Refcon enables remote reefer monitoring at Cape Town terminal

In a first for Sub-Saharan Africa ports, South African port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has implemented the Refcon system at its Cape Town terminal to remotely conduct temperature checks on refrigerated shipping containers.

Previously, reefers were manually checked by operators at four-hourly intervals.  In addition, shipping lines carried out their own "shadow monitoring" twice daily. Faults and breakdowns were only identifiable during the monitoring times.

The recent commissioning of Navis, the main operating system that plans and records all container and equipment moves, has been successfully integrated with Refcon.  This allows for automatic synchronisation of information between the two systems.

Refcon feeds reefer temperature information into Navis at thirty-minute intervals, and shipping lines are able to access Refcon on Navis.

Hector Danisa, TPT’s assistant terminal executive of the Western Province terminals, points out that a major benefit of integrating Refcon into the Navis system is that faulty and out-of-protocol reefers can be identified more easily and quickly, which reduces the terminal’s risk profile and saves costs.

Refcon’s remote monitoring server gives operators electronic messages highlighting exceptions, enabling the operator to report relevant alarms to the shipping lines for rectification. 

In the event of Refcon or Navis shutting down, a manual procedure has been created to protect the cargo’s integrity. 

Reefers that are not Refcon compliant will continue to be monitored manually. However, 80% of the terminal’s customers are already Refcon compliant, and initiatives are being implemented to improve this further. Shipping line Maersk leads with 95% compliance. 

Future plans currently being considered for Refcon include automatic e-mail and text message alerts to customers and stakeholders. TPT also hopes to extend  Refcon to more reefer areas within the terminal. 

Meanwhile the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system – which was first installed at Pier 1 in Durban, Port Elizabeth Container Terminal and East London Multipurpose Terminal – has maintained an average of 99% uptime during the six months from April to October 2010.

Danisa said the inevitable teething problems, experienced when Navis was first introduced at the terminal, were a thing of the past thanks to training and upgrades to rectify challenges in its stability.

Quelle: eyefortransport


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