estimates show we can deliver 25-50% productivity improvement results for our customers versus conventional terminal designs."
Techniques and technologies to improve operational productivity, safety and environmental performance will also be the focus of the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) Forum on 12 June. The free seminar will include sessions on container handling and process automation, software applications, energy and emissions reduction, asset lifecycle optimisation, and equipment and human safety. During TOC Europe, PEMA will also launch a new set of best practice recommendations on minimum safety specifications for container yard equipment, developed jointly with TT Club and ICHCA International.
Reducing congestion in and around seaports by moving containers inland to dry ports using regular shuttle trains will be the theme for a second free workshop on Innovative Rail Production Systems from Seaports to Hinterland Destinations, hosted by the EU-commissioned TIGER project. Speakers from port and intermodal operators including Eurogate, Bologna Interporto and Hacon will share case studies and real life results from Europe, outline innovations in enhancing container traffic flow through ports and give practical pointers on how to internationalise best practice.
Other topics for this year’s extensive free seminar programme, held in the TOC exhibition hall, include : how to prepare terminals for ULCVs; the role of ports in the information supply chain; the impact of a potential new universal container weighing regime at ports; and the use of virtualisation technologies to optimise terminal processes during start-up and in live operations.
Running alongside the conference, seminars and workshops, the TOC Europe exhibition – the largest of its kind in the world – will host over 150 suppliers of port equipment, technology and expertise, many of whom will once again use the annual event to launch new products and services.
TOC Container Supply Chain Europe runs from 12-14 June at the Antwerp Expo, Belgium. The event includes 2-day high-level container supply chain conference, free-to-attend port operations and technology seminars, a major exhibition of port and terminal services, equipment and technology, and industry networking receptions.