April 07, 2003
Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., today unveiled the development of a new system to increase efficiency in port logistics and announced that it will launch the system in May this year, aiming for the container terminal market.
The system is the first in the world to make substantial use of mobile telephones as port logistics work terminals. It is scheduled to begin operating in May at Kamigumi Co., Ltd.'s newest container terminal (Kobe Port berth PC-18), which will also come on-stream at that time.
The new system permits people involved in port logistics-shippers, shipping lines, truckers, container truck drivers and container terminal staff-to perform a range of procedural tasks very simply using their mobile phones, including looking up berth information and issuing and checking on booking instructions.
Rather than sell the system as a package, SHI decided to make it available as a charge-per-use service in a move designed to minimize start-up investments for port facility operators who want to implement the system.
The system's most salient feature is its cutting-edge gate procedure functions, which allow it to alleviate container-truck congestion at terminal gates. Information needed to complete all container clearing procedures is converted into two-dimensional code and sent to drivers' mobile telephones by e-mail, so all drivers to need do is "swipe" their mobile phones past a code reader to complete container pick-up and delivery formalities at the gate. Clearing procedures can be completed instantly and accurately, with problems such as procedural mistakes totally averted.
An add-on option, the Container Damage Check System*, uses a special camera to perform automatic scans of containers for damage. This allows one person at the gate to complete in 20 seconds a task that normally takes four people five minutes to perform.
For truckers, the system offers the convenience of being able to enquire whether their containers are ready for pickup by simply checking using their mobile handsets. Haulers can even check on gate congestion, expressed by a graphic on their mobile phone displays, so they can optimize truck dispatch.
Every year, the world is seeing considerable growth in the transport of goods by container; port operation and management are becoming increasingly computerized, and a growing number of terminals are automated and operate 24 hours a day. The development of SHI's new port management system is the product of the company's strength in data systems, and it provides a comprehensive solution that will help make port operations more efficient.
* Available from Inspire Port Consulting & Solutions, Inc. of South Korea.