African ports could be strengthened by smart technology adoption-Huawei
Fred Omotara, Lagos
With 38 of its 54 states being coastal or island states, Africa is home to over 100 port facilities. However, few of these ports operate optimally, lacking fully integrated rail and road system which enables all of the operational elements to ‘speak’ to each other, says Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.
“Ports are where cargo begins and ends it journey. Ports must operate every single day and delays in any part of the process of arrivals and departures, shoreside operations, horizontal transport, yard and gate operations and tractor trailer transport can result in enormous financial loss.
“In Tianjin, Huawei has used cloud based centralised dispatching to increase port-wide efficiency,” says Jiang Kaimin, senior marketing expert at Huawei’s customs and port business.
With the introduction of an intelligent horizontal transport system, the port has resolved the disadvantages of existing systems, with autonomous vehicles travelling multiple paths through the port complex, safely and efficiently.
Precision positioning allows for 90 percent of quay cranes successfully aligning on the first try, maximising time and operational efficiency.
African ports can benefit enormously from digital transformation and adopting smart systems that will keep supply chains moving smoothly. The digitisation of Africa’s ports is a logical solution to meet the increasing demand of increased freight transport volumes.
Thus, it will enhance Africa’s trade efficiency, investment attraction, and bring about huge economic and social development.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) is another important factor in the need to increase port efficiencies. “As well as handling the additional volume of regional trade, improving port operations through digital transformation will further enable Africa to integrate in global markets,” Yang Chen, vice president of Huawei Southern Africa Region explained.
Increased use of 5G, AI and AR technologies in the scenario-based solutions such as those introduced by Huawei into Tianjin Port can improve not only portside operations but can also assist in the overall integration of transport nodes into and out of ports, which is currently a weakness in a number of African countries.