Port Call Optimization – The future of Maritime trade?

Port Call Optimization – The future of Maritime trade?



Maritime Trade is the traditional form of cargo movement. But the cargo sent in the initial days is in no way equivalent to the tons of cargo exported and imported in the current times. Perhaps, several Ports across the world are reluctant or unaware of the benefits digitisation could offer and that is the reason why they have not taken digitisation to its optimal level.


But, thanks to COVID-19 and the lockdown scenario which prevailed for months that has enabled the Maritime stakeholders to think about technology adoption in certain processes. Functions such as terminal slot booking, generation of documents such as delivery order, bill of lading are generated online. Also, some of them have considered inculcating separate applications to handle unclaimed cargo.


In addition to this, port authorities, shipping lines, container yards, terminals, forwarders, and others have seriously considered adopting Port Community System. A Port Community System will enable proper communication among all stakeholders, streamline operations and reduce delays in the entire process thereby ensuring complete visibility of cargo movement. While technology adoption has been taking place in these arenas, some of the Maritime stakeholders are beginning to think beyond. Yes, Maritime stakeholders are now gearing up to be future-ready as data plays a major role in today’s maritime world. Due to this large data interference, communication on the macro level takes a major hit. And Port Call Optimization is believed to be the sailing factor in being future-ready and paperless.


What is Port Call Optimisation?


A Port is a city in itself, and it houses different stakeholders and different activities. To move cargo from the Port gate to the dock, several paper-based activities are involved. On average, it is said that to obtain a Delivery Order alone, a minimum of three hours is required.


Hence, stakeholders started utilising Port Community System to internally speed up the processes. On the other hand, delays occur at the destination too. For example, let us say the destination Port is not digitally equipped. Then, data exchange between the two Ports turns out to be poor and it results in redundancies and delays in the entire process. Therefore, the overall effort to digitise and reduce delays will go in vain.


Therefore, one has to ensure the source and destination are well connected i.e., there has to be a direct communication link such as a trade lane between the two Ports for information exchange. Port Call Optimization will serve as a freight and trade corridor between the two Ports and improve communication between the two. For example, vessel declaration and other documentation procedures can be eventually completed prior to anchorage so that the vessel need not wait for hours and days.


Also, the shipper and the consignee are well-informed about the movement with milestone tracking capabilities. Precisely, it brings in a significant amount of transparency, efficiency and reduction in operational delays. As a result, the movement of shipment from the shipper to the consignee is smooth and rapid.


What technologies are involved in building a Port Call Optimization?


Port Call Optimization is the next level of the Port community system even though it is an integral part of the Port Community System. The sporadic use of technologies to ensure predictive capabilities, transparency, efficiency and other aspects is widely seen in Port Call Optimization.


Blockchain for transparency


Blockchain is the most revered and the most looked-after technology in today’s world due to its transparency applications. In the Maritime ecosystem especially, the use of blockchain has been rapid and it is said that revenue leakage, loss of cargo and data security as well as other issues are sorted with blockchain.


Predictive capabilities with Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning


If trucks announce their entry beforehand into the Port precinct, Port gate congestion can be overcome. Also, resource management at the terminal would be seamless. Spearheading these predictive capabilities are the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Right from identifying a time slot based in the terminal parking area when there are no/fewer trucks waiting to share information beforehand for forwarders and terminals to process shipment movement rapidly, predictive capabilities of artificial intelligence are widely utilised in Port Community System as well as Port Call Optimization.


Is it the future?


While the acceptance of the Port Community System is just gearing up, Port Call Optimization might take more time to be accepted among Maritime stakeholders worldwide. But, with the continued relevance of technology adoption in the current times, the prospects of inculcating Port Community System and Port Call Optimization is not far away