There is the opportunity for gains in berth and port productivity if terminal operators and ocean container lines focused on improved communication and collaboration. If management from terminals and carriers would improve communication, they could collaborate on projects that would be mutually beneficial. Additionally, based on a study conducted, it was found that in the industry there is a detrimental disconnect between IT departments and business objectives.
One issue that challenges ports is the terminal operators not having visibility to loading plans in advance of the vessel berthing. There is also a gap in the developments of data management and data sharing. There is a lack of consistent and quality data interchanges between terminals and ocean carriers. Without accurate data, the industry cannot leverage the data to make automated fact based systematic decisions.
The study found there is an industry wide focus on productivity but a shift of focus to better communication structures and the adaption of modern technology would have significant benefits. An analysis was done and the conclusion was that there is the potential to cut hundreds of thousands of hours from the annual time ocean liners spend at the ports globally. For each hour saved, ocean carriers can save on fuel because they will be able to reduce the speed on the water. This can only bring cost savings to all members of the supply chain.
This is just one example of the benefits that result from efficiencies if the ocean carriers and terminals worked together on technological advancements. Insufficient resources are the main reason given for the lack of collaboration. The ocean carriers have suffered year over year losses and the terminals have also faced many cuts which puts the industry in a vicious circle.
The study found that collaboration may be hindered because the terminals feel that ocean carriers are the ones to gain the benefits from any collaborative projects. The ocean carriers fuel costs reduction is a very obvious benefit but the terminals need to be conscious of the additional capacity they could handle without making significant capital investments if they were able to better streamline processes using modern technology.