“There is clearly a recognition and desire from the (Chilean) government to leverage digitalization to make the supply chain more efficient. Automation, digitalization and other advanced technologies are gathering pace in the maritime industry (shipping, ports, supply chains), although it is more visible or even common in other industries,” says Dinesh Sharma, Director Drewry Maritime Advisors, in exclusive interview with MundoMaritimo.
The analyst presented the maritime-port industry 4.0 challenges and outlooks before the Chilean community in a seminar hosted by the Chilean Maritime and Port Chamber, along with the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, where the main topic was digitalization of the supply chain. “Digitalization of the supply chain is a challenging process, with several stakeholders, each with their own agenda. There is the question of ensuring the digital chain is secure, of ownership of data and information, willingness to share data and information. There is, therefore, the need for effective dialogue to ensure both the private and public sectors can come together to create a new (and secure) digital infrastructure. The CAMPORT conference was a good opportunity with the minister and the stakeholders present to discuss these challenges,” said Sharma.
Looking at the local industry, “Industry 4.0” covers a large range of technologies. “Big data / Internet of Things: digital data storage, analysis, management and processing is the one with the greatest potential in the short term for adoption in any industry. Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence still has some way to go,” explains Sharma, who also identifies that the biggest challenge will be managing the various stakeholders and the government will have a big role to play to push this drive for digitalization and efficiency.
Chile and the world
In the case of Chile, ports are congested and constrained in potential for expansion being surrounded by major cities. There is, therefore, a need to either make the existing ports more efficient and productive or develop new ones. There is also the need to develop efficient road network as this seems to be a major bottleneck at present. “During the conference various key issues and challenges were identified including institutional structure, infrastructure, cabotage etc.,” said Sharma.
As an example of successfull digitalization, ports globally (Port of Hamburg, Port of Singapore, Port of Algeciras, Port of Rotterdam), have developed their digital strategy and are increasingly adopting digitalisation to make their processes more efficient. “Going forward it is processes and not assets will drive industry efficiencies. The Chilean market will also need to develop their digital strategy to identify areas to enhance efficiency, security, sustainability,” added the specialist.
It will be up to combined efforts between public entities and private companies to engage in partnerships that will result in the further development of digitalization of the supply chain. Investing in technologies and technologial applications and joining forces for greater efficiency is the only road that will lead to success.
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