Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Jul 2015

LOGISTICS: Transforming SA Ports Into 'smartPORTS'


Recent Gauteng Business News

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has commenced with the registration process for its Integrated Port Management System (IPMS), scheduled to go live in the Port of Durban at the end of July.

TNPA began issuing registration instructions to external users such as vessel agents from 1 July.

IPMS is a web-based end-to-end integrated system that will automate the operations of TNPA's eight commercial ports. It provides near real-time access to the full range of operational information accessed centrally online in order to deliver improved service to TNPA customers and enhance port performance and efficiency.

Smart people ports

Chief executive Richard Vallihu said: "Global ports are adopting 'smartPORT' concepts and the world is increasingly embracing digital technologies and data analytics to make sense of the information that we have around us. Gathering that information in the first place is a challenge. "As TNPA we want to focus on 'smart people ports' with a focus on development, which is very important for us. We believe that the glue or the backbone of our entire port system is information systems, but in an integrated way, where we manage just about every input and output to make monitoring, tracking, evaluating and optimising a lot simpler," he added.

Vallihu said the IPMS is benchmarked against Malaysian and Singaporean ports which are among the world's most efficient. "This is a first in Africa, where we integrate all the ports on a single platform, and can integrate with just about every logistical system out there, including rail, road traffic and obviously the vessels out in the port and at sea," he said.

IPMS replaces manual processes that were used for monitoring marine operations, vessel traffic services and terminal performance. It is designed to integrate the logistics around vessel traffic services, marine and terminal operations, rail logistics and provide real-time reporting capability across the port system.

The benefits of the system include:

• 24/7 access to port operational information
• Online submission of arrival notifications
• Online dry dock applications
• Online marine service requests
• Online supplementary service requests
• Visibility of the slot system
• Online vessel status
• System notifications via e-mail and short message system (SMS), online chat
• Operational reports
• Sharing of general ports information

TNPA said feedback had been positive following daily intensive training for internal and external users at the Maritime School of Excellence in Durban during June. "We are pleased with results to date and the response from users involved in the acceptance testing phase has been extremely encouraging," said Naresh Sewnath, business process owner.

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