The new logistics software installed by INFORM at the Hamburg container terminal Burchardkai (CTB) has been successfully up and running during everyday operations since the beginning of June. The system TERMINALSTAR has been developed together with Hamburg Port Consulting GmbH (HPC). The software will replace the existing terminal IT and from this point forward will successively take over the entire turnover process of 2.6 million standard containers per year. This number is expected to increase to 5.2 million containers by the year 2014, as by then CTB will have expanded to become one of the largest container terminals in the world.
TERMINALSTAR optimises container movements, as well as the deployment of corresponding equipment (gantry cranes and straddle carriers), in real time. In addition, the software also takes over allocating storage slots for each container. Via intelligent optimisation algorithms, as well as through efficient use of space, CTB is able to increase the productivity of its turnover services.
The integration of the new software sets an important cornerstone in the expansion of the terminal. With TERMINALSTAR, CTB aspires to double container handling, without increasing the surface area of the terminal. For this reason, CTB is gradually upgrading its storage system. Compactly stacked storage blocks using fully automatic gantry cranes are replacing the old straddle carrier based system. This made the implementation of new logistics software essential since the current control system used by CTB is not suitable for controlling fully automatic gantry cranes.
With TERMINALSTAR, CTB is in a position to use completely new business strategies, as well as having extensive configuration possibilities to influence daily operational processes. Among other things, this includes pooling transport equipment. Previously the transport equipment was strictly assigned to the loading and unloading of a particular quay crane. Now it can be managed from the equipment pool and used where needed. In addition to controlling equipment, TERMINALSTAR also communicates with related administrative systems and exchanges data with these systems as required.
The introduction of TERMINALSTAR implied a great challenge in technical development. The integration of the new system was carried out without interrupting normal daily business operations and at a time when the terminal was working to its full capacity. For such “open heart surgery” it was necessary to link TERMINALSTAR to the existing control system via an interface and to maintain all movements within the different systems in a consistent manner. This ambitious solution now offers a great advantage. During the transition period, CTB is able to carry out shipment completion parallel on both systems and subsequently raise the turnover volume in the new operative control system. It is also possible to switch from one system to the other, as required, without interrupting the workflow.