Navis Sets Sights on 'Enterprise TOS'

Aug 2017

Implementing a terminal operating system (TOS) that runs multiple terminals from one central location is the future for port operations, according to Navis.

The software developer said that such a system, referred to as enterprise TOS, could save ports money by reducing the need for IT staff, hardware systems, software systems and databases at every terminal, while still providing a tailored approach.

Bruce Jacquemard, chief revenue officer at Navis, told CM: “A version that supports some unique capabilities may exist in a particular terminal, but enterprise TOS would enable me to run it in a central location and have configurations of the system that are unique. “You can get the benefit of updating one main system, but still have the unique elements that might exist inside of different terminals.”

Some Navis customers such as Steveco and Matson run such a system already. Steveco currently run a handful of terminals from one location, although Navis believe more than 50 could be operated using enterprise TOS. However Jacquemard said some customers are reluctant to implement enterprise TOS because they feel their terminal runs in too unique a way.

“It is a classic problem of people agreeing to change a process as opposed to having the additional expense of having all this capability unique to each individual terminal.

“Most times you will find it is cheaper to change a business process than it is to implement unique functionality that becomes very expensive and
difficult to upgrade.”

Navis will expand on enterprise TOS in N4 3.5 and 3.6, to be released in October 2017 and January 2018 respectively. However Guenter Schmidmeir, vice president and general manager, EMEA at Navis, told CM that the company was focused on more than just enterprise TOS. “Automation is still a big bucket for us and one area is brown field automation, so existing manual terminals moving certain components to automation,” he said. “There is an unlimited spectrum of combination.

For example we might have a straddle carrier terminal that starts automating the yard blocks and wants automated stacking cranes for yards.” Despite recent labour disputes related to automation, Schmidmeir said it is still a benefit to both operators and employees.

“No one can argue that ports are very dangerous environments to work in. People still die today on operations and accidents happen every day on container ships, so no one can argue that this isn’t an aspect where automation can help.

“Also, people still play a key role in an automated terminal today, there is just a change in the talent. There will be a lot more work for analytics or port planning and not so much for the physical driving of equipment."