Transnet National Ports Authority representatives

Transnet National Ports Authority representatives

State-owned enterprise Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) new Web-based integrated port management system (IPMS) went live on July 26 at the Port of Durban, with crude oil tanker Colorado being the first vessel to be brought into the port using the new system.

The system replaced manual processes, with key port operations now set to be automated, online and in real time.

Developed by India-based technology company Navayuga Infotech in collaboration with South Africa’s Nambiti Technologies, the IPMS was a strategic project that aimed to support the broader goals of the Transnet Market Demand Strategy in terms of efficiency and productivity.

The R79-million project was set to be implemented at all eight of the country’s ports, covering concept development, architecture, implementation and roll-out.

“Since 2008, various feasibility studies were undertaken where we identified the need for an automated and Web-based system to improve port operations, strengthen efficiencies and enhance competitiveness. This online system will help transform our ocean gateways into ‘smartPORTs’ by using advanced information technology (IT) that will make them more intelligent and sustainable, while conserving resources, time, space and energy,” TNPA CE Richard Vallihu outlined.

He added that the IPMS was benchmarked against Malaysian and Singaporean ports, which were among the world’s most efficient. The IPMS system was a “groundbreaking initiative” as this was the first time that a system such as this had been integrated across multiple ports on a single platform.

“For us as a customer-focused organisation this state-of-the-art IT will ensure that port information and processes are transparent and easily accessible to users throughout the South African port logistics chain,” Vallihu said.

Sharaf Shipping Agency’s Yugen Reddy added that his role as an agent was to make sure that ships were in and out of the port as quick as possible, because “time is money”.

“With IPMS we will be able to use our smart phones or tablets while we’re out and about to update the system and get [immediate] acknowledgment from TNPA with regard to sailing or berthing of vessels.”

IPMS would link to Transnet Freight Rail’s integrated train plan and train execution management system. It was also integrated with global systems, such as Lloyds Register, AIS for vessel traffic management, IPOSS for weather, electronic data interchange and SAP for business operations, customer relations and finance.

From Durban, the project team would move to Cape Town and Saldanha, then Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London, and finally to Richards Bay and Mossel Bay.

TNPA conducted daily intensive training for internal and external users at the Maritime School of Excellence in Durban during June.