Indian Ports Association joins international port community system’s body

The country’s major ports’ apex body Indian Ports Association (IPA) has become the latest member of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), a release said on Tuesday.

A successor to the European Port Community Systems Association (ECPSA), which was launched in June 2011 by six founding members, all European-based port community system operators, IPCSA and its members play a vital role in global trade facilitation.

The electronic communications platforms provided by port community systems (PCSs) ensure smooth transport and logistics operations at hundreds of sea ports, airports and inland ports.

“IPCSA is delighted to welcome the IPA, which brings with it their experience and knowledge on how to develop a national PCS,” IPA quoted IPCSA Chairman Hans Rook as saying in the release.

He added that the inclusion of the Indian ports through PCS1x platform into IPCSA is a new milestone in IPCSA’s development and will support in the implementation of new global initiatives.

India has been working for many years now on its digital infrastructure and enabling of e-governance. PCS1x has been rolled out by IPA to offer a true single window for the port and maritime community for sharing data and information, said the IPA.

PCS1x is addressing the way in which information is passed on a real-time basis by integrating with various stakeholder systems bringing speed, transparency and efficiency leading to reduction in errors, faster processing times, said the release.

Since going live in December 2018, the new PCS1x has tripled the user base and reduced the turnaround time of (customs) batch mode of EDI exchange from 30 minutes to under four minutes, IPA stated in the release.

Currently, 12 major ports have fully implemented PCS1x with over 16,000 users transacting, said the release, adding moreover, private ports including Mundra, Pipavav, Hazira, Kattupalli and Dahej have also commenced adoption.

IPA Executive Director Abhijit Singh said the government desires PCS1x should constantly evolve to be the best in class PCS globally. Hence, in order to keep abreast of the technological developments happening globally it is important that IPA should become part of the international port community network by developing association with prestigious bodies like IPCSA, he added.

“We endeavour to integrate with other international PCS to ease trading across borders. In fact, we wish to align PCS 1x to the 2030 vision of IPCSA,” he said.

It has provisions for translating messages of different standards to facilitate meaningful exchange of data with multiple external systems in required formats, it said.

IPA also said that following the success of PCS1x, the government is now working towards developing a national maritime single window, ‘National Logistics Portal (NLP-Marine)’ encompassing complete end-to-end logistic solution.

“The Indian government’s vision to create a national PCS (NLP-Marine), has during this time of crisis enabled greater digitalisation in its ports which helps to ensure continuing operations,” said IPCSA Secretary General Richard Morton.