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PortXchange and Greater Houston Port Bureau embark on five-year digitalization partnership

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PortXchange and Greater Houston Port Bureau embark on five-year digitalization partnership. Image: Unsplash
PortXchange and Greater Houston Port Bureau embark on five-year digitalization partnership. Image: Unsplash
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The Netherlands-based digital solutions provider for predictable and sustainable shipping, has agreed a five-year partnership with Greater Houston Port Bureau for the adoption and further development of its proprietary PortXchange system, a collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform.

In June 2020, PortXchange and the Port Bureau announced the first U.S. trial in Houston with more than 20 maritime companies involved in the Texas integrated chemical cluster. This trial was subsequently expanded to include the Port of Houston Authority, which has 2 separate terminals dedicated to the handling of cargo containers.

The shipping industry is coming under increased scrutiny to implement digitalization to improve port turnaround efficiencies, reduce overall expenses and mitigate climate impact. The PortXchange software is considered the best product to cater to the specific needs of the whole port community.

The agreement between PortXchange and the Port Bureau is a five-year reseller partnership and comes after a 12-month trial period. PortXchange will fully integrate the Port Bureau’s current HarborLights Vessel Tracking System into PortXchange platform, providing real-time vessel scheduling information sourced directly from the Houston Pilots. PortXchange will also continue to build several features with bespoke functionality to fit the specific needs of the Houston port community, maintain the digital infrastructure, onboard new users and facilitate APIs. Most of these new products and services will be provided through the Port Bureau, which will act as the voice of the port community.

Founded in 1929, the Port Bureau is a member driven, non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting commerce and cooperation in the maritime industry. The Port Bureau operates the Maritime Exchange of Texas maintaining critical vessel movement data for the deep draft ports of Texas, including the busiest port in the U.S.

Sjoerd de Jager, PortXchange’s managing director, said: “This five-year engagement is a result of the perseverance and commitment of a large group of like-minded participants keen to decrease port turnaround time and increase efficiency of port calls. Foremost is the Port Bureau, which embraced the idea that digitalization and scheduling transparency is the future of any port and we look forward to extending our collaboration in the Houston port community.”

CAPT Bill Diehl, USCG (Ret.), president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, said: “Digitization and data are key for the port of Houston region to increase predictability, improve efficiency, and remain globally competitive. We often refer to our Port Bureau members as competitive partners because they work together to solve problems that affect the entire port, not just their own businesses. By partnering with PortXchange to offer data sharing platforms tailored to the unique needs of the port of Houston region, we are giving our industry members another tool for collaboration.”

Roger Guenther, executive director at Port Houston said: “I am always encouraged when our port community continuously seeks to secure resources and services for the greater good of the Houston Ship Channel. I am optimistic that this program will help further enhance and build on the efficiency of vessels calling the Port of Houston”

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Maritime

APM Terminals and ZPMC enter into strategic alliance

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APM Terminals and ZPMC enter into strategic alliance. Image: APM Terminals
APM Terminals and ZPMC enter into strategic alliance. Image: APM Terminals
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A memorandum of understanding between the companies will change equipment purchasing from a purely transactional process to a more strategic collaboration with strong focus on automation.

With automation being one of the key components of APM Terminals’ strategy of “Safer, Better, Bigger”, it is critical for the company to have access to adequate, state-of-the-art automated equipment for its diverse terminal portfolio. However, the common industry practice of transactional customer-supplier relationships has proven less effective in complex automation deployments that require a more integrated approach between APM Terminals and the supplier.

Therefore, APM Terminals is implementing a strategic alliancing framework, initiated with the signing of an Alliance Memorandum of Understanding with port equipment manufacturer ZPMC (Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company Limited). The focus of this memorandum is the joint development and deployment of a wide range of automated solutions, including automated container handling equipment.

Signed in October by APM Terminals CEO Morten Engelstoft and ZPMC Chairman and President Liu Chengyun in a virtual ceremony, the Memorandum of Understanding also includes an order for 18 Ship-to Shore (STS) Cranes and 9 Yard cranes across 6 terminals and the reservation of production slots for additional 25 STS cranes and 62 Yard cranes in the future.

“With this alliance, we are leveraging our 23 year-long relationship more effectively, in which APM Terminals demonstrates strong commitment towards ZPMC and in return receives prioritization of factory capacity, access to the best resources, active involvement in product development according to our needs and a commitment to maintain the relationship on long-term basis”, comments APM Terminals CEO Morten Engelstoft.

ZPMC’s automated equipment is already in operation in several of APM Terminals’ facilities, namely in Vado Ligure (Italy), Lazaro Cardenas (Mexico) and its latest automated terminal in Tangier, Morocco. Most recently, the company is also running a pilot with ZPMC’s Automated Straddle Carriers in its Aarhus (Denmark).

ZPMC Chairman and President, Mr Liu Chengyun highlighted the progress his company has already made in several domestic automation projects in China. “I hope these good experiences will now translate into even better results for APM Terminals, as we now embark on this strengthened collaboration based on innovation and co-development”, Mr Chengyun added.

As well as the automation focus of the Memorandum of Understanding, both parties expect the new framework to also spark closer collaboration in areas like safety, supply chain and decarbonisation.

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Maritime

Windpark Fryslan: world’s largest shallow water windfarm

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Windpark Fryslan: world’s largest shallow water windfarm. Image: Port of Amsterdam
Windpark Fryslan: world’s largest shallow water windfarm. Image: Port of Amsterdam
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Blades, towers, hubs: all kinds of wind turbine parts have recently been transported via the port of Amsterdam to the construction site of the Netherlands’ largest shallow water windfarm: Windpark Fryslan.

In October, the last turbine left the TMA Logistics terminal in the Amerikahaven. The windfarm – of 89 turbines in total – is now completely finished. Windpark Fryslân – which will supply about 380 MW of power to about 500,000 households – is the fifth large wind farm to be installed from this region.

IJmuiden region has made a major contribution to the realization of this largest wind farm on inland waterways. In this region, the facilities and knowledge are available to facilitate the logistics, assembly and production of components.

For example, in addition to the location of TMA Logistics, several locations are available in the ports of IJmuiden and Amsterdam to facilitate this. And with the arrival of the Energiehaven in IJmuiden in 2025, we can also facilitate the installation of the future offshore windfarms which are planned on the North Sea.

The Amsterdam port region is one of the world’s most important logistics hubs. With a freight throughput of 100 million tons per year, Amsterdam is one of the top five seaports in Western Europe. Its strategic and central location in Europe makes the port easily accessible and ensures excellent connections with all major European markets.

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A record at Port of Los Angeles as cargo volume exceeds 903,000 TEUs

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A record at Port of Los Angeles as cargo volume exceeds 903,000 TEUs. Image: Port of Los Angeles
A record at Port of Los Angeles as cargo volume exceeds 903,000 TEUs. Image: Port of Los Angeles
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The Port of Los Angeles processed 903,865 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units i.e., TEUs in September, the busiest September ever in the Port’s 114-year history. Year to date, overall cargo volume stands at 8,176,917 TEUs, an increase of 26% compared to 2020.

“Despite the global supply chain challenges, the Port of Los Angeles and its partners continue to deliver record amounts of cargo,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This is made possible by the extraordinary effort of our longshore workers, truck drivers, terminal operators and so many others on the waterfront and in our region’s warehouses. I’m grateful to all of them.

“Of particular note is the great work by BNSF and Union Pacific, which have reduced the rail backlog in half in the last month and by two-thirds over the last two months,” Seroka added. “We’ve got more work to do but we’ve made significant progress due to the collaborative efforts with our Class 1 railroads.”

September 2021 loaded imports reached 468,059 TEUs, about the same amount compared to the previous year. Loaded exports dropped 42% to 75,714 TEUs compared to the same period last year. It was the lowest number of exports since 2002.

Empty containers climbed to 360,092 TEUs, a jump of 28% compared to last year due to the continued demand in Asia. In total, September’s 903,865 TEUs was 2.3% above last September’s previous record of 883,625 TEUs.

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs across the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura. The Port of Los Angeles has remained open with all terminals operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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