Container terminals are very complex and highly capital intensive. They must be well managed to realize their potential capacity and to deliver a reasonable level of efficiency and service performance to their customers. A robust management system cannot be achieved without the IT system(s) – in the case of container terminals; it is usually a TOS system.
The advancement of IT provides a wide range of options for the container terminal operator to computerize its management systems. It can range from a simple data entry and retrieval system to a highly sophisticated computer directed real-time operating system with automation options. The choice depends on the size and capacity of the terminal, the operational setup and its projected growth in the medium term.
A container terminal management system is also known as a terminal operating system (TOS) which aims to control the overall movement and storage of various types of cargo (in this case container) within a container terminal.
A container terminal management system enables container terminals to make better use of its assets – labor and equipment – and to promptly (or real-time) retrieve information, which allows more timely and cost-effective decision making.
Modern and large container terminals are managed by TOS systems, to cope with the high complexity of business processes and supply chain requirements.