J M BAXI GROUP’s Portall has announced that the ONE Line shipping agency has come on-board via an API to integrate successfully with the Port Community System (PCS1x) for the real-time transfer of electronic agent delivery orders.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought widespread disruption, and its impact has been devastating. However, looking on the bright side, the pandemic also exposed the existing flaws and deficiencies in the system and highlighted the need to transform the supply chain models. It has become a catalyst for change in the shipping industry. Owing to the current lockdowns, more and more companies are adopting new technology and upgrading their business model, to make their networks more agile and resilient during the pandemic.

We have reached a point where all the parties in a supply chain are now digital (at some level or another), but most of them are working in their own silo. Hence, integrating via an API has become critical to their business strategies, as it improves operational efficiency. An API bridges the gap between IT systems by exposing complex services via secure encryption and authentication mechanisms. APIs serve as a communication link, processing requests and streamlining functions. Creating APIs is quick and easy.

In a supply chain, time and costs are often the biggest constraints. Some of the benefits of an API include reduced costs and fewer errors. An API integration is automated and connects multiple systems in both directions. APIs enable powerful features, such as synchronising multiple web applications and the exchange of electronic documents. An API allows all parties to view in real time updates on tasks and to track consignments. This real-time connection makes an API so effective.

The onboarding of ONE Line was initiated with a kick-off session during which project activities and the development and testing procedures were discussed and agreed. This was followed by the sharing of relevant documentation. Once the development was complete, the eDO system underwent rigorous user acceptance testing (UAT), which included testing and validating end-to-end business flows and all the scenarios related to an agent delivery order. The UAT was undertaken jointly by ONE Line and Portall. After the functional, integration and system testing was passed successfully in the testing environment (which is based on the production or live environment), the system was ready for deployment. Process quality was maintained throughout the onboarding process.

The implementation was conducted in phases. It went live first for JNPT. Once ONE had successfully produced live eDOs for JNPT, the UAT began for Kolkata , Haldia, Mundra and Pipavav, in turn. So far, ONE has gone live with eDOs for JNPT, Mundra, Kolkata and Haldia ports. It is currently testing the system for other ports.

With the API, an eDO created and processed in ONE’s system is sent electronically to a central server and then rerouted, via APIs and emails, to the ports, CFS, ICDs, customs, terminal operators, transporters, an empty yard and all the other stakeholders involved. As an eDO is the final piece of documentation before the cargo is released and cannot be reversed under normal circumstances, it is of utmost importance. After the API integration, the number of data transfer errors became marginal and the data transfer was more secure. The API integration sends automatic email alerts to the sender, receiver and the notify parties. A PDF copy of the eDO is attached to the emails.

Note that ONE Line will eventually move to an eInvoice to eDO process via PCS1x. Thus, ONE will issue an eInvoice to the custom brokers via PCS1x. Once the eInvoice has been paid and the payment has been confirmed, ONE will issue an eDO via PCS1x.

Other shipping lines, like Omega Shipping Pvt Ltd, Evergreen Line and Samudera Shipping Line India Pvt Ltd, are now following the lead and are at various stages in developing APIs so that they can move completely to integrating with PCS1x to send eDOs.

There has been continual growth in the use of APIs with PCS1x, as this eliminates manual paperwork, makes it easier to collaborate and vastly simplifies sending and receiving information. The graph below shows the number of eDOs transmitted via PCS1x over the past 6 months for all major ports in India.

An API integration is a part of the technology needed for a flexible and secure platform. Portall was the frontrunner in working with IPA to implement API-based data exchange via PCS1x.

  • eDo PCS1x API Integration
  • The number of eDOs transmitted via PCS1x
Count of eDO with PCS1x upto 04.10.2020
Port Name MBPT KOPT COPT KPL HDC DPT JNPT CHPT MGPT NMPT PPT VOC VPT Total
Apr-20 293 1119 0 40 147 0 1136 87 110 84 54 126 656 3852
May-20 489 2043 1 85 141 0 2055 70 211 80 79 241 586 6081
June-20 354 1546 4 15 164 0 1586 55 183 61 83 424 568 5043
Jul-20 475 1704 0 65 101 0 1433 107 192 160 68 368 714 5387
Aug-20 359 1935 0 46 142 0 1847 47 168 123 56 479 616 5818
Sep-20 283 2834 2 75 175 0 2926 28 241 129 72 370 830 7965
Oct-20 22 223 0 0 18 0 345 7 12 15 6 26 68 742
Total 2275 11404 7 326 888 0 11328 401 1117 652 418 2034 4038 34888

 

Benefits

  • Time Savings
  • Using API-based eDOs ensures that the custodians receive the necessary documents electronically and nearly instantly, thereby enabling them to act on time and reduce cargo dwell times.
  • APIs send information securely and nearly in real time, which not only saves time and money but also protects against fraudulent activity through the manipulation of documents.
  • Using APIs enables better monitoring of the processes.
  • Transactional Cost Saving
  • eDOs produced via PCS1x are not charged to the users (either party) for the service rendered by PCS 1x. The same service is carried out by third party operators in the market charge for the same service.
  • Thus, each online transaction is estimated to save around Rs 75–150, which results in a huge total saving. Moreover, the government needs less human resources and saves on interest payments due to the earlier settlement of funds.
  • Although is not possible to quantify exactly the contribution of PCS1x, the system is heralding a new chapter of electronic trading in India. PCS1x is expected to reduce transaction costs at ports, terminals, CFS and ICDs by at least 15% and enable them to join the premier league of international technologically advanced smart ports.
  • Environmental Impact
  • There is a reduction in the carbon footprint for sending and printing eDOs.
  • Using electronic documents for vessel activities instead of hard copies results in a huge saving in paper.
  • On average each year, 2.5 million DOs are printed and sent, which corresponds to at least 25 lakh pieces of paper (as this does not include the waste at each stage). Thus, this is a green initiative over and above the cost savings.
  • This paperless regime translates to a saving of approximately 300 trees a year.