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e-Trade: Technology improves for seamless door-to-door trade flows

Communication technology to help ports, terminals, shippers and shipping lines communicate, or at least help their internal digital systems communicate exists and should be used more frequently according to the latest note from the International Port CDM Council.

Port Collaborative Decision Making seeks to create a common standard that will reduce one of the main problems for efficient trade, port and terminal congestion and waiting times, by encouraging businesses involved to share vessel and port timings more widely.

The argument of the Council, which is a direct spin-off from the EU-Funded Port CDM project under the EU funded Sea Traffic Management Validation Project, is that by encouraging shipping lines, terminals, port operators and others to share timings vessels can be operated more expediently. This can lead to just in time arrivals, terminal staff and systems being operated more efficiently, improving goods throughput, and vessel operators can save on excessive contractual and fuel costs.

In a push to encourage ports and terminals as well as harbour authorities and shipping companies to consider Port CDM as an enabler, IPCDMC has begun publishing a series of implementation notes to encourage adoption of of the Port CDM concept, including a messaging standard, S-211, that has been published by IALA.

This particular implementation note covers the first two basic steps that operators can deploy to make some initial gains in efficiency by establishing certain system time stamps, such as estimated arrivals and departures and terminal availability ahead of trusting the level of communication with other actors.

As part of these first two steps the Note identifies that a “connector software” is needed which can submit and retrieve relevant data to and from the source system, can decode data to or from the S-211 standard format and submit it to standardized Port CDM submission API, thus making it available by other Port CDM enabled actors.

However this implementation note, as with previous notes (as a part of the STM Validation project the Port CDM project managers published a series of Concept Notes here on Fathom.World) identify the competitive fears regarding sharing of information still remain. The authors, by listing the ports and terminals in Europe that were part of the initial Port CDM test bed and continue to use it, hope to raise awareness of its effectiveness.

The latest IPCDMC Implementation Note can be downloaded here.

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.