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PEMA publishes study on the use and impact of OCR technologies in ports and terminals

15.01.2013 – In the latest in a series of information papers from the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA), the Association has published a major new report on the adoption and impact of optical character recognition (OCR) technology in container ports and terminals around the world.

“The purpose of this paper – and the previous documents it complements – is to provide a reliable source of information about the role of advanced technologies in supporting improved efficiency, safety, security and sustainability at the world’s ports and terminals,” says Allen Thomas, Chairman of PEMA’s Technology Committee.

OCR in Ports and Terminals is the fourth information paper to be published by PEMA, and the third such to be issued by PEMA’s Technology Committee. Previous publications include papers on the role and adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID), advances in port equipment to improve energy and environmental efficiency and container terminal yard automation.

In recent years, OCR systems have been one of the fastest growing automated identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies in the global ports sector. Most widely used to automate terminal gate operations, today OCR is also finding a growing role to help terminals automate business processes, equipment and container identification in the yard, at the quay and in intermodal rail operations.

The report discusses past, current and future global adoption trends since OCR was first introduced in Asian container ports in the late 1908s, including statistical data, describes the various OCR technologies in use today and how they function, and reviews benefits and ROI scenarios.

With its membership expanding rapidly in recent years, PEMA is developing an increasingly active role as a forum for the global port equipment and technology sectors. This latest OCR information paper follows the December 2012 publication of new recommended minimum safety features for container yard equipment, published jointly with ICHCA International and TT Club. Further information papers and recommendations are planned for 2013, together with interactive seminars and educational workshops at key industry trade shows.

The OCR Information Paper and other publications from PEMA can be downloaded at

About PEMA 

Founded in 2004, PEMA provides a forum and public voice for the global port equipment and technology sectors. The Association has seen strong growth in recent years, and now has more than 100 member companies representing all facets of the industry, including crane, equipment and component manufacturers, automation, software and technology providers, consultants and other experts.

For more information about this media release, please contact the PEMA Secretariat: 

Fae Brennan, PEMA Head of Administration:
Mob: +44 7766 228 958
Tel: +44 2034 093 100