Panama Canal to implement new vessel scheduling system

  Mar.16--The Panama Canal has announced that in response to growing traffic, it will launch a new vessel scheduling and maritime resources management system to further optimising costs, improve safety and increase the overall efficiency and reliability. 

  “For more than a century, the Panama Canal has enjoyed a proud legacy of innovation,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “This system will help carry that legacy forward, allowing us to tap the potential of technology to provide better solutions for our customers as we increasingly manage more transits and adapt to shifts in global trade.”?

  With that new system of planning and scheduling transit operations, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will be able, for the first time, to execute a completely integrated operating plan for all of its critical resources, including tugboats, pilots and line handlers. The new system, by improving situational awareness with more accurate data, will allow for better decision-making, which will in turn help mitigate operational risk. Further, the system will help reduce costs by optimising resource allocation. 

  This technology will also benefit canal customers, including shippers, by shortening vessel waiting times, increasing the number of potentially available vessel slots each day and improving the overall reliability of the route.   The decision to adopt the system was simple.

  Following the successful opening of the expansion last year, the canal has experienced a surge in cargo and the number of transits by larger neo-panamax vessels and set several monthly tonnage records already. At times, the canal has needed to allocate more resources to guarantee high performance and safety standards amid the influx in activity.

  Once implemented, the new system will enable the canal to more efficiently manage this greater demand and capacity. 

  “Using advanced modelling language, we’ll be able to leverage path-optimisation algorithms and mathematical, constraint and graphical programming to optimise scheduling and resource utilisation,” said Arnoldo Cano, Panama Canal programme manager for the ACP renewal of processes and core systems.

  “Simply put, the technology is best-in-class, and we’re excited to work with our partners at Quintiq to bring it to bear for the Canal and its customers.” Quintiq is a Dutch company owned by Dassault Systemes, which has specialised in delivering supply chain planning and optimisation software to the maritime, transportation and logistics industries for more than 20 years. 

  The new system will be fully integrated into canal operations over the course of the next two years, with the module responsible for managing the canal’s vessel scheduling expected to be operational by the end of the fiscal year in September 2017.

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