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Digitization to Support Just-in-Time Port Calls for Container Shipping

digitization to improve container port efficiency
(file photo)

By The Maritime Executive 10-20-2020 02:36:28

As part of its continuing efforts to support the adoption of digitization in the shipping industry and improve operating efficiency, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) published standard data definitions for the port call process. By adopting a just-in-time approach to port calls, the association says it can facilitate vessel speed optimization and reduce CO2 emissions.

“The JIT port call will streamline a number of key processes for industry stakeholders, and it will also benefit the environment,” said Thomas Bagge, CEO DCSA. “Enabling a vessel to optimize its speed during the voyage to arrive just in time at the pilot boarding place, when berth availability is ensured, will significantly reduce the amount of fuel consumed. Achieving this will require digital collaboration between carriers, ports, and terminals. DCSA digital standards play an important role in establishing the harmonious ecosystem that will allow this level of collaboration, and today’s release is the first step towards the creation of that ecosystem.”

The non-profit group established to further digitalization of container shipping technology standards, worked in conjunction with its nine member carriers, developing the definitions which will allow carriers, ports, and terminals to exchange event data in a uniform way. Using this protocol, the association says will enable digital planning and operational optimization. 

“Our ability to provide more innovative, efficient, and sustainable operations is a strategic advantage for our port,” said Erwin Verstaelen, CDIO for Port of Antwerp. “Just-in-time port calls enabled by DCSA digital standards will play an important role in helping ensure that these attributes are a core part of our infrastructure. There are a lot of moving parts and stakeholders that need to work together to enable a JIT port call. With commitments from the world’s top carriers, DCSA’s digital standards are key to enabling this collaboration.”

To provide a global industry framework that preserves existing investments, DCSA port call data definitions align with IMO and ITPCO Just In Time (JIT) Arrival Guide standards. This is one of many initiatives to be put forth by DCSA to accelerate digitalization through a unified industry effort.

“Port call optimization will enable terminal operators to provide many benefits to their shipping customers,” said Frank Kho, CEO of TIC4.0 (Terminal Industry Committee 4.0). “With just-in-time port calls, arrival times and berth space can be optimally managed. This means capacity, equipment, and staffing can be more accurately estimated and planned. We applaud DCSA’s initiative to develop standards that will enable greater port call efficiency and appreciate the opportunity?to contribute to shaping them. TIC4.0 is committed to working with stakeholders, including other standards bodies such as ITPCO, to develop standards that will improve operational efficiency for terminals and other adjacent parts of the supply chain.?As part of our commitment, we encourage players in our industry to join and support the work.”

The first version of the DCSA Port Call Data Definitions is available for downloading from the DCSA web site. According to the association, they plan to add API definitions for automating the exchange of event data in future releases of the protocol.