PSA Noordzee Terminal in Antwerp, Belgium, started using its new operating terminal for straddle carriers (container transport vehicles) in early January 2016. The operating terminal provides drivers of these transport vehicles with instructions for lifting and positioning containers. ICT Group developed the software for the operating terminal, as well as the entire onshore middleware layer, which ensures seamless integration with PSA’s existing Terminal Operating System. PSA International carries out projects in ports in Asia, Europe and the United States, with PSA Singapore Terminals and PSA Antwerp as its flagship sites. In the domain of container handling, PSA is one of the world’s leading players. PSA Antwerp is the largest container terminal operator in Belgium, operating four container transshipment terminals and over 80% of Antwerp’s container transshipment.
Transshipment of containers in a port is a dynamic, critical process. Vessels must be loaded or unloaded in a minimum of time: after all, time is money! In each terminal, dozens of straddle carriers move containers to and fro between cranes and storage facilities. The same process is carried out for the loading and unloading of trains and trucks, and for inland shipping. The challenge is to ensure a smooth process with minimized turnaround times. Drivers of straddle carriers need to be issued reliable transport orders on time, process those orders and report their completion. Given the many thousands of transport orders that are processed, it is imperative that every single container is accounted for.
PSA and ICT Group started a joint pilot project in 2015. Once the requirement had been defined, an installation was set up on one straddle carrier. The new operating terminal and the new middleware layer must provide optimum support for the multitude of different operations a straddle carrier needs to be able to perform. To this end, the middleware developed by ICT – the new Equipment Control System (ECS) – integrates seamlessly with PSA’s existing Terminal Operating System (Cosmos). Once the pilot with the straddle carrier has been successfully completed, further implementations of ECS at the Antwerp container terminals are sure to follow. The software for the new operating terminal and the ECS system was developed and tested in 2015 in close collaboration with PSA’s experts in Antwerp. Thanks to the Java platform used by ICT, the SmartPortal technology and the use of an open communication protocol, PSA has a robust solution with maximum flexibility and maintainability, which is also a future-proof investment.