PCS: A VITAL ROLE TO PLAY IN PORT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Port Community System (PCS) or an electronic platform that connects the multiple systems operated by a variety of stakeholders that comprise a port, or Gateway, community. As defined by Capgemini a Port Community System is “an entity delivering information to supply chains operating in the port.
The PCS is responsible for: data supply, data control, data distribution and data conversion”. A variety of Port Community Systems has been developed throughout the world, and may be separated into first and second-generation community systems.
- A first generation PCS transfers messages related to transportation through a network. It exchanges messages (information-exchange systems) and therefore has the mailbox-principle.
- A second generation PCS, or Centralized Information System, structures messages through management systems. Upon gaining access to the database through a password, users may send, receive and extract information as they require, and as they are given access through logical rules.
- Future generations of PCS may extend to linking port community platforms on a more global basis.
The purpose of a PCS is to “coordinate the activity of firms in the port's landside transport network (which encompasses the transport of containers between the port and a place in the hinterland and vice versa) and to integrate the information being exchanged between various port agents.” Each stakeholder within each sector sends information to a central system, and other stakeholders may retrieve the information they are, through logical rules, permitted to see. Alternately, the system may send salient information to stakeholders in their preferred format.
In summary, a PCS would:
- Develop and Implement standards and protocols for processes and messages with the community.
- Systematically capture the salient information from stakeholders. Avoiding the requirement to re-enter data limits errors and processing costs.
- Centralize community information.
- Provide transparency and real-time, or near real time, information to facilitate tracking and
tracing of goods, and reveal inefficiencies.
While ECIMS is envisioned to operate with a Centralized Information Model, other potential models were evaluated by the Port of Rotterdam in a Blueprint for a Virtual Port, the Bi-lateral information model
(BIM); the centralized information model (CIM); and the decentralized information model (DIM). The Port of Rotterdam analysis criteria comprised of infrastructure, messaging, security, and mobile perspective.
Bilateral Information Model (BIM)
In the bilateral information model, information is exchanged directly between the different actors on a bilateral basis (Exhibit 8.4). Examples in a seaport could include direct EDI exchanges between shipping lines and marine terminals, or between empty off-dock terminals and shipping lines. In the bilateral communication model choices must be made about the infrastructure, message format and security levels to be used. This method is clearly limited by the number of stakeholders directly involved.
Centralized Information Model (CIM)
In this model data is stored at a central information service provider. Information can be retrieved from this central information service provider by partners that have the right to do so. In the Central Information Model most of the issues like infrastructure, messaging, mobile access and security are the responsibility of the party that is acting as the ‘central party’. However, rules for access control have to come from the companies in the e-collaboration network.
Decentralized Information Model (DIM)
In the decentralized information model scenario, major providers of information position information to distribute or “share”, as controlled by each individual party. A broker service can help
retrieve the information from the right source. Most important in this model is “where can I get the information” instead of “who has the information”. The central broker is the party who knows what information is stored where and how to retrieve this information. Agreements between parties about condition under which they are allowed to retrieve locally stored information are needed.
The evolution of the Web 2.0 has created new opportunities to organize, enter and manipulate data. PCS generally collect base data directly from sources such as vessel manifests, gate transactions, customs information directly input by importers and exporters on the system (whereupon salient information is redirected) drayage orders etc.
These would be considered as potential sources of information for ECIMS. In addition, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires, under their Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, that all marine carriers and freight forwarders transmit electronic cargo and supplementary reports using the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) within the ACI timeframes to the First Port of Arrival. ACI for containerized and non-exempted break bulk must be transmitted at least 24 hours prior to loading of the goods on board the vessel at the foreign port. An ECIMS could explore receiving the same data directly from shipping lines, importers/exporters/freight forwarders or marine terminals.
In order for information systems to be able to inform operational decisions or to provide a realistic basis for planning, they must contain correct business logic and operate on high-quality data. There are three steps for getting quality supply chain data for the applications:
- Connecting with the stakeholders
- Normalizing the data they provide
- Managing data quality.
Resident Systems vs. Cloud Computing
There are basically two different approaches to how the ECIMS hardware environment could be set up:
- Resident within the delivery agency – using existing resources, IT capability, and data feeds.
- Cloud Computing or Software as a Service (Saas) – where hardware including application,
database, and web servers, as well as support, is provided remotely through a Cloud Computing
vendor (Exhibit 8.8). Advantages of the cloud model include lower costs, lower risk, and faster
implementation. These data networks offer additional benefits based on powerful network
effects that spread costs and share benefits across a large community and provide a structure
for cooperative continuous improvement of data quality.
Integration of Gateway Community Stakeholders
The integration options available to users on the valenciaport.net PCS, allow the tailoring to the requirements of each company’s technological level:
- Applications on the PCS website accessed through the internet would automatically
synchronize with the PCS database
- Electronic integration between the stakeholder and PCS, supplemented with use of
applications on the PCS website
- Seamless and unattended integration between Gateway community stakeholder and the
Port community systems tend to be tailored around the unique characteristics of the port, and expectations of the stakeholders involved in the development of the system. Some, like the Ports of Valencia and Hamburg are complex while others provide a simpler functionality. The PCS at Valencia, Spain and Hamburg, Germany, are briefly profiled in the following sections.
Dakosy – Port of Hamburg
More on Valenciaportpcs.net
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More on Dakosy – Port of Hamburg
Dakosy – Port of Hamburg
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR STEVE LONGBOTHAM
THE INTERNATIONAL PORT COMMUNITY SYSTEMS ASSOCIATION
IPCSA Presentation and Links
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Portbase is the neutral and reliable hub for all logistics information through the Dutch ports, including one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe. In this session, PAUL SARABER, Enterprise Architect, Portbase will discuss the Port Community System, which enables stakeholders such as cargo agents, barge & rail operators, shipbrokers, customs authorities and road haulers to optimize the logistics processes, thereby improving their own competitive position and that of the Dutch ports. Among other requirements, identity management has been a critical component in making the community solution successful.