The next generation PCS
The next generation PCS is being designed to be more scalable and flexible. It offers tremendous features such as customised dashboard, open architecture and interoperability
The first port community system platform was introduced in India in 2007, when quite many ports were beginning to exchange information with shipping lines on the vessel management system and few smaller functions. However, the system was never implemented in its full scope as this would have meant upgrading a number of processes and bringing on board all stakeholders from the Customs to the freight forwarders and dry ports on one page.
The reason for which PCS 1.0 failed to achieve desired result was lack of participation by all stakeholders. It was not mandatory for freight forwarding community to be a part of PCS. Secondly, only few sections became a part of PCS as a result, the PCS system failed to deliver to its full potential. The initial version of PCS was confined only to produce vessel profiling and generation of via/ rotation number which didn’t add much value to the trade because still a major part of the practice was done manually.
Overcoming these deficiencies is PCS 1X being developed by
Portall. It is being prepared after close examination of the application architecture and systems architecture of the existing PCS 1.0. PCS 1X will be Cloud-based with frame design that eases use of value added systems. There will be certain value additions such as auto popup of fields, interconnectivity of systems, development of APIS and support mechanism. " In fact, one of the first things we did when we got the contract was the APIS. Putting a PCS together and ensuring reach to the last constituent of trade is what will make it successful," says Abhijit Desai, Chief Executive Officer, Portall. It will enable sharing of information and basic grass root level usage as well. For this a hybrid model is adopted wherein a dashboard enables a user to access the data from PCS and your personal system as well, enabling the user to perform actual transactions.
It creates a document production platform and message exchange mechanism and a lot of effort has been put to ensure standardisation. It creates an open architecture wherein specific solutions with a single sign-on can be brought onto the same platform. Convergence of data, systems, functionalities and their interoperability is ensured in PCS 1X. A workflow also has been designed so that the user knows easily what to do? When to do and how to do? A payment aggregator platform has been introduced wherein you can pay to multiple parties from a single source.
“PCS 1X is in line with the need for interoperability. Globally most of the developed countries have a robust PCS and they have an ecosystem of technology service providers who ensure that the country meets the standards. Today technology has to have open APIS but it should be secure as well,” says Liji Nowal, MD, Odex India Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Shippers will benefit from seamless tracking of containers and vessel movement using the mobile app. Each stakeholder can use a customised dashboard. Processing and approval process will be expedited and delays will be minimised as the upgraded platform enables for setting reminders. It saves the pain of contacting and follow-up with multiple stakeholders as shippers and other parties in the loop can access summary of all declarations made, vessel information and container loading details on 24X7 basis.
PCS 1X is designed to be highly flexible and scaleable. The message exchange system translates any request into appropriate message type and routes it to appropriate provider. System changes do not have a ripple effect, i.e., if changes are made in one system, other systems will not be affected. A striking feature of PCS 1X is that it integrates IT environment faster and more securely by converting and transforming between different protocols and data formats.
"Looking at the diversity of our country where data is entered in several languages, one unifying language is the binary code and when brought onto a platform it brings out all the efficiencies,” says Vijay Minocha, President, Asia Pacific, INTTRA Pte Ltd.