By Gboyega Oni
The Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) has said that digitalisation in the port sector is crucial to the quality and efficiency of services and to align the sector with the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’
According to a release made available to PortNewsNigeria by the association, PEMA stated this at its annual general meeting that took place in the city of Bilbao, Spain.
PEMA noted that the digitalisation of ports and terminal operations offers ways to realise a “fourth industrial revolution”, bringing with it safety, operational and environmental benefits.
Digitalisation themes that were explored during presentations included artificial intelligence, data management, cyber-physical systems, and interoperability between layers of IoT platforms – all of which are emerging as ways to improve container throughput at ports and terminals.
“With the necessary ambition among PEMA members, everybody can be best in class in improving safety, driving efficiency, and reducing environmental impact,” PEMA president, Ottonel Popesco, said.
One of two speakers,
José Llorca, Chairman of Puertos del Estado, one of the opening speakers, stressed the importance of digitalisation in the ports sector, saying that it was: “crucial to the quality and efficiency of services, and to align [the sector] with the industrial revolution 4.0.”
Keynote speakers Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, secretary general of ports body FEPORT, and Capt. Richard Brough OBE, technical advisor at ICHCA International, highlighted the broader challenges facing the ports and terminals sector.
Macro challenges discussed included regionalisation of trade flows, labour market disruption, regulatory changes, common standards for data analytics, state aid and private investment, the emergence of new business models, competitive collaboration, and sustainability.
Speakers and delegates cautioned, however, that inertia in the ports and terminals sector threatened to stymie its development.