News section

Play the terminal 'Safe - T Game'

November 2014
Press release


The trend in container terminals worldwide is towards more and more automation to reduce costs and improve performance. The most recent terminal designs are fully automated nearly without people on site when things run smoothly. But when disruptions occur, due for instance to equipment breakdown, people have to go onsite to solve these issues. On site the risks are different in an automated environment than in a non automated environment, as automated equipment has no reaction to on site people. In the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) two of these fully automated terminals are being build and are close to live operations. Together with the University of Delft, Dinalog, TBA, RWG, APMTMV2 and several SME companies a big research project (SALOMO) has begun in 2011 into shared situational awareness in the container supply chain, to reduce on site risks and therefore disruptions, which have a negative impact on supply chain operations, safety and productivity.  Shared situational awareness aims for a higher awareness of the risks which exist in an (semi-) automated terminal environment and improve overall productivity by reducing disruptions and disruption time. Especially interdependent risks, where multiple parties are involved, can be reduced through a better understanding of the implications of decisions and communication throughout the supply chain. TBA has developed a serious game within this research project to train onsite personnel for day to day operations in fully and semi automated terminals and to create more awareness among personnel about the impact of their decisions on others, on the operation and on reducing existing risks.


The serious game is the first terminal game worldwide pioneered by TBA as the next innovation in training automated terminal personnel based on the actual operation and not an approximation. By connecting their TEAMS equipment control software (used in the live operation for running automated QC’s, ASC’s and AGV’s), their CONTROLS emulation software (runs the virtual terminal and normally is used for optimizing and testing TOS software) and a virtual reality game engine they have created the Safe - T Game. You can walk around in the virtual terminal, which has the exact layout and the exact behaviour as the live terminal outside.  The game is made custom to the terminal to replicate the exact circumstances, such as safety and fence control procedures. Currently you are either a dispatcher or a maintenance technician in the game. 

In the Safe - T Game TBA is currently testing with the research partners how to train several risk awareness subjects, such as situational understanding, safety procedures, how to handle disruptions to minimize impact on performance, how to handle equipment breakdown and communications effectiveness. Preliminairy tests have shown technical personnel to behave in the game as in real life and has exposed behaviour which poses a potential risk. In addition effective communication from an operations room to outside personnel seems to be an important subject to improve on to quickly reduce risks for technical personnel.

Future developments

Together with the two terminals and the University of Delft TBA is currently extending the Safe - T Game into a full training suite, to train dispatchers, technical maintenance personnel and external personnel that occasionally needs to work on site. Depending on the terminal procedures and the training demand the subjects for training will be developed in 2015 and the game will technically become more advanced.  An example of a foreseen technical development is the use of the Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses, which will give the Maintenance Technician an even more realistic experience in the virtual terminal. Preliminary testing has been done with connecting the Terminal Operating System (TOS), where the operation in the virtual terminal will than replay the actual outside live operation, as planned and executed in the TOS. This would allow personnel to recreate live disruptions and vary and evaluate their responses to see the impact on the performance in the TOS. Other extensions which are under evaluation are the addition of more & different equipment maintenance scenarios, add disturbing factors such as sound, add additional roles or using the virtual terminal for one time / specialty maintenance personnel as a quick training tool on procedural behavior and safety risks in automated environments. But it can also just be fun and educational; imagine putting on the VR glasses in the reception room and just walk anywhere on the terminal, seeing up close how the operation works, climb a QC or jump on an AGV, whereas in real live very few people are allowed on site!

TBA sees the Safe - T Game as the next generation training tool to improve performance and safety for semi- and automated terminals through increasing awareness and insight of terminal personnel of the impact of their decisions. It is the only serious game to connect real operating software with training scenarios to mimic live operations and behaviour as closely as possible in terminal world. TBA is ahead of the game with Safe - T Game!