Associated British Ports to optimise Vehicle Terminal Management with INFORM

Members Corner

Source: INFORM, 2021-07-01

Associated British Ports (ABP) has chosen internationally active optimisation specialist INFORM to provide a scalable terminal operating system solution. With the aim of transforming ABP into the one-stop store for the vehicle's journey from manufacturer to destination, the collaboration kicks off at the Port of Southampton.

Among ABP’s 21 ports, Southampton stands out as the UK’s number one vehicle handling port, handling around 900,000 vehicles per year. Serving the company’s mission to “Keep Britain Trading,” the project’s goal is to provide a streamlined, fully integrated, terminal operating vehicle management system which covers all port side operations in a single application, including the planning and optimisation of compound, resource, work, and damage management. In addition to ensuring holistic transparency within the company, the integration of other stakeholders and optimised planning will also play an important role in reducing costs and improving efficiency in overall operations.

Brian Steeds, ABP Head of Automotive, added: “ABP is investing in a range of digitalisation upgrades to enhance its automotive offer. The new Automotive Terminal Operating System in Southampton will bring a wealth of benefits to our customers by enabling efficient compound management, inventory linking and additional services with real time data visibility for customers via a dedicated customer portal.”

With the new system in place, information about the condition, location, destination, and other modalities of each vehicle will be available at all times and easily documented by multiple teams. For this purpose, the new software will be linked with brand new 5G compatible hand-held devices for vehicle data capture utilising ABP’s new 5G infrastructure that will be in place prior to Inform Go Live. The IT systems of customers and partners, such as customs systems to enable digital inventory linking, can be fully integrated into INFORM’s cloud solution, providing an improved customer experience. In addition, algorithms will provide ABP with real-time decision-making support in optimal planning and efficient allocation of resources, such as parking areas or stevedores. Above that, a comprehensive, flexible vehicle loading and unloading plan, that can quickly adapt to unforeseen vehicle availability issues, can be created automatically.

Designed as a scalable solution which can be extended to enable the capacity to manage an increased number of vehicles, in the future, INFORM’s Vehicle Logistics system can be used as a basis for increasing ABP’s added value towards its customers who rent space for vehicle yards from ABP. “For example, many of our customers around the world deploy our system to also optimize workshop and transportation processes,” said Hartmut Haubrich, Director Vehicle Logistics at INFORM. “We look forward to working with ABP and driving the digitalisation of their terminal processes.”

Alastair Welch, ABP Regional Director at the Port of Southampton, commented: “The Port of Southampton is the UK’s number one port for vehicle handling and offers excellent access to the global marketplace. In addition, from this summer, Southampton will become Britain’s first port to implement a private 5G network, which will bring a range of benefits to ABP customers.
“Southampton is an important hub for the automotive industry and plays a key role in supporting sustainable supply chains. With this latest investment, we hope to optimise the services we provide and progress on our journey to transform Southampton into a smart port of the future.” ABP opted for INFORM after being able to conduct a virtual reference visit to National Vehicle Distribution (NVD), the Irish leader in new vehicle logistics, which has been using the system for several years.

Brian Steeds, ABP Head of Automotive, added: “ABP selected INFORM as our partner because of their expertise in building state-of-the-art software solutions and we look forward to working together to deliver this exciting project.”

About Associated British Ports
ABP is the UK’s leading ports group with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.
The company contributes £7.5bn to the UK economy every year and supports 119,000 jobs. Our current investment program promises to further increase our contribution to regional economies around the UK.

ABP:
• Handles over 1.5m vehicles every year
• Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
• Has 1.4m square metres of covered storage
• Has 1,000 hectares of open storage
• Handles around 90m t of cargo each year
• Owns 5,000 hectares of port estate
• Has 87 km of quay


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