Technology is the backbone of Malta Freeport’s activities and is contributing significantly to the Company’s renowned reputation for excellence.
The highly demanding business climate in which Malta Freeport operates and the severe challenges that lie ahead of it have spurred the Freeport to implement the most advanced Terminal Operating System (TOS) available world-wide, the Navis N4. This system revolutionised the container handling process and is significantly boosting the Freeport’s standing as one of the leading hubs in the Mediterranean.
Navis N4 system controls the entire logistical operation of each container vessel on a real-time basis. The system provides the Freeport with accurate and real-time information for planning, managing, and tracking container movements throughout the container terminal facilities. Navis N4 Version 3.7.17 is maximising efficiency within the Terminal area automatically calculating where each container should be located and directing trucks to the nearest one to ensure that the loading operation is carried out as quickly as possible. The Company recently upgraded Navis N4 to Version 3.8.18, which will enable the yard to operate the new generation of semi-automated RTGs. This system also supports future growth at the container terminals while reducing operational overheads and maintaining customer-focused services. It also empowers Malta Freeport to reach new technological heights.
The Company has also implemented real-time specialised geo-spatial software focused on gaining maximum utilisation from container handling equipment by taking real-time decisions including automated job-stepping. Malta Freeport Terminals also installed the Real-Time Location System on the trucks to generate accurate and real-time information about the physical location and status of the Company’s assets. This is boosting the efficiency level at the Port by reducing the distances travelled by the trucks. Malta Freeport’s key goal is to provide secure, reliable, faster, and more efficient services enabling its clients to maintain their schedule integrity.
The Terminals’ computerisation systems are tracking all activity at the Terminals since all container handling equipment is tasked by the control computer system via highly advanced Radio Data Terminal links enabling fast transmission of data and real-time monitoring of operations. A digital radio communication system was installed to facilitate voice communication throughout the Terminals. The Freeport’s clients have the ability to access the system on-line, thus giving them real-time information for the entire container handling cycle.
Malta Freeport enjoys efficient real-time communication links through the Electronic Data Interchange established with its client. The below message types and versions are being provided, namely:
- Baplie 2.2 (Provides VGM Info) – If required Malta Freeport provides Baplie ver 1.5 / 2.0 / 2.2 to vessel berthed alongside
- COARRI 1.6 (Load Report Message Provides VGM Info)
- COARRI Progressive ver 1.6 (Load Report Message Provides VGM Info)
- CODECO 1.6 (provides VGM Info)
- TPFREP x.x
- IFTSAI x.x
Automation and digitalisation taking place within the shipping industry play a crucial role in container terminals’ future operations. The challenges that lie ahead are significant but careful planning and implementation processes can surmount them and will allow terminals to unlock their full potential. Malta Freeport Terminals is undertaking a remarkable investment in this direction for the connectivity to all present and future movable assets such as quayside cranes, rubber-tyred gantry cranes, and yard equipment creating a low-latency roaming wireless backbone.
The Freeport used the Fluidmesh system not only on the Quayside Cranes but also on the Rubber-Tyed Gantry Cranes’ fleet as it complements the IoT and Big Data Projects currently being undertaken. The Freeport is now also in a position to propagate full wireless coverage in areas that were previously challenging.
Malta Freeport is pro-actively looking at big data projects and IoT platforms and is enhancing its operations to make the most of the space available in the most efficient and safe manner. In this respect, the Big Data project together with the Terminal Operating System (TOS) and the other applications that the Freeport has developed will play a fundamental role for Malta Freeport to consolidate its position within the Mediterranean containerisation market.