Students from the University of Hamburg were crowned champions of the 3rd PEMA Student Challenge, held by the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association on 10 June at TOC Europe 2015 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
As part of PEMA’s educational outreach, the Student Challenge provides a fun and lively way to expose students to the real business of the ports and terminal world, and to bring university programs and student talent to the attention of the ports business community.
Finalist teams from the University of Hamburg, the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) and Blekinge Institute of Technology from Sweden each gave a 30 minute presentation on this year’s theme – ‘The Impact and Mitigation of Berth Error’ – to a judging panel of industry experts.
Berth errors, resulting from vessels arriving late to their allocated berth spaces, are the cause of substantial congestion and performance setbacks in ports across the world. In extreme cases, berth errors at one terminal can lead to berthing errors at another terminal “downstream” in ships’ journeys. The impact of berth errors is also compounded by the current industry trend towards larger vessels, making it more important than ever to find ways to prevent future complications.
Participants in this year’s Student Challenge were asked to address two fundamental topics in their presentations: the impact of berth error on performance, and the operational steps which can be taken to mitigate their impact on a fixed facility without penalising other operations. Variables to be considered by students included berth length, crane assignment, yard type and vessel arrival time error.
This year’s judging panel consisted of Lyes Chebrek, General Manager Design and Operations at APM Terminals, Carly Fields, Editor, Port Strategy, Yvo Saanen, Managing Director/CTO at TBA, Arwin Stehouwer, Senior Business Manager Containers for Port of Rotterdam and Tom Ward, Senior Maritime Planner, Parsons Brinkerhoff. Submissions from each university were judged on their understanding of real-world issues caused by, and flowing from, berth error; the robustness of techniques to calculate berth error impact; and the ingenuity of their approaches to impact mitigation.
The judges conferred on the spot and declared the University of Hamburg as this year’s winning presentation. The team – Mats Hansen, Julia Kasch, Nils Schröder and Philippe Tiede – supervised by Dr. Robert Stahlbock and Eduardo Aníbal Lalla Ruiz, are MsC students studying under Professor Dr. Stephen Voss at Hamburg University’s Institute of Information Systems, HBS Hamburger Business School. They were awarded a cheque for €1000 and will have the opportunity to give their presentation again, this time at APM Terminals’ headquarters in The Hague.
“For our industry to prosper, we need to engage the creativity and energy of smart young people. The PEMA Student Challenge is an important tool for the academic engagement we need. The thoroughness and thoughtfulness of this year’s submissions shows that we can energise our young professionals to join in improving port operations for all, ” said Student Challenge judge Tom Ward, who also helped craft this year’s question.
“Great technical education and research are critical for the future success of our industry and our goal at PEMA is to foster strong relations between the academic and business worlds so that both can thrive, ” added PEMA President Ottonel Popesco and Special Events & Education Committee Chair Mike Dempsey.
More details of this year’s Student Challenge, including copies of the presentations, can be found at www.pema.org/pema-events. The 4th PEMA Student Challenge will be staged during TOC Europe 2016, Hamburg, 14-16 June. The 2016 Challenge question will be released this autumn and expressions of interest to participate are warmly welcomed to the PEMA Secretariat for the attention of email@example.com.