Port operations are based on synchronized actions of numerous stakeholders. Especially in small and midsize ports, synchronization tools include radios, fax, email and phones. So it is hard to validate and optimize activities and operations as some of this communication happens ad hoc, not always in a timely manner and is only partially documented – in a way that is hard to trace. This is not ideal for communication, synchronization and optimization in the real world.
Harbors with maritime specialties, for instance, a small passage where only one or two vessels can pass simultaneously, are especially reliant on transparent communication and situational awareness. A late incoming vessel blocking traffic of all other vessels will negatively impact planned operations in a rapid sequence. This becomes even more difficult since all stakeholders must be informed about any changes in a documented way so everyone understands how to maneuver the changed situation.
What is a PCS, and how can it alleviate these issues?
A Port Community System (PCS) – an open electronic platform that connects multiple systems operated by organizations that make up a port community – is designed to transform port operations and facilitate efficient communication and collaboration among all stakeholders, addressing the challenges above. By digitalizing and streamlining processes, a PCS eliminates most paperwork and semielectronic data transfer, enhances collaboration between stakeholders, improves trade facilitation and promotes standardization within the port community. Information and communication channels are organized per ship and either preset by existing contracts between parties or ad hoc, depending on the needs of certain ships and ship owners. Real-time data capture and sharing enables more efficient processes and better decision-making. It operates on Automatic Identification System (AIS) data streams, nautical charts and can also include street traffic and rail information.
The PCS as a service (aaS) approach addresses challenges faced by small and midsize ports that lack IT support and rely heavily on manual communication and synchronization processes. By providing a central communication platform and digitalizing port call procedures, a PCS solution can streamline operations and improve efficiency. Its key features include:
- Central information and data hub: Serves as a centralized platform for sharing real-time information and data among stakeholders, enhancing collaboration and decision-making
- Common operating picture: Integrates various high-value data sources, such as AIS data, nautical charts, sensor information, video streams and geographical data, creating a comprehensive view of port operations
- Communication channels for all stakeholders: Establishes dedicated communication channels for each ship, facilitating information exchange and document sharing among all involved parties
- Managed infrastructure with no local installation: Removes installation hurdles and eases communication through use of standard IT measures
A PCS is a comprehensive solution to digitalize and streamline port operations. By enabling seamless communication, real-time data sharing and collaborative decision-making, a PCS empowers stakeholders to optimize efficiency and enhance the overall performance of ports. PCS aaS enables a high degree of standardized functionality and the security of a centrally maintained and operated solution. With evolving standards associated with common maritime platforms, the aaS approach is easier and more cost effective.
Hexagon’s Port Community System powered by HxGN Connect – a cloud-native, real-time incident center as a service solution – is uniquely equipped to transform port operations and facilitate efficient communication and collaboration, offering stakeholders the tools and capabilities necessary to optimize port operations and drive economic growth.