An efficiency-enhancing electronic messaging hub to serve the Australian shipping and logistics industries.
- Significantly reduced manual paperwork.
- Improved data accuracy.
- Quicker turnaround of documentation and reduced port visit times for trucks.
A technology joint-venture between two major Australian stevedoring operators has radically improved freight handling across Australia’s port network and beyond.
While competition within the freight handling and logistics industry is intense, a technology-based joint venture between two of Australia’s major stevedoring firms has meant dramatic improvements for cargo movements through the country’s ports – to the benefit of the industry as a whole.
‘1-Stop Connections’ markets an integrated information exchange system for Australia’s international and coastal trade community.
1-Stop is a joint venture between stevedoring companies Patrick Stevedores and DP World (previously P&O Ports) which provides an electronic translation and integration hub for all the different message types flowing between the transport and logistics industry, Australian Customs and the stevedores. 1-Stop is effectively the pipe through which the majority of Customs and container related messages move to and from the stevedores.
1-Stop’s chief executive, Peter Kosmina, says the venture began through the stevedore’s realisation that while IT was a non-competitive area for them, it was also an area where the whole industry could achieve major efficiency gains if it collaborated to produce an integrated system capable of automating significant paper-based systems.
”As the information and communication technology provider, we do all the work of taking the message in, and translating it into the format that’s required by the receiver. Then we take what the receiver sends back to us and translate it back into the format the sender requires it in,” he explains.
”We’ve expanded from road to rail, and over the four years we’ve been operating we’ve changed what were manual paper processes into more streamlined electronic processes.”
The impact of 1-Stop has been impressive. The “autogate” processes it enables (being able to process truck arrivals at a port electronically, rather than through a complex exercise of form-filling) have cut about 14 minutes off the average time a truck spends per port visit.
On top of the benefits this streamlining provides to trucking firms, the system has other significant efficiency impacts for all port and logistics operators.
”The information we get from the terminals for example – including vessel schedules, container movement messages, discharge messages, load messages, gate-in, and gate-out messages – enables us to provide a service to those with an interest in particular cargo. Any milestone relating to a container’s movement, we’ve got in our system.
”That data can go into their IT systems allowing them to have information ahead of time, enabling them to plan better and therefore set up a consistent operation, which can cut costs out of their business. Terminals are able to staff-up correctly depending on the volume of road and rail traffic coming in on a specific days, versus what’s required on the ships. Also the importers and exporters, and their carriers are better able to plan their processes based on the improved consistency of service they get from that road/rail interface.”
The 1-Stop system was built by B2BE (its Sydney division was then called The ECN Group).
The technological core of the 1-Stop system is a business document messaging system.
B2BE also uses its messaging system as the core of its business-to-business messaging hub product, TDN, which includes functionality such as web visibility, reporting, provisioning and exception management tools.
With the power of 1-Stop now solidly proven by several years of operation in the demanding Australian port environment, the potential to implement the solution in other markets is now being investigated.
”The footprint we’ve established here could work in any terminal facility around the world depending on how that terminal wants to operate,” says Kosmina.
B2BE is also enthusiastic about the potential to deploy the solution in other markets, especially New Zealand.
”There is now a significant movement within the New Zealand transportation sector to have a similar service to 1-Stop operating here,” says B2BE’s Wayne McLaughlin.
”We believe the time is right to actively promote the strengths and advantages this type of service could bring to the New Zealand freight and stevedoring industry and to seek the support of the industry to delivery it,” he says.
”While there are issues around ensuring commercially sensitive data is not divulged through a trade database system, it could be a highly valuable tool if deployed in the New Zealand market as part of a local integration hub solution”.
Utilising 1-Stop’s information hub and B2BE technology there are many opportunities to further develop trade information system’s that are able to provide valuable insights to the industry via detailed and real-time cargo movement data.
”With the information we have in our system, we know what containers are travelling to and from Australia – and that is information which has the ability to assist the industry,” says Kosmina.