A Terminal Operating System (TOS) is a vital part of a terminal and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of various types of cargo in and around a container terminal, port or inland depot.
Terminal Operating Systems often utilize other technologies such as the internet, EDI processing, mobile computers/mobile devices, wireless LANs, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and DGPS to monitor the flow of products in, out efficiently and around the terminal.
Data is either batch synchronization with or a real-time wireless transmission to a central database. The database can then provide useful reports about the status of goods, its locations, as well as the CHE container handling equipment in the terminal.
A TOS also enables a terminal to make better use of its assets, labor, and equipment, plan workload, and get up to the minute information which allows for more timely and cost-effective decision making.
The objective of a TOS is to provide a set of computerized procedures to manage cargo, machines, and people within the facility, to enable seamless, efficient and effective management of the facility. A TOS should support a streamlined operation, from high-level vessel/berth planning down to equipment and work instruction execution.
Apart from the above, a TOS should provide a terminal with the full suite of operational capabilities, including Yard management; Vessel management; Berth management; Crane allocation; Container Handling Equipment (CHE) management; Rail management; Gate management; Booking and Pre-Advice of containers; Truck management and enquiry; User security and access control; and Reports (fixed and user configured).
A TOS should also have optional interfaces to external third-party systems (e.g., Financial systems, radio data terminals, REFCON Reefer Monitoring system, Electronic weighing scale, DGPS systems, etc.).
There are currently not many TOS systems available within the market offering true real-time capabilities. The provision of real-time data is essential for decision making in particular within terminal operations, enabling the management to make the right decision based on the correct information.