CMS – the Automated CARGO MEASUREMENT SYSTEM

In early 2006 Antwerp Euro Terminal (AET) – part of the Grimaldi Group invited Autotrakker Ltd. to undertake some Research and Development work for an automated ‘Ro-Ro’ Bulk Break Cargo Measuring System.

Between 2006 and 2011, Autotrakker evaluated a number of possible technologies which could be used to replace the current manual mode of measuring such cargo. These technologies including photographic capture and various types of scanning technology before low-power laser scanning technology was determined to offer the best solution. After the final, successful, test in July 2011 AET instructed Autotrakker to commence with the full installation in Antwerp.

By design, CMS addresses the historical challenges of manual cargo measurement. CMS is designed to offer its users an automated solution using cutting-edge technology to simplify the process and deliver enhanced benefits to all parties involved.

 

CMS SUMMARY


The following key points summarise how CMS addresses the challenges associated with the manual
process:

  • Cargo is driven into the measuring station area.
  • Eye-safe Infrared Scanners automatically scan and measure the dimensions of the Cargo and store it in the local database.
  • A digital photograph may be taken and stored in the local database.
  • The data image is displayed on the operator’s console.
  • The operator may optionally edit the scan image to eliminate unwanted elements such as the tractor and trailer.
  • All captured data stored in the local database is available for further use e.g.
    a) Linked to an automatic Loading and Costing system.
    b) E-mailed to the client.

Total time to scan and do the calculations for a 20m object will be just over 2 minutes.

THE BENEFITS OF CMS


Autotrakker believes that it is probably unique in its approach and the technology it uses to bring its
users the following benefits:

  • More efficient manpower and improved management information.
  • Accurate Measurements means fewer errors & increased revenue.
  • System does not rely upon personal skills for accuracy of measurement.
  • Guaranteed (Instant) repeatability of measurements.
  • Stored calculations of both digital images and, optionally, photos in the database.
  • Opportunity to automatically link to an external automated costing, accounting, customer service system being run by the user.
  • Improved customer relations – digital evidence – fewer disputes.
lorry scan slide

THE CHALLENGES OF BULK BREAK CARGO & CMS AS THE SOLUTION


Since the globalisation of world trade and commerce one of the most challenging tasks for shipping lines, port authorities and stevedoring companies has been how to manage the movement of bulk break cargo as it moves around the globe.  If cargo is not measured correctly then inaccuracies can lead to incorrect billing, customer dissatisfaction and disputes. In turn this can lead to loss of customers, loss of revenue and increases in insurance and other premiums.  However, much worse than that, incorrect measurements can lead to accidents when loading and unloading cargo. This can lead to delays in vessel departures, customer insurance claims and even in extreme cases casualties and fatalities amongst personnel involved in the process.  Technology has helped in the globalisation of trade throughout the world of shipping and transportation in many ways. Information Technology has l helped in the economies and the savings that have been made by transportation organisations. It would therefore be natural to assume that Bulk Break Cargo had enjoyed the benefits of the developments in technology that other sectors now take for granted. However, that has not been the case... UNTIL NOW.

BULK BREAK CARGO: KEY FACTORS: ACCURACY & SPEED


With the need to deliver accuracy and speed, CMS has been designed as follows:

  • It takes a set of readings for each vertical slice.
  • If any of the reading sets are beyond the error limits (because of dust or rain drops for example) the readings are eliminated. Another set of readings can/should be taken.
  • The target scanning speed was 3 minutes – overall 5 minutes including processing: CMS Achieved 2 minutes.
  • The height, width and length measurements will be ± 25mm accurate
  • The way in which the scanners operate means that it is 99+% likely that the height will never be underestimated with a scan.
  • The height is always going to be the most accurate measurement and as this is the most important measurement in the dealing with Bulk Break cargo it is a key factor in why CMS can bring strategic benefits to the users of the solution.