The Synchronizer pilot results in shorter idle times at Algeciras Port


The Port of Algeciras, a global maritime hub and one of the main container ports in Europe has been running a pilot project together with Maersk Line, APMT, Marmedsa, and PortXchange to optimize port calls and thereby reduce emissions. The aim of the pilot is to improve the end2end port call process, including Just In Time Arrivals, through the implementation of the PortXchange Synchronizer platform. 

Algeciras Port, located at the Strait of Gibraltar, is the first Spanish and fourth European Port in terms of total cargo. With more than 110,000 ships/year crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and 7,500 ha of deep and sheltered waters, Algeciras promotes a one-stop-shop port concept for vessel services (bunkering, repairs, ship supplies, and others). Given the substantial number of Maersk Line calls at Algeciras, this Port was selected for the pilot.

Communication standards

All involved parties have a shared interest in improving collaboration and making port calls more efficient. The pilot has been running for approximately six weeks and resulted in improvements in idle time on departure and arrival of Maersk vessels. These results were achieved through the standardized data exchange and timely notifications about the planning status. PortXchange Synchronizer applies communication standards from the Taskforce Port Call Optimization to ensure everyone involved in the port call process speaks the same language.

Improved situational awareness 

PortXchange Synchronizer provides a centralized point for sharing real-time data to align all players during the port call. All users have an overview of the entire process and are immediately informed about any schedule changes. This common situational awareness helps respond quickly to the changing situation and make necessary adjustments in the planning. 

Just in time arrivals 

The time that the ship is requested to arrive at the pilot boarding place depends on different factors, including the availability of the berth, ocean conditions, pilots, and tugs, amongst others. During the last 48 hours before arriving at the port of call, many changes might happen. Timely updates between port authorities, terminals, shipping lines, and agents during these last hours are crucial for efficient port calls. However, if something changes at the last minute in practice, the vessel usually doesn’t have enough time to respond. PortXchange Synchronizer aims to resolve this challenge by showing planning updates as soon as they occur. This allows the vessel to optimize its speed and decrease unnecessary emissions, for example, if the ETA berth is rescheduled to a later hour.  

Synchronization of port operations

Francisco de Los Santos, Chief Information and Innovation Officer from the Algeciras Port Authority, is excited about the project: “Synchronization of port operations from a holistic perspective is key for Port of Algeciras competitiveness. With this goal in mind, we apply international standards to speak the same language and combine advanced tools like cloud computing, machine learning, and API to automate real-time data sharing and collaboration among all parties involved in a Port Call process. Although we have a local Port Collaboration platform in place, we are making efforts to remain “technology agnostic” and be ready to collaborate with any platform which can add value to the business. This pilot with PortXchange Synchronizer is a real example of collaboration and business focus. A step further to make port logistics more data-driven, transparent, efficient, and sustainable. “

Henrik Petersen, Head of Marine Maersk Line SEULOC, also acknowledges the potential of the pilot: “With PortXchange Synchronizer we see the possibility to optimize the port calls and berth replacement maneuvers which finally results in the idle time reduction. Having all actors using the platform maximizes its value. So the commitment and participation of the whole port community are essential for achieving the desired results.”

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