North America

How connected engines benefit port operations

Uptime, reliability and smooth maintenance have always been key to successful port operations, but now more so than ever before. So, what role does connectivity play in strengthening the global shipping industry? How can connected engines help ensure the uptime and profitability of shipping companies’ port operations?

Connected engines for all kinds of port operation applications
The port in Valencia is the second largest in Spain, and the fifth busiest port in Europe. It has three main terminals, each operated by a major shipping company – Cosco, APM and MSC. These terminals use Volvo Penta engines in a variety of applications throughout the port, including RTG cranes, reach stackers, terminal tractors, and empty container handlers. Given the highly different duties and workloads of these applications, they contain different kinds of Volvo Penta engines, made to perform with the optimum power required for their respective operations.

Each of the companies operating these port terminals are long-time customers of Volvo Penta. They have all followed our work with connectivity and connected engines with interest. As such, they were enthusiastic about using connected engines for their applications when given the opportunity a few years ago. Volvo Penta worked closely with our local dealer Nautic Motor Valencia to ensure that it could provide the service these clients required.

Easy maintenance, increased uptime, and lowered total cost of ownership
Port operations are complex and costly, meaning that even minor delays or complications can cause problems and unnecessary expenses. Saving time and money through smooth operations is essential. Unplanned stops and unexpected maintenance need to be kept to a minimum, and this is where connected services make a significant difference.

Connected engines collect data on how they are used and how they function. This means that anomalies and errors can be detected very early, which in turn can help prevent more serious problems, malfunctions and downtime. In this case, Volvo Penta's Uptime Center is able to monitor the connected Volvo Penta engines remotely, and use diagnostics to detect faults, risks, and low fluid levels, for example. In the event of an engine issue, a notification is sent to the dealer who can then inform the customer of the issue and how best to handle it. The customer's maintenance personnel can then locate the engine in question and resolve the issue.

This allows for quick, exact and efficient maintenance, which results in more uptime for the engine and greater operational reliability overall. Moreover, costlier maintenance can be prevented and the total cost of ownership (TCO) can be kept down. The dealer can proactively inform and advise the customer, as opposed to the customer having to consult the dealer once a problem or malfunction has already occurred.

One concrete example of this involved an 8-liter engine installed in a terminal tractor. The engine’s coolant level was too low, and so a notification was sent to the dealer. This was a critical issue, so the customer had to be informed right away. The customer’s fleet manager was then able to send a maintenance team to the terminal tractor, which had it up and running again in just 15 minutes.

Three key reasons why connected engines benefit port operations

  • Connectivity saves money
    Costly downtime and delays can largely be avoided, and maintenance costs can be concentrated to smaller, specific repairs and check-ups.

  • Connectivity facilitates maximum uptime
    Connected engines lead to machines and applications running more smoothly. Operations can run as planned and on time, with as few and as short interruptions as possible.

  • Connectivity forges a closer relationship between customers, dealers and manufacturers
    By better understanding customers' processes and operations, Volvo Penta and our dealer network are able to provide even better services and products. It also makes it easier for us to make recommendations to customers, based on engine data for example. Manufacturers, dealers and customers all continually learn more about the engines themselves and how they are used.

Want to know more about Volvo Penta’s work with connectivity, and how it can benefit your business? Send me an email at Make sure to also read my colleagues’ articles on connectivity, as well as other blog articles on Volvo Penta’s work with the mining industry, quarrying, forestry, and more.