Session #07: Seamless Terminal Automation Migration: Converting
Systems Without Disruption

Throughout the session, we explored how terminals could ensure uninterrupted operations during their transition to automation, introduced immediate strategies for a seamless workforce transition, and addressed the most critical risks and policy recommendations for a successful changeover.

This unique gathering centered around the pivotal roles of our distinguished speakers, who brought a wealth of experience and insight from their respective roles and companies in navigating the complex landscape of terminal automation.

Our guests were:

Rich Ceci, Sr. Vice President Technology and Projects at Virginia International Terminals

Rich Ceci joined Virginia International Terminals, LLC in May 2016 as Senior Vice President of Technology and Projects. Since joining the port, Rich has completed two major expansion projects valued at $1B that have added 2M TEU of capacity to the port. The projects were completed on-time and under budget and when the pandemic hit their performance exceeded expectations. He is currently managing several new projects worth nearly $1B that will add vessel and rail capacity over the next 5 years. Rich is also responsible for IT and Facilities Maintenance. He is the technical architect behind the technology that makes Virginia one of the most technologically advanced port complexes in the world.

Previously, Rich was VP of Information Technology for GCT USA in Bayonne, NJ where he managed the Global Expansion Project, winner of several industry awards. The GEP was completed on-time and on budget and is one of the most technically advanced terminals in the United States. Rich was the Sr. Director of IT at APM Terminals where he was responsible for IT in the Americas Region. In addition, he was the IT lead on the APM Terminals Virginia project. This facility opened in August 2007. This trend setting terminal has been a technical benchmark in the industry for almost 20 years.

Jan Cuppens, Founder of Cycling Farmer and former VP Global Engineering at DP World 

Jan Cuppens, with his tenure spanning three decades in the Ports & Terminals sector, has become a highly respected “Down 2 Earth” Port Advisor, as he likes to call himself. His journey culminated in his role as Vice-President of Global Engineering at DP World in Dubai, where he oversaw engineering across DP World’s expansive global network of over 50 ports. His expertise encompasses asset management, engineering systems, equipment specifications, reliability engineering, port design, life cycle costing, decarbonization and notably, automation.

Having devoted a significant portion of his career to hands-on management of maintenance departments and leading terminal and automation projects, Jan brings practical experience and a comprehensive understanding to discussions on "Seamless Terminal Automation Migration." His direct involvement in the intricacies of port automation projects uniquely positions him to offer practical insights into the challenges and solutions for achieving smooth transitions to automation.

Dennis Koegeboehn, Program Manager Process & Technology at GatewaySA, Flinders Port Holding

Dennis Koegeboehn is the Program Manager Process & Technology for Flinders Port Holdings’ GatewaySA project in Adelaide which is set to determine and prove the suitability of a transformation from manual straddle carrier to automated RTG operation.

Prior to his current role, Dennis held several roles in consultancies for 20 years focussed on operational transformation of ports and terminals. These included assignments for capacity extension and technological advancement, especially automation and digitalisation, optimisation, simulation and supply chain optimisation projects. Having delivered project in various jurisdictions spanning six continents, he brings a strong understanding of common project success factors, as well as potentially site-specific aspects impacting project delivery.


Christina Prieser, Associate Partner at HPC, has moderated the debate.

Watch the Video
Read the Recap

A journalist has summarized the highlights of this session. Happy reading!
Read here