Digitalisation supports the quality management and efficient operations

Uusikaupunki is a coastal city in South-Western Finland. The city’s history goes back to the 16th century when seafaring was an important source of livelihood in the city. In the 18th century, Uusikaupunki was known as a center of sailing ship construction, but today one of the city’s main industries is automotive.

The Port of Uusikaupunki serves merchant ships 24/7 in its 20 hectares-wide port area. The port has good connections between the cities in Finland and ports abroad. Over a million tons of cargo and 100 000 new cars go through the Port of Uusikaupunki each year.

The port aims at being at the forefront of digitalising port operations, and an online platform, GISGRO, has been used for 3D survey data management for a few years already. Lately, the port has expanded the usage of GISGRO into other asset management purposes as well, such as maintenance operations and quality management.

For this article, we interviewed CEO Teemu Vaahtera and Traffic Manager Sanni Leino from Port of Uusikaupunki about their thoughts and experiences in port digitalisation and utilising GISGRO in everyday operations of the port.

Port of Uusikaupunki digital twin
3D view of the port in the GISGRO platform.

Collecting the important port asset data in one place

Port of Uusikaupunki has saved spatial data of the port in an online platform since 2018 when they had the first 3D data from the seabed and the port’s underwater assets delivered via GISGRO.

The underwater sonar data was later completed with drone photogrammetry surveys of the port’s land areas in order to build a complete digital twin of the port.

Seeing and utilising 3D data easily adds value to asset surveys. The port can now access the survey data, evaluate the condition of the assets, and decide on the needed maintenance procedures conveniently.

Adding asset data from other sources enhances the utilisation possibilities enormously. Port of Uusikaupunki has gathered an extensive database of their asset data in GISGRO, which now includes information of power lines, buildings, and recycling centers, for example. This offers the port an opportunity to utilise the information widely in everyday work.

Ville Mäkeläinen, CBDO at GISGRO, describes the co-operation:

“When talking about digitalisation, it is easy to get lost in the jungle of different hype words and technologies while forgetting the main purpose of the digitalisation: Making the everyday work easier for the users. Port of Uusikaupunki provides a great example on how even the smaller ports can enhance their operations and gain significant value by using modern tools for asset and maintenance management.”

A centralised asset databank proved to be an important part of the port’s quality management

Port of Uusikaupunki uses GISGRO, for example, to notify the maintenance team about the noticed failures or defects in the infrastructure.

By utilising GISGRO, they can easily inform the team about the needed repairs and add additional information with pictures, if necessary. Even though the port is quite small, it consists of large areas; hence, it is important to know the exact location of every asset in order to ensure efficient communication.

“We are developing our quality management system according to ISO 9001 standard, and GISGRO is an important part of our quality procedures. We use it to schedule regular asset inspections, follow maintenance tasks, and report waste loads, for example,” Leino explains.

The port expects to finish the certification process in the second quarter of 2021.

It has been a bit of a surprise for the port how quickly GISGRO has proven its position as the port management platform. As the utilisation has expanded, GISGRO has started to guide the operations instead of just being a storage of information. For example, annual maintenance tasks or inspections are easily found, and notifications are sent automatically to relevant stakeholders.

Port of Uusikaupunki asset databank
Map view of the port with asset markers in the GISGRO platform.

Cloud service improves internal communication in the port

One of the most important benefits of GISGRO for the Port of Uusikaupunki is the improvement of communications.

“It is easy to communicate with each other in GISGRO. For example, our maintenance crew has really been satisfied with the exact location of the needed repair being automatically included in service requests sent through GISGRO. This helps the crew in quickly finding the correct location in the vast port area. Also, the office team uses service request logs in GISGRO to verify invoices from the contractors,” Vaahtera describes.

Being able to find the needed information easily in one place improves the efficiency of operations and, therefore, saves time and resources. Especially now, when remote working has become more common during the COVID-19 epidemic, centralised information and easy communication are even more critical.

“In our weekly meetings with the staff, it is handy to check the situation of the maintenance tasks from GISGRO, show added pictures to clarify the needed repairs, and discuss about the next steps,” Leino adds.


Close co-operation between GISGRO and the port in the development of the platform benefits both parties

The Port of Uusikaupunki has actively participated in the development of GISGRO by giving feedback, providing examples of the port’s daily tasks, and suggesting how GISGRO could assist them even better.

The port can also benefit from the ideas brought to development by other ports. Close co-operation with ports is very valuable for software development, as the feedback comes from the port asset management and maintenance experts.

Leino appreciates the opportunity to give input on the development of GISGRO.

“We have been happy to see that our feedback has been welcomed, and the suggested improvements are often implemented quickly, even in the next upcoming platform deployment. We believe we can build our port management system further in GISGRO in the near future. Centralised management system also helps the team, as they only need to learn one new software instead of numerous different ones,” she points out.

Leino and Vaahtera see the future bringing major changes to the port industry, digitalisation being one of the revolutionising factors.

“In five years, we probably have technologies no one can even think of today. By offering the information infrastructure to the port’s clients, in addition to the physical assets, the ports can serve their stakeholders and the surrounding community better. Automatisation and IoT provide opportunities for even more efficient data transfer,” Vaahtera envisions.

“Ports in Finland and abroad co-operate closely and share opinions and best practices. As we are in the middle of the digital transformation, this is a great time to work in the port industry and see what the future brings to us,” Leino concludes.


Want to know more about GISGRO?

Book an online demo meeting with our expert to discuss more GISGRO benefits for your port.

Ville Mäkeläinen GISGRO

Ville Mäkeläinen
+358 44 513 2222


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