How IoT analytics at the edge keeps shipping lines moving

By | 2 minute read | August 15, 2016

Shipping port

At the Port of Cartagena, time is always a factor – we are operational 24 hours a day without stopping. Strategically located as an entry point to the Panama Canal, the Port of Cartagena is one of the busiest ports in the Americas, shipping goods to almost 600 ports in 136 countries and handling over 40 million tons of cargo per year.

With a recent expansion, our canal has doubled cargo capacity to ships with more than 14,000 containers which inspired us to evaluate our processes, technologies and equipment.  We determined that new technology could improve our existing equipment monitoring and alleviate costly downtime delays.

The value of data changes over time

Through the years we’ve monitored engine temperature, engine speed, and run hours which improved efficiency and lowered maintenance costs. While a historical view of our business assisted in decision making, we believe that further digitizing our business to capture data in real-time gives us the ability to immediately act on our data to keep our port continuously operational. To combine instant and historical views of our operations, we turned to IBM and Cisco for immediate insight into the health of our equipment locally at the edge, and our overall operations in the cloud for further, later analysis. Now analytics are performed closer to the point of collection, helping us deeply understand and act on critical data both in the moment and over time, resulting in better insights, reduced costs and increased control. The Cisco and IBM solution allows us to forecast equipment failures and keep our machines running effectively by ensuring we get ahead of equipment degradation with needed maintenance.

Milliseconds are often critical and we can’t always spare the extra time it takes to send data to the cloud and back. Thanks to the many technological innovations our port has embraced we have immediate insight into the health and operations of more than 50 industrial cranes and 180 trucks. Cisco data processing and analytics at the edge will allow us to be more productive in our maintenance processes and ensure 24×7 operations. In addition, we’ll be able to leverage the IBM Watson IoT Platform for more advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics to help ensure our fleet runs even more efficiently, keeping vessels and cargo moving smoothly in and out of our port.

These are the types of outcomes we have been unable to achieve until now.  Now we can address the new demands being placed on us across our distributed data and infrastructure.  The power of IBM and Cisco working together to provide a holistic solution that addresses all our needs allows us to take the most relevant data from our business and put it to work for us in the best possible way.