More investment in cloud-based technology, the rise of smart technology, accelerated automation adoption and an increased focus on sustainable operations among Navis’ top predictions for 2021.
The provider of operational technologies and services expect these will be the most impactful for meaningful operations in the coming year.
Andy Barrons, chief strategy officer at Navis, said: “Power usage efficiency, electrification and more eco-friendly fuels are part of the sustainability mission, however, the software behind the equipment are an important piece of the puzzle to help terminals extend their reach towards higher sustainability goals.
“There was already a trend toward more green operations pre-pandemic, and now that we have seen the true impact of excess emissions, I would expect consideration for the environment in supply chain strategies will become more prominent in the coming year.”
Companies have been forced to re-evaluate their logistics strategies to ensure entire assets are being used to deliver value for the business and the environment.
In the first half of 2020, decreased traffic at congested ports and terminals around the world had a positive impact on the air quality and the environment.
The rise of innovative technology to help terminals monitor operations to run more efficiently and the use of rail instead of trucks for transport would help ports and terminals to achieve more sustainable outcomes, Navis stated.
Automation has also been on the rise for several years, however terminals have more rapidly turned to the technology to up level productivity and the changing industry landscape to remain competitive.
Navis’ Automation 2020: Perceptions, challenges and opportunities for Container Terminal Automation customer survey showed that 94% believe it will be important for terminals to automate operations in the next three to five years.
Additionally, 70% of terminals believe automation could increase productivity by 15% or more with increased operational safety (82%) and lower overall terminal operation costs (73%) listed as its biggest benefits.
The same customer survey showed that 94% of respondents agreed that artificial intelligence and machine learning would be critical to improve optimisation at automated terminals at some level in the near future.
Smarter technology for inland and marine logistics have proved valuable this year thanks to enhanced invisibility and predictability in operations as well as the ability to collect and analyse data to help stakeholders make better business decisions.
Navis noted that these offerings, combined with other innovative technology, will help terminals maximise operational results across the inland and ocean shipping industries.
The company also found that market interest in cloud-based solutions is on the rise, especially as on-site management of terminal operations has decreased this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Younus Aftab, chief product officer at Navis, said: “We’ve seen the cloud-based technology trend in the ocean shipping industry increase exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and expect it to continue to rise next year.
“Terminals are realising they can perform nearly all tasks remotely, which allows them to streamline workflow, cut down on costs and prioritise safety for their staff, leading to more reliable and stbale operations to best serve their customers.”
Navis’ customer survey, entitled Understanding your terminal strategy with Cloud-based technologies, found that interest in these solutions had risen nearly 40% compared to 2019 (54% vs. 93% in 2020).
Of those asked, 79% had an existing timeline to move or were considering moving to the cloud.