Panel probes digitalization efforts at three major ports

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If there was one lesson that could be taken from the pandemic and the subsequent congestion at ports around the world, it was this, according to Stephen Edwards, CEO and Executive Director, Virginia Port Authority: communicate, communicate, communicate. When companies shared data and provided better visibility into their upstream supply chains, port partners could better work with them to deal with disruptions and exceptions, Edwards said during a panel discussion on the use of smart technologies at ports at the Modex tradeshow. 

Much of the panel discussion—which included Rob Tonissen, Director Supply for the Port of Rotterdam, and Casey Hehr, Managing Director of Commercial Services, Port of Long Beach as well as Edwards—dealt with the ways that ports are implementing emerging technology and digital platforms to improve communication and collaboration with their partners.

Some of the initiative discussed included:

  • The Port of Long Beach is created a “Supply Chain Information Highway,” that takes all the data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California, U.S. Customs, and the terminals and provides that information to shippers and customers; 
  •  The Port of Rotterdam is increasing data sharing and planning with partners, such as barge operators, to increase the efficiency of inland cargo moves;
  • The Port of Virginia is using digital “emulations” before they make any changes to port or terminal operations and is using predictive analytics to improve their ability move important containers through the port quickly. 
  • The Routescanner platform, developed by the Port of Rotterdam, helps companies visualize all of the connections from the port to the inland so that cargo owner can choose the most sustainable route for their cargo.



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