IPCSA initiative promises visibility and certainty in the supply chain
In the drive for trade facilitation, the efficient flow of accurate information is just as vital as the efficient flow of the physical cargoes. But how much is guesswork?
For many shippers and logistics operators trying to plan cost-effective, time-efficient supply chains, the lack of visibility is a real obstacle. The information they need is fragmented and sourced from a variety of points in the supply chain – much of it is based on estimates and predictions, or is simply out of date.
But there is a solution which will provide accurate, real-time information.
The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) has iniatiated a ‘Network of Trusted Networks’, within which Port Community Systems can connect and share information via a specially created common shared global standard, based on API (Application Program Interface).
Javier Gallardo, director at Portic, Spain, and vice-chairman of IPCSA, explains:
“For more than 40 years, Port Community Systems have been acting as trusted third parties for their customers, enabling communication among port and airport companies, users and stakeholders through a hub-and-spoke model. PCSs provide authentication services, directory and delivery services, message transformation, and applications to their customers in their port communities.
“Through IPCSA’s Network of Trusted Networks, PCSs will also become trusted parties to each other, relying on the authentication of another PCS to identify a new user.”
IPCSA has developed a Track & Trace API for exchanging information relating to port calls and container shipment information. The ultimate plan is a ‘federation of PCSs’ which can develop new value-added services for logistics operators, thanks to new global standards.
In parallel, Community Systems serving the air cargo industry will use the same API to provide the same transparency.
IPCSA’s Network of Trusted Networks and Track & Trace initiatives deliver predictability, visibility and certainty within the supply chain – supporting existing PCS users, based on existing infrastructure, without the need to create any new operational systems.
This will provide clear benefits for PCS customers, says Javier Gallardo:
“By combining information from different PCSs, we will be providing real-time, accurate data – not forecast, not estimated, not assumed – and shippers will no longer have to depend on what they THINK is happening.”