The shipping industry is demanding better and faster information utilizing
electronic data interchange with all marine terminals. These demands
and increasing competition are forcing the smaller marine terminals
to consider computer and automation systems that were once the domain
of only the largest terminals. These systems are now available to
the smaller terminals because powerful computers are available at
dramatically reduced costs. In addition, packaged computer programs
using industry standard software are available. In order to obtain
the full benefits of the computer system, the smaller terminal must
find a total computer solution that can be installed in the 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 reviews the
computer hardware and software considerations that support this growth.
In the software area, recent industry standards are examined which
allow the terminal operator to pull total computer solutions together.
Finally, the paper reviews state of the art software architectures
that allow the terminal operator to maintain the computer software
directly, without the help of a computer professional.