About the Author
Umesh Kurlekar, Senior Consultant – Maritime Trade Kale Logistics Solutions
Umesh Kurlekar brings with him more than 20 years of experience from port operations and shipping lines. He spearheads the CODEX – Port Community System (PCS) development for global markets. Executed under his leadership, CODEX has been recognized by esteemed institutions like the United Nations, Asian Development Bank and CII for its innovation in Trade Facilitation.
Ports need help in modernizing the following areas
Why do maritime companies wish to leverage cloud-based platforms?
Yes, maritime stakeholders such as shipping lines, container yards, terminal operators, forwarders/consolidators,transporters are rapidly leveraging cloud computing. Here are some reasons why
they are eyeing more on cloud computing.
According to a recent study, 50 per cent is the rate of cost savings which these stakeholders realized by deploying cloud-based platforms. These platforms enable companies to cut down unnecessary infrastructural costs. Also, it enables them to meet their variable expenses as they can pay for the applications which they use and smartly manage their resources.
Yet another key benefit of having a cloud-based platform. Resources can be monitored remotely, and movement of cargo can be tracked on every milestone. Documentation is made online and the same involves validation plus verification from the authorities. Therefore, the entire operation is digitized seamlessly.
The maritime trade is a cyclical industry with steep fluctuational patterns in transactional volumes. A cloudbased platform enables all these stakeholders to adopt smart capacity handling. They can instantaneously scale up or down that is in line with the market conditions
Integrating Global & Local Operations
Several shipping lines right after lockdown restrictions stood up and implemented technologies such as online slot booking etc. This not only helped them increase the scale of their operations, but also enabled them to garner clientele from different geographies across the world. In turn, their operations too expanded on a global scale
Possible Applications where the above can be realized in Maritime Trade
Cloud-based platforms i.e., Port Community System are not the thing of the future. It is rather a trend that has already emerged and dominating the maritime industry. The number of digital investments made by leading Shipping Lines and Port Authorities are the testimony to this fact. In the coming days, technologies such as 5G, Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) will find more relevance as IT solutions providers are inculcating these technologies rapidly. Precisely, we are already in the new normal.
Digital Documentation (Delivery Order, Bill of Lading)
It is said that to process Delivery Order alone, the time consumed is 3 days. And this means, the cargo/container is strangled in the source port environment only for 3 days. Whereas a cloud-based platform could easily digitize the entire documentation process simultaneously.
Digital Vessel Operations & Management
On average, 40 hours is the time taken for a vessel to unberth in a seaport. This significant time reflects the manual activities that exists in some ports even today. However, cloud-based platforms can seamlessly help overcome these delays with digitized operations.
Forwarder/Consolidator, Transporter and other stakeholders who are not in the port ecosystem often ask, “where is my cargo?” Yes, this is a result of the glitches involved in the entire maritime value chain. Milestone Tracking is an application of a cloud-based platform which could enable micro level tracking of the cargo/container in the maritime value chain
Digital Inventory/Warehouse Management
During the lockdown restrictions envisaged last year, several warehouses in the Yards and Terminals went non-functional. While several Yard Managers decided to innovate and digitized remote working as well as monitoring. Digital Warehouse Management could enable 24×7 monitoring of activities. Most importantly, it is more reliable when it comes to thwarting challenges such as cargo theft.
A modern smart port and its community can adopt cloud-based systems and derive benefits like:
Forward planning with COVID-19 has proved difficult, with new variants, restrictions and long-term effects proving hard to predict. The Global Trade Atlas Forecast suggests recovery for the maritime industry in 2021 with seaborne trade forecasted a 6.9% growth rate from 2020 to 2021.