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Envisioning the future of port operations

  • Posted on July 7, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Avanade Future of port operations

It’s hard to overstate the importance of ports as drivers of global economic activity. It’s also hard to overstate how complex port operations are, bringing together multiple businesses, government entities and forms of transportation – including shipping, trucking and rail – and often supporting the needs of millions of people. Combine that with an increased focus on protecting the surrounding marine ecosystem and there’s a lot going on.

If you’re involved in port operations, you’ve probably got a complex mix of technology from a variety of different vendors. The problem? Most of the data that’s being collected by these different systems is siloed away, with no end-to-end view and no data sharing across the different stakeholders working within the port ecosystem. The constraints of both your technology and your physical spaces results in a lack of visibility into equipment movement and makes it difficult to coordinate all the moving pieces.

Of course, these inefficiencies in port operations have a trickle-down effect that can have a negative impact on both people and the marine ecosystem. This can range from increased local traffic around the port – making it difficult for drivers in the area to get around – to increased carbon emissions if trucks spend too much time idling or ships are forced to spend extra time at sea waiting for their turn to dock.

Sound familiar?

So, how do you use technology to your advantage to modernize operations and support sustainable economic growth for your port ecosystem? How do you improve the experience of the people who work in and around the port every day? Importantly – how do you identify the right place to start and make investments that bring the most business value?

This is where Avanade is already helping. Take our work in the state of Washington across the Tacoma Tideflats as an example. The City of Tacoma is looking at what its economy will look like in the future and knows that the maritime industry is a major future economic driver. The city, along with Washington Maritime Blue – a nonprofit organization focused on building a sustainable “blue” economy – wanted to establish itself as an early adopter of a private, enterprise-scale 5G network and edge computing to foster a growing maritime economy.

Both the city of Tacoma and Washington Maritime Blue engaged the 5G Open Innovation Lab – a group of enterprise platform and technical experts who explore, experiment, develop, test and bring to market solutions that accelerate digital transformation – to conduct a 5G network feasibility study to highlight the ways increased connectivity can enhance port operations. As founding members of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, Avanade played a large role in conducting this study. From the digitization of transportation and real-time awareness of the port area to just-in-time arrival of vessels and lower carbon emissions due to shorter waiting times for port calls, we helped uncover and outline numerous potential benefits for the port. It’s exciting stuff.

Of course, this potential value isn’t limited to the Tacoma Tideflats. By taking the innovative approach of exploring use cases and testing how different technologies can work together to improve operations, the future of maritime economies looks stronger than ever.

Want to discover what’s possible for your city or port? Reach out and we can have lunch to start building your own transformation plan.

Read the full Washington Maritime Blue client success story.

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