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Port Otago


Port Otago is the South Island’s primary port that hosts over 450 vessels and moves over 200,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent containers) and 1,764,000 tonnes of conventional cargo every year, utilising their two wharf systems within Otago – Port Chalmers and Dunedin. 

As well as importing and exporting goods within the South Island, Port Otago also berths cruise ships, which has immense economic benefits for their tourism industry. In order to maintain continuous relationships with these industries, Port Otago are committed to making every experience exceptional and seamless for their clients. 

The Challenge

Despite being the primary export port for the South Island, Port Otago’s upper harbour is only 7.5m deep therefore all bigger ships are limited to Port Chalmers. As a result, they need to be proactive about knowing what ships are coming in, how long to expect them for and manage complications to mitigate risks before it’s too late. 

Historically Port Otago used Excel spreadsheets to track this information but translating numbers from a spreadsheet into something understandable and real was extremely challenging. They knew they wanted something better. So, they asked themselves “if we had no limitations and could do whatever we wanted to do… what would we want?” and their answer was plain and simple – to see the port.

After seeing previous work and falling in love with the visual data story-telling that Enlighten Designs had previously produced, Port Otago approached Enlighten with an idea, a drawing and their vision - we delivered one of our most beautiful solutions yet.  

The Solution

Together, we created a visual forecasting tool that can show how busy the port is at any time - past, present or future. The new tool displays data in a new and more dimensional way, allowing Port Otago to have a top-down view of the port and foresee any potential overlaps or collisions between vessels and minimise these risks.

The data can be seen up to years in advance and allows Port Otago to have a have a visual forecast of the future, highlighting potential risks or events such multiple cruise ships on the same day. This allows the time to prepare, accommodate, change and communicate it with the necessary people.

The Result

The result for has been a shift from an outdated and unsatisfactory data system to a beautiful, user friendly dashboard that has given Port Otago the ability to plan better and make decisions more efficiently. It is now easier than ever to see when two vessels have accidentally been put on the same berth, the value of being able to see the information displayed in that way was immediately evident to everyone. 

Since implementing the solution, Port Otago have noticed an increase in staff engagement around the ‘art of the possible’ for the port, prompting fundamental business change. People aren’t only still talking about how much they love the solution but also offering new ideas of what could help benefit other processes within Port Otago.

Want to dive deeper into the Port Otago solution?

Watch the presentation from our 2020 Innovation Showcase here

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