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Global Supply Chain News: Container Shipping Industry Association Pushed Communications Standards in Push for "Just in Time" Port Calls


Container Ships Spend Average 9% of Time Waiting for Berths, IMO has Estimated



Nov. 4, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

A group called the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), which has nine major ocean container carriers as its members, published standard electronic data definitions for the port call process. That, the group says, is connected to its mission to support the adoption of digitization in the shipping industry and improve operating efficiency.

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According to the association, they plan to add API definitions for automating the exchange of event data in future releases of the protocol.


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In turn, DCSA says, that if carriers, ports and terminals adopt the digital standards, it will usher in a new era of just-in-time execution of port calls. If adopted, that new operating model will facilitate vessel speed optimization and reduce CO2 emissions.

A just-in-time approach to port calls will would streamline a number of key processes for industry stakeholders, and also benefit the environment, said Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA.

He added that "Enabling a vessel to optimize its speed during the voyage to arrive just in time at the pilot boarding place, when berth availability is ensured, will significantly reduce the amount of fuel consumed."

However, Bagge said that to get there will require digital collaboration between carriers, ports, and terminals. Adoption of the DCSA digital standards could play a key role in creating integrated systems that will be needed for this level of synchronization among the multi-parties involved, DCSA says.

The concept is based on the ship maintaining an optimal operating speed to arrive at the target port when availability of a berth, fairway and nautical services (such as pilots, tugs, and linesmen) is assured.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that that ships spend up to 9% of their time waiting at anchorage.

At least one European port is on-board with the idea.

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"Our ability to provide more innovative, efficient, and sustainable operations is a strategic advantage for our port," said Erwin Verstaelen, CIO for Port of Antwerp. "Just-in-time port calls enabled by DCSA digital standards will play an important role in helping ensure that these attributes are a core part of our infrastructure."

The first version of the DCSA Port Call Data Definitions is available for downloading from the DCSA web site. According to the association, they plan to add API definitions for automating the exchange of event data in future releases of the protocol.

To provide a global industry framework that preserves existing investments, DCSA port call data definitions align with International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Taskforce Port Call Optimization (ITPCO) Just In Time (JIT) Arrival Guide standards.

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