We delved into the field of port automation by analysing the most relevant aspects and advances in this sector

15 July 2021

Digitalisation has become a fundamental prerequisite where it is essential to have a base of operational excellence

In recent years, the automation of port operations has undergone a series of advances and evolutions that favour the automation and digitalisation of logistics within this sector. There are currently around 60 semi- or fully-automated container terminals operating in different ports worldwide and approximately 100 projects planned with the 2030 horizon.

The highest concentration of this type of terminal is in Asia; although, in Europe, ports such as Rotterdam and Hamburg already have automated terminals. Spain also has semi-automated terminals in the ports of Barcelona, Algeciras and soon in Valencia.

Logistop has organised the webinar “Automation of port operations”, in which José Andrés Giménez, leader of the Logistop Port Logistics Working Group and Director of Port Logistics of the Valenciaport Foundation; Jesús Murgoitio, Project Director of the TECNALIA Foundation, Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA); Diego García, COO of the TTI Algeciras Container Terminal; Óscar Pernia, Director of Digitalisation and Automation of the TIL Group - Terminal Investment Limited; delved into the field of port automation, analysing the most relevant aspects and advances in this area. This debate was moderated by Tomás de la Vega, Managing Director of Logistop.

Automation, standardisation, and technological excellence

Jesús Murgoitio, in his presentation of the ESTIBA + 2022 project, led by Bergé, highlighted the critical role that digitalisation plays as a prerequisite for automation, as well as the importance of using standards in new implementations, setting as an example the use of communication protocols such as V2X, among other aspects.

Moreover, Diego García has emphasised the role of standardisation and continuous improvement as drivers for sustainable automation, giving particular relevance to maintaining discipline and collaboration between functional areas when handling exceptions and making decisions.

Finally, Óscar Pernia reflected on the impact of automation on the port logistics chain “benefits beyond improving competitiveness, among which greater efficiency, sustainability, prevention, and the security of operations stand out.”

Automation requires a base of operational excellence that uses digitalisation as a catalyst to connect processes, systems, and organisations. Like any other technological evolution, it must begin and end with people from the design phase. At TECNALIA, we continue to work on automation and digitalisation in the sector through different technologies.