Ports' Path To The Future Is IT-Intensive
Improving the port ecosystem around the world will prove to be an essential building block in the smoother supply chains of the future. Despite nations' increasing pressure on imports and cross-border commerce, shipping traffic remains the backbone of worldwide logistics. The question now facing stakeholders in the world's ports is how they can facilitate a more efficient and smooth operational style when their practices have become so ingrained over the decades. The answer, as with so many other supply chain matters, will likely involve modern technology.

Leaders in the shipping industry will have to spend time over the next few years finding IT-based paths to achieve overall objectives, at and beyond ports. Considering the importance of effective and quick transfers of both information and physical shipments between various levels of the supply chain, there can't be any weak points in networks. To make global transportation of goods smoother, advanced and connected systems will be necessary.

Ports set their objectives

To avoid becoming sticking points in the faster, more connected supply chain of the future, ports have set a few goals. According to a Port Technology eBook entitled The Path to Intelligence, leaders are considering using solutions such as artificial intelligence algorithms to gather, use and transmit data more effectively in the months and years ahead. This information is the lifeblood of logistics, and the increasing presence of digitized systems will only become more useful as the tools spread to stakeholders of all kinds.

According to the Port Technology report, organizations such as the Port of Rotterdam are setting the model for this new age of hyper-connected and intelligent port operations. That Dutch city has its own centralized system to make sure operations at every stage are handled optimally. Data transfer is an essential step of moving goods through ports, and the information can't just go between companies - government authorities also need accurate logs to get items through customs. Looping regulators into any advanced data system is a valuable consideration.

The eBook also recommended port managers invest in risk management solutions as they enter a more digitized age. Collecting, storing and transferring more content than ever are worthy goals, but the creation of vast data reserves presents an opportunity for breaches or theft. Companies should make sure they're not overextending themselves as they become more IT-driven.

A cargo ship unloads in a port.More intelligent, effective ports are on the docket for global transportation.
Authorities realize their role

The government of Canada recently announced a plan to review and update its Port Authority operations, striving to become more attuned to the present and future shipping industry, rather than stuck in the past. These moves on the part of federal agencies are important, as it's possible for these large entities to become the bottlenecks in modern logistics if they don't become more efficient.
The Canadian project is part of an overall infrastructure modernization effort targeting 2030. The ambitious strategy is meant to be an overall lift on Canada's trading economy and environmental well-being. Considering the continued impact and importance of global seaborne trade, port operations will be an essential part of this project. The specific goals for ports include governance and operational innovation, meeting corporate interests halfway in their quest for modernization.
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