By Pascal Minvielle, Chief Operating Officer, Webb Fontaine (www.WebbFontaine.com)
The Port Community System (PCS) is an electronic collaborative hub which allows public and private stakeholders involved in cargo release to exchange instructions, movements, documents and authorizations associated with import and export consignments within the Port or Airport.
Automation, better transmission and sharing of information afford greater visibility of Port operations, leading to smoother and streamlined Supply Chain management, decongestion of Ports, secured payments and faster release of goods.
Stakeholders accessing the platform are typically Carriers, Customs Authorities, Terminal operators, Freight forwarders, Declarants, Regulatory bodies and Banks. The release procedures are complex and vary according to the type of freight, the mode of transport, the release type (transfer, transshipment, warehouse exit, direct pickup, etc.) and sometimes differ from one port location to another.
However general processes are almost identical from one country to another, paving the way for a universal PCS solution that can be parameterized.
In most countries, even if Customs and regulatory procedures are fully automated, Port release procedures often remain the weakest link in the process with tedious manual procedures and little communication between ad-hoc systems resulting in substantial delays in shipment delivery process.
Webb Fontaine designed its PCS system with the same spirit that allowed its Customs Management System (CMS) Customs Webb and Single Window platform to be implemented in any country in record time, as a turnkey solution using workflow engines based on local rules as well as scripts for automated calculation of port fees and taxes.
The PCS builds on bespoke interfacing with the electronic payment platform Paylican and is equipped with a CMS connectivity toolkit that connects all systems including Customs Webb and Asycuda.
Through the PCS system, Carriers submit vessel calls information to the Port Authority as well as freight manifest data with list of handling units per waybill or booking confirmations for exporters and transshipment requests.
The PCS receives the corresponding Customs declaration from the Customs system and generates invoices for the mandatory payment of Carrier fees, Terminal fees, relevant authority fees and release conditions such as mandatory Haulage identification and reception of Delivery Order.
Customs plays a vital role by authorizing transhipments online, as well as manifest amendments, ICD transfers, stripping movements and final release.
Movements such as handling units discharge or loading, gate in and gate out are exchanged with Terminal operators IT systems usually through UN EDIFACT standards. In addition, the PCS system can be coupled with Webb Fontaine Virtual Trade Corridor management software for Electronic Cargo Tracking between ICDs and Free Trade Zones.
Piloting a complete Port solution which also applies for airports and terrestrial movements becomes possible in less than 6 months for all freight families - conventional, containerized, bulk and RoRo, all modes of transport and all flows.
With its continuous efforts to simplify the implementation of complex Supply Chain projects, Webb Fontaine PCS software solution marks a new era in Ports logistics automation and trade facilitation in general, on the same model as the widespread of generic Customs automation systems worldwide a few decades ago.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Webb Fontaine.