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October 29 2018

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October 29 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 19 www.joc.com Port Productivity Cover Story Special Report Further, the fact that top-line productivity declined during a pe- riod of long-term, steady growth in both ship size and call size poses the question of what terminal operators need to do to reverse it. Physically, there are limitations regarding what terminals can do; bigger vessels are wider, rather than longer, hence adding more cranes is challenging for many terminals. Fur- ther, even if terminals add cranes, that increases crane intensity and will probably just "move the bulge" onto port yards, gates, and increas- ingly congested hinterland water- ways and roads, which in most cases were constructed before mega-ships with their huge cargo surges. For many, the solution lies in digitalization or, more specifically, improved collaboration and live data-sharing between stakeholders in container transport chains. When it comes to digitaliza- tion, the broad container shipping GLOBAL CONTAINER MOVES per hour, the top-line measure of port call pro- ductivity, decreased 4 percent, effec- tively meaning ships spent an extra 70,000 hours in port in the first half of 2018 compared with the first half of 2017, according to an analysis of JOC Port Productivity data. After an extended period of high growth, average call sizes, or the number of containers exchanged per call, did not increase in the first half of 2018, compared with the same period in 2017. Concerning the first statistic, over-deployment by the new alliances in late 2017-early 2018 accounts for the decline of port moves per hour. The idle fleet dropped to its low- est level since 2009 in early 2018 but has since rebounded to more-normal levels. That extra capacity reduced load factors and call sizes. However, capacity reductions in May and June mean the trend of growth in call sizes likely has resumed. Productivity slips Digitization and collaboration could be key to improving top-line port call metrics By Turloch Mooney industry's recent history is not one of rapid identification and imple- mentation, as noted by the World Economic Forum in a 2016 report on digitalization in the sector. "Logistics has introduced digital innovations at a slower pace than some other industries. This slower rate of digital adoption brings enor- mous risks that, if ignored, could be potentially catastrophic for even the biggest, established players in the business." The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Devel- opment (OECD) earlier this month issued its recommendations on what is needed to move digitalization forward in the container transport supply chain to increase efficiency and decrease costs, including port productivity metrics. One of the rec- ommendations is for governments to boost support for ports to facili- tate collaboration among shipping stakeholders and ports. "Although ports of the same region often compete, combined efforts to providing digital solutions for stakeholder coordination could generate efficiencies from which all participating ports benefit," the OECD said. Many larger ports are moving quickly to develop data-sharing platforms for collaboration across organizations, but initiatives among Shutterstock.com

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