The World Bank and IAPH have released a report that offers port communities a step-by-step guide to implementing a Port Community System (PSC) and explains its advantages for developing countries.
CS are digital platforms designed to facilitate and optimize the exchange of information and data between a wide range of port stakeholders, including shippers, cargo owners, carriers, terminal operators, freight forwarders, clearing agents, port and maritime authorities, Customs administrations, and other regulatory agencies, enabling them to exchange data and enable data collaboration.
The main purpose of PCS is to enhance the efficiency, security, and reliability of maritime trade and logistics operations, by reducing administrative burdens, minimizing waiting times, and improving visibility and transparency along the entire supply chain. PCS offer a variety of functionalities, including cargo tracking and tracing, vessel scheduling and berth planning, Customs clearance and inspection, and
invoicing and payment, among others.
The study’s thematic chapters explore the concept, evolution, and impact of PCS in modern global trade and looks at the strategies and best practices for implementing a PCS. It also examines the financial, governance, and legal aspects of their deployment as well as change management and the human aspect in implementing a PCS, all of which ultimately impact how successful deployment is in practice.
The report also demystifies the overlap between a PCS, a Maritime Single Window, and Trade Single Window systems. All these systems aim at facilitating the exchange of information and data between various stakeholders involved in maritime trade and logistics. The challenge lies in achieving interoperability and standardisation between these systems. The publication points at the best ways of enabling seamless data exchange and improve efficiency and sustainability in global supply chains.
By integrating a PCS into the existing digital port infrastructure, port stakeholders can achieve more efficient and secure communication, enhance cargo visibility, and reduce the time and costs associated with manual paper-based processes, especially vessel time at berth.
…IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven said.
”Additionally, a PCS can help governments streamline customs and border procedures, and contribute to national trade facilitation programs. Achieving these proven benefits by using lessons from global experience is the aim of this publication, whether you are a small island developing state or industrialised country.”, Patrick Verhoeven concluded.
Three key benefits of PSC
- Cost reductions in handling the documentation stem from the suppression of duplicate data entry, resulting in time savings not only by suppressing multiple entries, but also because it requires less correction and validation of the data.
- Increased efficiency stems from early availability of information that enables advance planning of operations and reduces idle time between them.
- Increased compliance can be facilitated by advance information that allows for better risk management, and traceability of the data which makes it easier to reconcile information.
The importance of the human element
The report mentions that PCS projects can not materialize without strong leadership and strategic guidance at the highest levels. The role of the port authority CEO and the head of Customs is crucial. In addition, C-level top management of the PCS, is responsible for setting the organization’s vision and direction, and ensures alignment with the overarching business strategy.
The CEOs and CIOs of the PCS operator should have a comprehensive understanding of the port community, and effectively engage and collaborate with both public and private stakeholders. The CEO’s role is to guarantee that the PCS aligns with the company’s overall objectives and values, while the CIO oversees technical aspects such as system architecture and cybersecurity.
It is vital to emphasize that the success of a PCS relies on the capabilities of individuals involved, transcending merely the technology or systems employed. Effective top management prioritize on cultivating relationships and promoting a collaborative culture among all participating parties.
The report concludes that more and more countries are recognizing the value of PCS and are investing in their development. However, developing countries may face significant challenges in implementing PCS due to limited financial and human resources, and as such, support from international organizations may be crucial to ensure the widespread adoption of PCS and the benefits they bring to all countries, regardless of their level of development.
Governments must understand the concept of PCS, put in place building blocks for its successful development to maximize the developmental impact form its adoption. By integrating PCS into the existing digital port infrastructure, port stakeholders can achieve more efficient and secure communication, enhance cargo visibility, and reduce the time and costs associated with manual paper-based processes.