Yousef Al Arabi (Abu Dhabi)
The port automation market in the United Arab Emirates is growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 18% during the period 2022-2027, according to the report issued by MarkNtel Advisors, a research and studies organization.
The report obtained by the Union confirmed that port automation is a coherent technology to create smart solutions for the orderly control of container traffic and trade flow at the port, thereby increasing the port’s capacity and efficiency.
He pointed out that automated gates are more efficient than traditional gates in reducing human error and improving gate performance, as well as contributing to real-time data collection, which supports data-based decision making.
Automation systems send large amounts of data to the port’s control center and proactively help employees report and resolve operational issues in real time.
The report indicated that the increasing complexity of port operations in the United Arab Emirates, due to the activity of handling and cargo traffic, has led to a wide diversification and intensification of port infrastructure and technology.
He pointed out that the ports in the UAE are eager to adopt more technological and automated solutions such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, etc. integrate to increase productivity.
The adoption of digital technology has made ports in the UAE more dependent on automated solutions, with a connected supply chain and limited workforce to carry out operations and as a result, several investments are being made in port automation to improve the efficiency of seaports.
The report pointed out that Abu Dhabi Ports and the French group CMA CGM signed a 35-year contract in September 2021 under the terms of the agreement, under which a new semi-automated terminal will be established in Khalifa Port, with investments of $154 million for the project.
The new terminal is scheduled to be delivered in 2024, in the first phase, with an initial berth length of 800 meters and an annual capacity of 1.8 million TEUs.
In addition, state-owned and private port operators collaborate with IT solution providers to improve operational efficiency and provide solutions for the continuous and smooth operation of cranes, vehicles, containers and closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs).
The report highlighted that despite the impact of the “Covid-19” pandemic in 2020 on global trade flows, all medical goods and materials were made widely available during the pandemic with the help of efficient supply chains in the UAE. He noted that the epidemic also showed the importance of ports adopting digital transformation, as the closure negatively affected sea freight volumes, which in turn reinforced the need to develop competencies to remain competitive.
In addition, the increasing focus of port authorities on streamlining their operations and promoting the safe movement of containers and cargo is expected to promote the adoption of new technologies in ports.
To combat the epidemic, the country has also increased investments in port development and its logistics sectors to boost trade routes and thus strengthen its efforts against the crisis.
In July 2021, Dubai Customs enhanced the digital transformation of government institutions by implementing the automation of entry and exit certificates at seaports, in collaboration with DB World – Emirates Region.
This initiative has helped customers file their claims after exiting the export and merchandise without submitting physical paperwork.
This initiative supports Dubai’s paperless strategy, as 700 documents are stamped daily at the customer service center, which means more than 250 thousand documents annually. The electronic entry and exit confirmation function helps to facilitate customs operations, especially in relation to the submission of refund claims at Dubai Customs This saves time and costs while promoting the export of all types of goods.
Automation and digital transformation in ports
Automation and digital transformation is one of the solutions driving ports to adopt advanced technologies in the maritime industry to reduce operational costs, reduce human error and collect real-time data, and port automation enables data-driven decisions. Port automation improves port infrastructure and cargo handling technology, ensures security and safety, manages container traffic and reduces carbon emissions.
This automated infrastructure provides highly reliable and performance-enhanced solutions for port operations with a wide range of applications.
Advantages of port automation:
1- Simplify operations
2- Providing data
3- Reduce the cost
4- Improving security and safety
5- Increase the carrying capacity
6- Reduction of carbon emissions