Ships are the backbone of the trade industry. In fact, approximately 90% of all products that end up in the hands of consumers has been transported by ship. On any given day, 20M containers are transported across the oceans. Shipping is also one of the most cost effective ways to transport goods, meaning there is no slowdown in seaport operations. In the United States alone, shipping is a $700B industry, and that number is expected to grow to $1.3B by 2023.
Seaport directors face a variety of challenges in monitoring day to day operations. Their current process involves employing individuals to watch for ships going in and out of the port manually with binoculars. As a result, many ships go unreported, costing ports hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In an effort to reduce extraneous costs, some ports have begun to adopt smart port technology. Rotterdam employed IoT solutions which have led to around $80K savings and allowed for more ships to dock in the port each day. Seaports that adopt emerging IoT technology to help manage and alert on ships going in and out of ports can mitigate costs, increase security and improve operations to yield greater results.
Using IoT Data Analytics and Visualization
Seaport directors rely on human vision to account for the volumes of vessels that arrive in ports daily. Naturally, this leads to ships being missed, which translates to economic losses for seaports. In order to better manage seaports, operators can leverage GIS mapping software to have a more complete picture of activity in their ports.
Live Earth is an IoT visualization platform that consolidates existing data streams onto a single screen. Seaport directors can equip their ships with GPS devices and visualize the location and movement of their vessels in real-time on Live Earth. This helps them better monitor the exact location of their ships with more concrete time estimates of when a ship will arrive in port.
The platform also comes with out-of-the-box data layers such as weather feeds, which provide insight to weather events happening all over the world. Seaport directors can monitor storms as they develop, which empowers them to better handle weather events as they arise and discern if a storm is threatening one of their vessels.
To eliminate the issues of ships being missed as they enter or exit a port, seaport operators can use Live Earth’s real-time alerting feature. The proprietary software comes with a Shapes tool, which allows users to create shapes around their ports and use these customized shapes as geofences to generate alerts through the platform.
For example, a seaport director can draw several boxes that designate the docks where ships arrive and exit. The user can then use the Alerts feature to select one, or multiple shapes, and receive real-time notifications (via text, email, or in-platform) when an object enters or exits the shape(s). The entity that triggered the alert will show with pulsating rings, making it easy for a user to spot where alert activity is happening. Additionally, a user can even choose to have a noise play when an alert is triggered, making it easy to identify when a notification has happened even if a user has looked away from the screen.
All alerts are stored in an incidents panel to quickly retrieve a historical alert. Live Earth’s interactive timeline provides a way for seaport directors to have historical analysis. By using the timeline, they can scroll back minutes, hours, or days to watch activity in their ports. This provides another layer of awareness and insight that they can use to improve operations.
New Smart Port IoT Technology Empowers Seaport Operators to Improve Efficiency
There are no signs of a slowdown in business for seaports. With so much of the world’s goods being transported via ships, seaports need new technology that integrates with their existing systems and provides them with greater insight of daily activities. Ports that have adopted IoT devices have already reported on the benefits.
Live Earth’s IoT visualization platform provides seaport directors with contextual data, such as weather feeds, to reduce threats to their operations. Additionally, real-time alerts, incidents and an interactive timeline enhances awareness for seaport commissioners, thereby improving security of cargo, compliance and communication, resource utilization, and satisfaction of tenants. Having real-time information supports faster decision-making, which allows seaport directors to make changes to their operations to mitigate costs and improve safety and security of their ships and cargo.