From connected cranes to remote controls, ZPMC is transforming shipping with smart port services

As the world’s largest manufacturer of port cranes, Shanghai-based ZPMC has a major role in the global shipping industry. More than 250 ports in 97 countries use the company’s cranes and heavy-duty machinery, constituting ZPMC’s 80 percent share of the global market for port equipment.

But the company is doing more than just winning the market. ZPMC is transforming from a traditional manufacturer to a digital provider of next-generation, smart port services.

“We used to sell equipment, but now we are selling systems,” said ZPMC Chairman Hailiang Song. “We used to sell hardware, and now we are selling software and service. During this change, as the leading port equipment manufacturer in the world, ZPMC is partnering with Microsoft to create new products, services and models.”

ZPMC is leveraging the Microsoft Cloud to build an Internet of Things platform that connects equipment, analyzes real-time data and informs a global monitoring hub. The company is integrating machine learning and advanced analytics for predictive maintenance and building remote monitoring, servicing and operations systems that boost efficiency, safety and customer satisfaction.

“We want to make sure ZPMC can be a first-class company, so we want to go digital,” said ZPMC President Qingfeng Huang. “Automation terminal is our main product in the future.” He said the ability to remotely operate cranes will result in safer, faster and more streamlined work.

The company is also creating a customer portal for new shipping services, from tracking equipment orders online to tracking shipments to their final destination. It’s all part of a comprehensive, digital strategy to differentiate ZPMC in the market and provide smart, end-to-end solutions to customers.

“These new products, services and models will definitely create more value for society and customers,” Song said. “And I think that is very meaningful.”