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Integrated ports system goes live in Durban

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Transnet National Ports Authority’s new Web-based Integrated Port Management System (IPMS) has gone live in the Port of Durban with the crude oil tanker, Colorado, the first to be brought into the port using the new system.

Developed by Indian-based Navayuga Infotech in collaboration with South African partner Nambiti Technologies, the IPMS is a strategic project that aims to support the broader objectives of the Transnet Market Demand Strategy (MDS) in terms of efficiency and productivity.

The project will cost TNPA around R79-million for the entire system, for all eight South African ports, which will cover concept development, architecture, implementation and rollout.

TNPA chief executive Richard Vallihu comments: “Since 2008, various feasibility studies were undertaken where we identified the need for an automated and web-based system to improve port operations, strengthen efficiencies and enhance competitiveness. This online system will help transform our ocean gateways into smartPORTs by using advanced information technology that will make them more intelligent and sustainable, while conserving resources, time, space and energy.”

The system replaces manual processes, with key port operations now set to be automated, online and in realtime.

Vallihu says the IPMS was benchmarked against Malaysian and Singaporean ports which were among the world’s most efficient. The IPMS system will be a ground-breaking initiative in that, for the first time in the world, a system such as this is integrated across multiple ports on a single platform.

“For us as a customer-focused organisation this state-of-the-art information technology will ensure that port information and processes are transparent and easily accessible to users throughout the South African port logistics chain,” he says.

Yugen Reddy of Sharaf Shipping Agency says the system will help him to work more efficiently. “My role as an agent is to make sure that ships are in and out of the port as quick as possible because time is money. With IPMS we will be able to use our smart phones or tablets while we’re out and about to update the system and get acknowledgment from TNPA on the spot with regards to sailing or berthing of vessels.”

Vessel agent Londa Small of Thembani Shipping agrees: “I am optimistic about the IPMS system because everything’s going to be in real-time enabling quicker turnaround.”

IPMS will link to Transnet Freight Rail’s Integrated Train Plan (ITP) and Train Execution Management System (TEMS). It is also integrated with global systems such as Lloyds Register, AIS for vessel traffic management, IPOSS for weather, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and SAP for business operations, customer relations and finance.

From Durban the project team will move on to Cape Town and Saldanha, then Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London and finally to Richards Bay and Mossel Bay.

TNPA conducted daily intensive training for internal and external users at the Maritime School of Excellence in Durban during June.