The Port of Virginia's terminal management company has replaced its 25-year-old legacy system for automating activities at its Norfolk International Terminal with modern software that officials say will enhance efficiency.
The Navis N4 terminal operating system automates all terminal functions, such as assigning the order for containers to be lifted by cranes on and off vessels, and directing trucks to pick up and drop off locations. It provides real-time data on activities within the port and is expected to improve equipment utilization, gate efficiency, event monitoring and inventory management.
Virginia International Terminals and Navis spent two years planning and installing the new system, which went live ahead of its July 4 service date, the Port of Virginia said Friday. The other main container terminal at the port, leased from APM Terminals, already has a terminal operating system with robust functionality.
The Port of Virginia has experienced strong cargo growth the past two years, but, like several ports around the country, has had trouble getting shuttle trucks in and out of container terminals without delay. The N4 system, along with a host of other steps taken in recent months, is expected to improve yard and gate productivity.
“As volumes increase we must have technology solutions in place that can help us plan, manage and forecast operational needs. Further, this technology upgrade will operate in unison with a program of long-term capital upgrades,” John Reinhart, the port's CEO, said in a statement.
Navis and port information technology staff worked hard to minimize disruption to terminal operations during the transition to the new software and will provide full-time support to the terminal during the start-up phase, the port said.
Last summer, Maher Terminal at Port Elizabeth, N.J., had trouble installing new Navis software for automating operations and temporarily resorted to more manual methods to manage cargo flows. It was temporarily forced to divert some ships to other container terminals in the port.