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Author's profile photo Petra Diessner

Making Seaports More Efficient Also Makes Them More Competitive

The Port of Hamburg, one of the largest and most important sea ports in the world, has an interesting challenge.

The Hamburg Port Authority expects that within the next 15 years, it will more than double its current cargo capacity of 9 million containers per year to over 18 million. But due to geographic constraints, the port cannot significantly expand its physical operation. How will Hamburg Port Authority support its growth ambitions?

There is in fact only one way they can do this. The existing infrastructure facilities must be used intelligently and efficiently. But that’s not such an easy thing to do. Like most large seaports, the Port of Hamburg is serviced by many competing businesses. For instance there are 312 carriers, 220 warehouse and logistics providers, 82 terminals, 103 other service providers including parking lot operators, over a hundred cargo and container service providers, and numerous other businesses that operate out of the port. Also, there are 43 partner ports and adjacent businesses. All this port activity employees over 150,000 people.

Doubling the volume of cargo moving through the port has huge implications for the entire ecosystem, including City of Hamburg infrastructure beyond the port itself. For instance, current cargo volume comes from 30,000 to 40,000 trucks passing to and from the port every day. Doubling cargo volume will raise the amount of truck traffic. But there is limited space for more parking lots, warehouses, and terminals. Only so many trucks can pass over bridges in and around the port. Doubling the amount of cargo also means more ships, more marine and cargo services, and more businesses using the port infrastructure.

The Hamburg Port Authority realized that to accomplish their goal, they needed to more efficiently coordinate traffic and services using the port infrastructure. To do this, they adopted SAP’s cloud-based Networked Logistics Hub solution. Supported by a telematics offering from T-Systems, SAP NetworkedLogistics Hub enables the Hamburg Port Authority to consolidate data related to all port activity into one resource. All business entities that use the port infrastructure are able to access this resource to more effectively manage their traffic and workflow. One of the greatest challenges to the success of this approach is convincing the many entities within the Port of Hamburg ecosystem to make their data part of the shared infrastructure data set.

The Hamburg Port Authority began with a pilot phase in which they used their own data, plus data from several carries and parking lot operators. Now they are live, and moving forward, they are adding data from more transport companies, container terminals, depots and traffic flow. Transport companies are sharing the data, and truckers are using it for optimum routing through the port, scheduling, and for finding parking. But how does this make the Port of Hamburg more competitive?

The same applies to other service providers in the ecosystem. Warehouse and terminal operators will be able to optimize their facilities; parking lot operators will operate existing parking facilities at higher capacity. All of the businesses in the Port of Hamburg ecosystem benefit through smarter port logistics and more efficient cargo handling. That makes Port of Hamburg a more attractive
port for moving cargo, which makes the Port of Hamburg more competitive.

Please also see the related press release of SAP and T-System’s joint offering at

For real-time updates on SAP’s point of view for the Internet of Things, check out the official Twitter account @SAP_IoT.

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      Author's profile photo Petra Diessner
      Petra Diessner
      Blog Post Author
      Author's profile photo Pushkar Ranjan
      Pushkar Ranjan

      Love the way the story is evolving in an excellent direction for both HPA and SAP. Thank you.