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From Vopak: Digitizing port rotation by digitizing terminal performance

In a presentation from Vopak at Navigate 2024, Pieter Lek, VP of Digital Solutions at Vopak, highlighted the complexities of modern port operations. Pieter’s insights shed light on Vopak’s journey as a global leader in the industry towards digital transformation and the challenges encountered along the way.

One of the key challenges that Pieter emphasized is the multifaceted nature of port rotations. He demonstrated the complex involvement of numerous stakeholders in port operations through a metro scheme. There are always at least 9 actors involved in port rotation, each of whom has a different idea of an optimal rotation. This complexity necessitates a holistic approach to optimization, considering various conflicting interests and priorities.

To address these challenges, Vopak embarked on a digital transformation journey aimed at enhancing terminal performance and efficiency. Pieter underscored the importance of digitizing processes and capturing relevant data points to enable informed decision-making.

By implementing tablets for data capture and modernizing back-office systems, Vopak has signifcantly empowered their operators to streamline operations and improve data accuracy.

Together with Teqplay, Vopak has also leveraged external data sources and invited others in the ecosystem to use their data in return, encouraging the development of a single point of truth. This collaborative approach has enabled Vopak to gain insights into vessel movements, optimize berth utilization, and anticipate operational challenges proactively.

However, Pieter also highlighted several challenges encountered during this journey. Legacy systems, varying levels of digital maturity among stakeholders, and legal constraints have posed significant hurdles to seamless digitization. And unlike other industries, there is no real port rotation conductor to smooth out the process with various actors, which further complicates efforts to streamline operations and eliminate waste effectively. Outside the difficulty with navigating complexities, there is also the challenge of trust among stakeholders when it comes to the sharing of data.

Despite these challenges, Vopak remains committed to their digital transformation journey, recognizing the transformative potential of data-driven insights in optimizing port operations. By fostering collaboration, embracing technological innovation, and advocating for industry-wide standards, Vopak aims to overcome these challenges and emerge as a leader in port efficiency and sustainability.

All blog posts from Navigate 2024