Navis In the News

There are nine container terminals in India that use the Navis TOS. These include terminals in Chennai, Pipavav, Mundra, Kochi, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Krishnapatnam and Visakhaptanam. Three of these are on the latest system, SPARCS N4, while the other six are running the legacy SPARCS/Express system.

The aim of Navis' optimization intitative is to manage the terminal much more holistically, with an optimized system that makes the movemnet of containers around the terminal as effective as possible.The initial focus is on automated stacking crane management and the interchnage points where containers are exchanged between handling equipment.

Navis is not alone in this thinking. Terminal design and planning consultants like Moffat Nichol are giving the message that container handling equipment has reached its limits, and it is software that holds the key to making automation more productive.

In a presentation on “Big Data” at the conference Navis’s CTO Robert Inchausti hinted that the “business intelligence and analytics solutions” referred to above will not be developed by Navis itself. Navis is scanning the market for specialist data mining tools to integrate with SPARCS N4. Other TOS providers are doing the same thing; at least one, Russia’s SOLVO, is partnering with Belgian-based Prognoz, which has built a container terminal analytics system for Abu Dhabi Terminals, which runs SPARCS N4.

For automation, users deal with process and equipment monitoring and related exceptions handling and need proactive analysis tools in place in order to identify problems and bottlenecks before they impact productivity. For remote STS crane operators, ‘drivers’ can work 300 metres or more from the crane in an automated terminal and work in a operators pool for the whole quay. While the cost/savings and productivity benefits are huge, the work methodology is completely different.

Terminal operations is a business that faces its fair share of challenges. Economic uncertainty, coupled with the demand to accommodate mega container ships, achieve faster turnaround times and accomplish far more with smaller budgets is weighing on the industry as a whole. Many terminals are also forced to rely on aging or rapidly declining equipment that requires frequent maintenance, as well as more energy expenditures to move cargo on to the next destination. Infrastructure-wise, some terminal operators today are also using outdated reporting measures, such as homegrown spreadsheets, wall charts, or in some cases, clipboards, pens and paper to record data that must be collected and processed at critical points in the gate, yard and quay.

The update and expansion of equipment at the Tema Port, Meridian Port Services (MPS), a container terminal operator in Africa, is radically upgrading Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to further advance operations in Tema.

What do terminal operators do with the information provided by their terminal operating systems (TOS)? Some do not do enough, according to Robert Inchausti, chief technology officer at Navis, who believes that they are missing crucial information to improve productivity and therefore, profitability. 

New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) is charting a new course as it prepares to make the transition from Navis SPARCS to SPARCS N4. The move involves replacing several applications including SPARCS, the PACTS yard inventory system developed in Australia by Patrick Stevedores, and an inhouse development called PIMS (Port Information Management Systems) that provides billing functionality and operational reporting with SPARCS N4.

SPARCS N4 is Navis’ latest generation TOS that gives terminal operators a flexible and scalable platform needed to optimize their operations.

Container Management reports that Riyadh Dry Port in Saudi Arabia, has gone live with Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system (TOS). BAAS International Group (BIG), the facility’s operator, will use the operating system to optimise its rail and yard management operations.