Container Supply Chains continue to rely on manual or semiautomated processes resulting in limited cargo visibility as containers move from Container Depot (CFS/ICD) to Port and vice-versa. The original shipment information (Commercial Invoice / Packing List) which has most of the data to create subsequent documents is exchanged manually. A Forwarder / Customs Broker has to access multiple stakeholder systems viz., shipping line portals, Custodian portals, Customs portal, bank portal etc., and re-enter shipment data multiple times. This is a time and resource consuming activity as a typical shipping export transaction utilises more than 120 original documents and their subsequent copies.
Container terminal industry is posed with higher operational complexities. Staying profitable in the era of weak demand growth and fluctuating global trade flows has made communication via a container management system between Ports, Container Terminals, Shippers, Forwarders, and Importers/Exporters, a necessity.
With an increase in the volume of shipments, it has become imperative that Ports, shipping lines, CFS/ICD and Customs are linked on a common system that promises flexibility, accuracy and ‘Ease of Doing Business’. Currently, the level of automation in the industry is diverse. Most ports do not possess single window EDI for trade facilitation. This affects the efficiency and profitability of container trade in many ways. Lack of advance shipment information results in the possibility of congestion at the port gate. Absence of real-time data exchange via a single window system translates to higher inventory in the supply chain, resulting in escalated logistics costs. Moreover, the security of container trade too is compromised as there is no common portal for the CFS or customers where they can track real-time status and milestone of their containers. Lack of a common portal for exchange of information amongst supply chain holders not only affects supply chain participants, but also impacts policy formation.
A robust EDI-based container digital exchange platform – CODEX – is designed to automate and digitally streamline EXIM container movement in and out of Ports. It facilitates proper communication, information exchange, connectivity and digital processing of key business transactions, which can be facilitated between all the stakeholders at the port and the related Logistics value chain.
The IGST tax refund process is streamlined with CODEX Port Community System. The process from the electronic VGM filing to EDI uploading, to generating of the discrepancy report is digitalized. The process that usually takes 90 days to complete, takes about 3 to 7 business days with CODEX. Exporters avail of instant IGST refunds with this digital platform. The challenge of liquidity for exporters, with CODEX, finds a solution.
Here are some Benefits a Port Authority & Stakeholders can Leverage from Port Community System
Adherence to e-FAL Compliance
A Port Community System (PCS) can play a huge role in helping ports adhere to the FAL Convention since it helps you integrate the electronic flow of trade-related documents or information while functioning as the centralized hub for the ports in the country for exchanging electronic messages in a secure manner. A Port Community System also works for other stakeholders like shipping lines or agents, surveyors, inland container depots, customs brokers, importers, exporters, railways or CONCOR, government regulatory agencies, stevedores, banks, container freight stations, etc.
Overcoming Staff Shortage
In order to make the freight moving from the exporter’s warehouse to the empty dock, there’s documentation work involved. Beginning from a bill of lading to delivery order, every document involves manual efforts for hours by the staff from shipping lines and forwarders. Due to staff shortage, submitting documents and obtaining approvals for the same has taken a backseat. Also, the freight movement of essentials and medical supplies too are affected. Even though some of them are managing with few staff they have, it is not efficient enough to cope up with. A Port Community System can streamline the entire the process and perform it seamlessly.
Integration of Port Side and Land Side Operations
In recent years, the inland component of the port system has become a key factor in shaping performance and competitive strategies of seaports. But physical and capacity constraints at berths, along with the trend of optimisation and standardisation of quayside operations, suggest that more focus must be placed on land-interface logistics operations. Reported inefficiencies in ports indicate that landside logistics operations are far behind their optimal efficiency, with most observed malfunctions (unproductive moves, congestion, delays, etc.) taking place at inland and intermodal port interfaces. This calls for integration of land side operations with a robust digital infrastructure with Port Community System.
Cost Reduction & Efficiency Improvement
Through conglomeration, Shipping Lines large and small have benefitted with cost synergies on the seaside. Yet, when it comes to the landside, each carrier has terminal agreements, trucking contracts, and operations management on a standalone basis. While operating on a standalone basis here, carrier’s operating expense could add up and the savings made on the seaside subsides.
Whereas with Port Community System, trucking contracts, and terminal agreement along with operations management are all performed digitally with an advance information sharing capability. With this, delays in vessel berthing and even truck congestion can be sorted simultaneously. Moreover, port community system improves inter-entity operations.
Maximizing Container Throughputs
A port community system integrates disparate processes across the seaport ecosystem in a secured digital format. Shipping Lines, Container Yards, Forwarders/Consolidators, Transporters, Consignee, and various other stakeholders are connected in a common portal to offer visibility of data and the entire operations across the ecosystem. Functions such as container tracking, vessel berthing, online document generation, electronic payments to name a few can be digitized with Port Community System.
Data Accuracy & Transparency
As the data exchange is in physical format across the ecosystem, accuracy takes backseat in various scenarios. Due to these inaccuracies, the forwarder needs to go back and forth to obtain accurate documentation. Reportedly, these iterations are causing unprecedented delays in the entire value chain. Moreover, the disparate nature of the legacy operation voids transparency. With a port community system in place, accurate documentation and transparent data sharing among all stakeholders is instantly enabled. Therefore, unprecedented delays and unwanted iterations in document correction can be voided.
Vessel & Harbour Marine : Shipping line declares the vessel and voyage with the port/terminal authorities. Based on the declaration the port/terminal allots the VCN. Shipping Line requests for berthing/Un berthing/pilotage services with Port/Terminal. Approval and allotment of berth/captain done by Port/Terminal.
e-FAL: Ports can capture advance information in electronic format for vessel arrival, stay & departure.
e-DO: Agent can request DO online for multiple carriers on a single platform. Payments, issuance, re-validation are carried out electronically.
Container Booking: Agent requests empty containers from shipping line based on which the liner approves and assigns empty container location and released CRO (container release order).
Terminal Slot Management: Provision to configure and book slots as per calendar days and time on finger tips. Helps in by 35% of Gate congestion reduction.
e-VGM: Works as a stand-alone SaaS based Web application with SOLAS compliance. Allows EDI inbound submission as VERMAS, or (IFTMIN) EDI messages or XML equivalents.
Track & Trace (Vessel, Cargo & Container): Access to real-time container status events and alerts.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), in an effort to simplify ocean trade and reduce the unnecessary delays in maritime traffic announced a new rule i.e. FAL Convention which is mandated from April 2020. IMO has declared it mandatory for governments to facilitate digitization in ports to simplify shipping operations. This is a welcome measure as Maritime trade involves complex processes. The ship’s crew has to submit several forms and acquire certificates thereby extending multiplying the waiting time of ships waiting to reach the port.
To facilitate ease of form submissions and process simplification, CODEX, a robust EDI based digital exchange platform comes handy to facilitate the declaration of forms, issuance, and approval of certificates as well as facilitate data exchange between different stakeholders. Also, it can be integrated with any Port Community System (PCS), Port Operating System (POS) and even Terminal Operating System (TOS). Therefore, CODEX is a holistic solution to stay in line with the FAL Convention guidelines to accelerate your operations.
Perks of Using CODEX to Ensure e-FAL Compliance
“This is a pioneering initiative in enabling ease of business, and following the honorable Prime Minister’s initiative of “Digital India”[…]
Mr. S. Anantha Chandra Bose – Chairman, V.O. Chidamabaranar (Tuticorin) Port Trust