TOC Europe 2018: Visit Report

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I visited TOC Europe for the first time in 2018, here is my visit report:

Background

The annual TOC Europe event attracts a vast range of equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Over 180 companies and thousands of visitors, delegates and industry executives attended the 43rd edition.

An objective of my attendance was to meet many of the vendors I’ve engaged with over the years and to expand my network. I also had a business problem which one of our terminals is trying to solve, so it was perfect opportunity to sit down and go through in detail.

Being based in Australia we do not receive regular contact with many of the companies beyond APAC. I was able to meet with lots of people I’ve dealt with for years but never had the opportunity of a face-to-face interaction. In international business we all recognise the importance and benefit of the relationships between client and vendor to achieve desired outcomes.

I received the same reaction from many attendees, “you’re a long way from home!”. Albeit, I was already in Europe for a holiday and this was the last days of my trip so it worked out really well.

Exhibition

The exhibition hall is massive! Fitted out with impressive display stands, equipment and marketing material. Perusing the aisles of stands there was a good mix of manufacturers and suppliers with a vast range of product information, sales and product specialists on hand to answer questions.

I got to catch up with friends from Kalmar and discuss the impacts an automation ecosystem has on terminal operations.

Seminars

The seminars cover a breadth of industry topics, with the TECH TOC seminars this year focusing on “Transformation & Innovation in Terminals”.
I particularly enjoyed the insight to the digital representation of a new terminal shown by Alex Duca of APM Terminals. This provided a complete live 3D model of the terminal with ability to analyse the operations.

Joost Achterkamp of Solid Port Solutions delivered information on an automated empty container depot, a part of the industry that still relies heavily on manual processes.

Social

Of course, the highlights are the social aspect of any conference. My arrival night I spent having dinner with World Crane Services including ex. colleague Ravi Bahara. It was great to catch-up and hear about their industry experience since I left Dubai.

Ravi Behara and Mitch Hawkins - Rotterdam 2018
Ravi Behara & Mitch Hawkins

The first evening of the event I had been invited to join Conductix-Wampfler on a tour of Rotterdam Euromast and then a ferry to Hotel New York – a famous bar restaurant with rich history. I joined my ex. manager Pekka Ranta on the very windy tour. Thank to the generous hospitality of Francois Berenes, Gustavo E. Oberto, Ariel Cabera, Claus Burger, Philipp Wasmer and Willis Liu.

Pekka Ranta and Mitch Hawkins - Euromast, Rotterdam
Pekka Ranta & Mitch Hawkins

My final evening I had been invited by Daan Potters of BTG Positioning Systems to join their stand partners Hubner and Merford on-board the SS Rotterdam – a floating hotel. Guests were provided with an excellent barbecue buffet and flowing drinks, Daan was a brilliant host and introduced me to many industry contacts.

SS Rotterdam
SS Rotterdam

Participation

With so many visitors to the exhibition, there were a great mix of industry knowledge in the one place. This event was mostly attended by senior executives, however, offers a fantastic opportunity to inspire younger industry peers. I would recommend that executives consider sending upcoming leaders to the event to learn about latest developments, broaden their knowledge and industry connections. It would be a valuable and inexpensive investment in their future and provide for an extremely engaging experience.

Innovation

The most impressive display of crane innovation and technology was from manufacturer Kuenz cranes. Their revolutionary designs for container handling equipment included the ‘SPIDER‘ hoist system with a complete redesign of how a wire rope hoisting system operates – brilliant! The individually motor driven wire rope system continually adjusts to maintain a level spreader, and can be manipulated on all 3-axis. This is controlled by their innovative one-hand joystick.

Kuenz Spider Hoist System TOC Europe 2018

I could immediately see the benefit from a maintenance perspective by never needing to adjust the wire ropes, and clearly an operational benefit from reduced downtime and higher accuracy.

The design of their Freerider RTG taking on an approach which reduces the drag coefficient of the machine structure results in a reduced fuel usage. The machine can now operate at a higher gantry speed with less fuel usage/wastage compared to tradition RTG models.

Kuenz Freerider RTG TOC Europe 2018

Companies

I have compiled a comprehensive list of exhibitors, with links to their website and social media account, along with their specialties.Click the button to download this list.

More to come....