Challenging market conditions can be an opportunity for terminals too
The year 2022 was a turbulent year, and that has not gone unnoticed in the logistics industry. But this terminal operating system provider found new opportunities in the same year. “As terminal operators sought answers to handle unpredictable shifts and changing regulations, demand for agile terminal operating system (TOS) solutions grew”, said Mark Bromley, Vice President of Rail Client Services, Tideworks Technology.
BRAND STORY – Tideworks is a US-based TOS provider that has made some impressive steps in the European continent too. In 2022, it was responsible for the automation of all of the UK terminals of Genesee & Wyoming Inc (G&W), to name an example. With Mark Bromley we looked back at the challenges, opportunities and success stories of 2022.
2022 was a turbulent year. How did you experience this turbulence?
In the past year, the commercial shipping and freight industries navigated economic uncertainty and ongoing challenges resulting from the return to “normalcy” post-pandemic. Events such as sudden increases in container volumes and limited space for holding extra cargo illuminated the importance of solutions that improve efficiency and visibility across operations.
Turbulence within the industry has given Tideworks perspective on how to enhance our solutions and teams to better serve our customers and partners. We remain committed to delivering best-in-class TOS solutions that meet our customers’ needs and make updates to our product suite to best support their changing needs.
OK, but you would think that terminals are less likely to make big investments in times of economic slowdown, or have you observed something else?
In some cases, the economic slowdown has driven more demand for technology solutions that help operators do more with less. Tideworks’ TOS products have been essential to support terminals as they work to improve turn times, reduce congestion and enhance safety even with a smaller workforce or limited budget. Our TOS also aims to reduce operating costs, minimise IT expenses and increase equipment utilization, which can directly improve productivity and revenue.
Investing in a TOS solution is one way for operators to stay ahead of unpredictable economic and supply chain changes and remain agile to adapt to sudden changes.
Which hurdles did you come across last year?
Navigating the changing market conditions was one, but another was the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA), and the legislative requirements that came along with this act. The act only briefly described key definitions and rules after the legislation passed.
We rapidly worked with our customers and partners to seek clarity and make updates to ensure our customers were compliant. We swiftly updated our Mainsail marine TOS to meet OSRA requirements and notified customers of any action required to comply with the rules.
Note from the editor: the OSRA is an act passed in the US, revising the requirements governing ocean shipping.
And what have been your main achievements in 2022?
Tideworks achieved several notable milestones in the last year. After OSRA was passed, we integrated updates to our Mainsail solution to ensure customers comply with the legislation and can optimise their data and billing infrastructure to meet OSRA’s requirements.
We went live with our intermodal TOS at BNSF Railway’s Logistics Park Chicago (LPC) terminal, the largest intermodal terminal we’ve worked with to date. We also successfully deployed our intermodal TOS with Advent eModal’s appointment and reservation system to G&W UK.
In the same year, we completed successful deployments of Mainsail 10 within our marine customer base, including Massport’s Conley container terminal last April, and we implemented emerging technologies and cloud migrations to support new and existing customer TOS deployments. It is exciting to see how the industry is leveraging machine learning, AI and virtual reality technologies to improve training, safety and intelligence across operations.
We have just started a new year. What are your ambitions for the years to come?
This year will present new learning opportunities, and we will continue to work with our customers to help them overcome any hurdles and, when necessary, adapt our solutions to help them thrive.
Looking ahead, Tideworks will continue deploying Mainsail 10 and our Intermodal TOS solutions to new and existing customers. We have our sights set on the future. We will continue to invest in resources and collaborations that enhance our product suite to accommodate our customers’ needs in the years ahead.