Improve Your Terminal Operations With These 6 Steps

Octopi’s terminal operating system was implemented at the Port of Port-au-Prince, Haiti to upgrade their existing processes and move to a modern system. The results were drastic, as productivity increased by 50% across the terminals. Data entry time went from 24 hours to 1 minute, the terminals now have real-time views of vessel productivity, and the risk of error when it comes to data entry is now zero, thanks to this process being automated.

Having improved the terminal operations in Port-au-Prince, our team has learned how other ports can be more productive using these 6 steps.

1. Measure your Productivity

This is the most important step in improving terminal operations. Once you measure productivity, you can make changes and adjustments to processes. Then, you can see if your productivity increased or decreased.

Basically, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.


For example, if you are measuring the productivity in unloading and loading containers on vessels, then you can experiment operational scenarios to see what gives you the best productivity.

2. Obsess about clean data

In order to measure anything correctly, you need to have clean data. This means finding, correcting, or removing inaccurate records from your data set. To have a high functioning terminal, you need to obsess about clean data.

One way to ensure clean data is to remove as much manual data entry as possible. That is where most of the errors will occur, so taking this element out of your data will drastically improve your records.

3. Analyze your Data

Now that you have clean data and you are measuring your data, it’s important to find a way of analyzing your findings. There’s not really a point in collecting data if you’re not going to use it to improve operations, so it’s important to find a way to access and study your data in an efficient manner.

It’s also important this is done in real-time (or as quickly as possible), because data from 2 months ago may have changed, so any alterations in operations you make based on that old data may no longer be relevant.

4. React Before it Happens

It’s always great to solve a problem before it happens, and in a terminal this is vital. For example, if a customer arrives to pay an invoice and they are expecting a different amount, you’ll want to have clean data records and invoices on-hand to show this customer their error.

Another example: instead of running out of reefer plugs and having to run around looking for options to add capacity at the last minute, technologies should be utilized to know when the supply of reefer plugs is getting low. Being able to react before a problem occurs in your terminal saves time, resources, and makes the terminal operate better.

5. Get Answers Quickly

Following Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it easily queryable”, your mission as a terminal operator should be to organize your information and make it easily accessible.

Your terminal operating system should be fast, and you should not be wasting time looking at loading screens. Your data should be accessible from anywhere and updated in real-time. To better use your time, allow partners to find answers themselves on your TOS, saving you time and allowing them to get what they need quickly.

6. Stop Spending Time on the Phone by Using Data Transparency

How much time do terminal operators spend on the phone with exporters, importers, shipping lines, etc. that all want information about what is happening at the terminal? This practice interrupts your work and reduces your productivity.

Instead, give these individuals access to your TOS so they can log-in and see the containers at your terminal and answer all of their questions themselves. This allows terminal operators to use their time more valuably and productively.

How Octopi Handles Each of the 6 Steps

Octopi’s Terminal Operating System can increase productivity by addressing each of the 6 items with one platform. Here’s how Octopi does it.

1. Measure your Productivity

Octopi measures vessel and crane productivity in real-time. This means terminal operators no longer have to use pen-and-paper methods to measure productivity and can use their time more valuably. This also means that you can review your operations as they are happening (not 2 days later!) and deploy new resources as needed to resolve bottlenecks and improve operational efficiency.

2. Obsess about Clean Data

Octopi’s TOS has a built in anomaly detection, so you know you had bad data before a problem arises from it. The system can upload manifest files and track movement validations, ensuring all data is clean, making it useful for the terminal.

3. Analyze your data

Using Octopi’s real-time, cloud-based dashboard, terminal operators can have access to reports whenever needed. Alerts can also be set up for when some of the data needs closer analyzation. By having the data already reviewed and analyzed, terminal operators can make productive decisions quickly and decisively.

4. React before it happens

Octopi’s platform gives customers access to the system data by allowing them to login on Octopi. It also integrates with shipping lines via EDI. A customer coming to pay an invoice will have their invoice on hand; the same information the terminal operator has, so there is no discrepancy.

Octopi’s TOS will alert terminal operators ahead of time about a problem due to lack of reefer plugs (as soon as Manifest/BAPLIE) is received, eliminating problems such as these as well.

5. Get Answers Quickly

Everyone using the TOS has answers to questions in real-time. The back and forth and confusion ends, as Octopi’s platform has all information stored in the cloud, accessible from anywhere.

6. Stop Spending Time on the Phone by Using Data Transparency

All parties (exporters, importers, shipping lines, etc.) will have the information they need by having access to Octopi. The phone calls and emails will decrease because Octopi’s technology can keep everyone updated in real-time.

Octopi’s TOS greatly improved productivity in Port-au-Prince. Vessel operation and productivity reports are automatically generated, and completed tallies are automatically sent to the different departments. The Octopi live dashboard gives closer monitoring on vessel productivity, and the stripping and stuffing movements are logged live in the system by the yard manager.

All gate movements are also logged live and a report is sent directly to all concerned parties. Containers can be found easily and quickly, and the terminal is able to communicate via EDI with the shipping lines, therefore keeping track of all containers in real-time.

Guille Carlos

Guille is the founder of Octopi: a modern, web-based Terminal Operating System (TOS). He is constantly trying to simplify processes and uses data to truly understand customer needs.

Miami, FL