The shipping industry is demanding better and faster information utilizing
electronic data interchange with all marine terminals. These demands
and increasing competition are forcing all marine terminals to consider
computer systems that were once the domain of only the largest terminals.
These systems are now available to terminals for two reasons: powerful
computers are available at dramatically reduced costs, and packaged
off-the-shelf computer software systems are available. In order to
obtain the full benefits of the computer system, the terminal must
find a total computer solution that can be installed in its current
terminal operation. Once installed, the computer system should support
the terminal's growth from the current operation to as automated an
operation as is economically justified. This paper examines the typical
growth path for the marine terminal's computer system from simple
bookkeeping needs into a computer-directed operation. It identifies
three phases of growth, including the pitfalls and promise in each.
From this discussion, terminal management can plot a course which
will include the appropriate features in each phase.