Rodrigo Mirando had nearly all of the crowd against him, but he kept going until he won their applause.
Rodrigo Mirando had nearly all of the crowd against him, but he kept going until he won their applause. His plan for LTE connectivity on board machines and lorries, and in mobile dockside devices, provoked a degree of resistance because there were no precedents for using 4G in any port terminal in South America. However, he showed that it was more efficient than Wi-Fi, which won Montecon a nomination for an internationally renowned prize, the “Navis Inspire”.
"We saw that Wi-Fi wasn’t so efficient when the teams moved around, as they would lose connectivity and there were areas where there was simply no signal, so they had to move to where there was one. This wasn’t viable, so we tried 4G and it worked well everywhere, it didn’t cut out”, recalls this member of the Business Technology (BT) team, highlighting the importance of constant connectivity in the whole port area.
The hours of work and belief in the project paid off, not only when they provided an efficient technical solution at internal level. They also led the company to be recognised worldwide. Indeed, Montecon was honoured by being nominated in the “Innovation” category at the last award ceremony of the Navis Inspire Prizes, given to those distinguished by their commitment to excellence in port installations.
ERodrigo joined three years ago to do an internship, but at the end of his three months he signed a contract with the company. “I wanted to stay because I could see a lot of opportunities for improvement at Montecon, a lot of things that could be done or systems that could be set up to give them continuity in time”, recalls the specialist in New Technologies, whose job is to investigate, try out and implement new technologies in the port industry.
“Looking back, you realise how much things have advanced. Today it would be unthinkable to work with the equipment we had before.”
At first, his work was centred around installing Navis, the operational management software designed specifically for ports and acquired by Montecon in order to offer a better, more efficient and flexible service. Rolling out the system forced them to make a lot of changes and the results were very visible: “Looking back, you realise how much things have advanced. Today it would be unthinkable to work with the equipment we had before. In three years it has changed a very great deal.”
Whether to import standardised solutions or make them to measure for Montecon; that was the question. The answer is: neither one nor the other, but a mix, or even a third option. "Often the solutions a manufacturer gives you don’t quite fit your case and you have to make certain modifications. That’s when the fun starts and you can play around with it to get a product that works for your company", explains Rodrigo, whose arm displays a tattoo which we later found is the name of his son in binary code.
Navis is a clear example of a standard product that works well in any port terminal of the world, including Montecon’s. Other solutions are designed to satisfy the need of a specific public, for example an app for avoiding long wait times for hauliers in the Gates sector. Also the system for remote handling Reefer containers, which is close to being launched and which “allows us to monitor the temperate and the humidity of the refrigerated containers, as well as detecting any fault; all done remotely”.
“You can have real-time alerts of what’s happening, which permits better monitoring of the cold cycle of a load and detecting a fault in time to repair it immediately.”
Technological innovation has more than one cause, but it derives principally from improving efficiency and minimising mistakes. In the case of the Reefer monitoring system, for example, “you can have real-time alerts of what’s happening, which permits better monitoring of the cold cycle of a load and detecting a fault in time to repair it immediately,” explains the electronic engineering student.
At the end of the day, what is needed is to provide an excellent service so as to give customers more added value. To take better care of freight, Rodrigo concludes, and be a great entry and exit port for foreign business.
Montecon is the main public-area operator in the Port of Montevideo, not only for containers but also for general freight and freight projects. Its clients enjoy a seamless service that is world class.