The MED-PCS Project
It includes five pilot tests designed to prove the correct operation of the systems. Each PCS, and the intra-port communications system (among communities), will be checked in every harbour. It also includes communication, capitalization and training activities.
- Increase the accessibility of the areas linked to participant ports, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the logistic chains leading, through intensive penetration of new information technologies, the management and communication of all the operators.
- Improve the competitiveness of the actors in the logistic chains, by getting their internal management up to date and improving communication among them.
- Enable a more sustainable transport through a reduced fragmentation of the cargo and the promotion of a more multimodal transport.
- Promote the economic development of the regions linked to the ports, by improving their logistic networks (more, better and less expensive services).
- Promote the capacity to compete of the most remote regions, and of their agents, putting them in a position to provide competitive transport services.
- Improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of 4 European ports on the Mediterranean Sea, through the establishment of PCS.
- Improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of the logistic operators linked to 4 European ports on the Mediterranean Sea, making more and better services available for them.
- Promote the communication and economic transactions among the logistic operators linked to 4 different European ports on the Mediterranean, establishing a "System of Communication among PCS".
- Encourage the effective utilisation of all the advantages linked to the PCS established by all the logistic operators, informing them of their existence and training them accordingly.
- Develop a permanent forum for cooperation among the people responsible for the modernisation of the management of logistic operators.
- Prove that the PCS work and that they offer important competitive advantages for potential users, by means of implementing pilot tests.
- Transfer the results and products of the project to potential users of the established systems, to other ports and to decision-makers.
Outcomes of the Project.
The development stage of the MED-PCS Project ends on 30th June 2015. The main outcomes of the Project are reflected in the Communication Exchange System and in the new PCS services developed in four Ports involved in this Project.
1) Communication Exchange System among PCS.
The Information Exchange System among the 4 Port Community Systems has been finished within the development of the MED-PCS Project. These 4 PCSs will be able to exchange information regarding:
- Port of Call
- Cargo Manifest
- Dangerous Goods
The communications will always be PCS to PCS, which means that the information to be exchanged will be delivered only to the PCS addressee of the information.
This system facilitates the communication of information between PCS in a simple and standardized way, allowing any other PCS to be part of the system. We have defined a development guide of the communication system, which contains all the information needed to connect a PCS to the system.
All the information exchanged will be stored in local DB for each PCS, saving the messages sent and received with the related information.
In order to test the communication system, we have developed 36 Pilots between the 4 Ports involved in the Project: Tarragona, Cartagena, Levante and Igoumenitsa Port Authorities. During the pilots we have been able to effectively communicate all 4 PCSs of the Project and correct the errors detected during the tests.
Taking to account that the 4 PCSs are different, it is the achievement of this communication between each other that could be considered the main success.
Finally, during the pilots, we have identified several future improvements to be applied in the system that could be implemented in future extensions of this system.
2) New PCS Services:
2.1. New PCS services in the Port of Tarragona.
Under the framework of the MED-PCS Project, Tarragona Port Authority has developed and tested 4 new services for its Port Community System (PCS) known as ViaPORTus. The 4 new services are:
- Single Goods Inspection. This service helps coordinate all the agents involved in the inspection of goods in the Port of Tarragona and promotes a single inspection for overall inspection organization.
- Paperless Release for Importation. This service is an improvement on the current Paperless Release for Importation in Truck transportation and provides a new service for rail and pipe. The integration of this service to the rail and pipe transportation of goods is an innovating service, the Port of Tarragona being the First Port in Spain to develop it.
- Paperless Release for Exportation. This is an automated control of the outgoing goods by ship and rail from the Port of Tarragona. The service includes a XML message system for exchanging information regarding the exportation of goods.
- Admittance and Delivery Orders. This service consists in an admittance and delivery orders messages system for container traffic. The system supports the EDIFACT and EDISIMPLEX message formats.
In order to assure that the service meets the needs of the final users and its correct operation, we have run 12 Pilot tests with key stakeholders in the Port Community of Tarragona. During the Pilots we received valuable feedback from the participants, which will be applied in any future improvements to the services.
2.2. New PCS services in the Port of Cartagena.
Cartagena Port Authority has developed and tested 4 New Services in the MED-PCS Project which are:
- Hazardous Materials Admission (Hazmat). This service helps to manage information regarding manifest, port of call, containers and hazmat in a G.I.S. web system about vessels and ground areas.
- Coordination of activities and risk prevention. This service helps to manage information regarding jobs to be done within the port areas, so the companies working on them could know before entering the port area if they need to protect themselves from special dangers. It uses a G.I.S. web system too, to locate the areas affected for these jobs.
- Goods Management (containers). This service consists of a DATA BASE web to manage the information from stevedoring companies interconnected with the customs clearance and access control of port.
- Asset Management (granting public domain). On a GIS web, implementing an application to manage from the moment a company requests the hiring of the land in the port, until the final moment of land use, including all documents, paperwork and communication with companies.
During the Project, the Port Community has been involved in the corresponding Pilot actions defined in the Port of Cartagena for testing and showing the new services to the final users. The custom’s clearance service is already in use in the Port, which is proof of the success of the Project.
2.3 New PCS services in the Port of Igoumenitsa.
Igoumenitsa Port Authority has developed and tested 2 New Services in the MED-PCS Project which are:
- Coverage of container and unaccompanied trailer operations and integration to PCS. The functionalities covered are:
- Container/unaccompanied trailers loading and discharge lists.
- Truck pre-announcement for container/unaccompanied trailers pick-up.
- Gate in/out controls.
- Administrative (e.g. customs clearance) control for Container/unaccompanied trailers.
- Extension of reporting capabilities to logistic stakeholders. The existing PCS has been extended with monitoring information about shipments (all different types of trucks, passenger vehicles, containers, unaccompanied trailers) to be provided to external stakeholders namely 3PLs and freight forwarders.
In order to test both new Services, Igoumenitsa Port Authority has organized several Pilots with the stakeholders for presenting and testing them.
2.4 New PCS services in the Port of Levante.
Levante Port Authority has developed and tested 3 New Services in the MED-PCS Project which are:
- GATE Service. It consists in a “Real Time” control access available both for person and truck crossing of the whole Port area. It manages the embarkation but also the accesses through the Port security and Port facilities, by a PCS on-line Authorization procedure lead by PFSO.
- ALERT Service. This service is a “Real Time” alert of Gaia activities, by which Capitaneria di Porto and Polizia di Frontiera could, operating inside the PCS system, check people and trucks. ALERT could also communicate with the Port operators.
- SHIPS Service: It is a “Real Time” information service on arrivals/departures from Bari, Barletta and Monopoli. Ship tracking functionality, by which the users could log in for free to be updated on the ship tracking system inside the area of the three Ports.
These 3 services have been tested and presented to the Levante Port Community, thanks to various communications and training activities.
3) Training Actions:
The MED-PCS Project contemplates various training actions for the technicians in the MED-PCS, for the Port Community in general and for all those interested or involved in Port Community Systems,in port procedures and in maritime transport.
3.1 Training actions for technicians in the MED-PCS.
The MED-PCS Project partners’ technical staff have attended the following training activities:
- “E-navigation Initiative and PCS” by the University of the Aegean and “Benchmark of PCS in Europe” by UNINA, on 5th November 2014 in Rome.
- “A critical comparison of some PCS implementations in Europe” by UNINA and “Green Ports implementation and monitoring using PCS” by the University of the Aegean, on 28th April in Athens.
- “Cyber Security for PCS” by University of the Aegean, on 10th June 2015 in Tarragona.
3.2 Training actions of the new PCS services.
In order to facilitate the use of the new PCS services, the Ports of Tarragona, Cartagena, Igoumenitsa and Levante have prepared a series of training actions, for the members of each Port Community, centred on how to use the Information Exchange System between PCSs and on how to use the new PCS services in each Port.
These four Ports have also produced micro-videos on how to use these new services, which have been uploaded to an e-learning platform developed by RAM, also a partner in the Project.
The manuals and the micro-videos contained in this e-learning platform serve as a reminder for the attendees at the training actions and it is also highly useful for the staff who may be incorporated into the organisations and companies of the Port Communities and did not have the opportunity to attend the training actions.
3.3 Advanced course: Design, implementation and management of Port Community Systems.
Within the context of the MED-PCS Project, the University of Napoli “Federico II” (Italy), the University of the Aegean (Greece), Rete Autostrade Mediterranee (RAM) and Tarragona Port Authority (Spain) are offering a 120-hours advanced course on “Design, implementation and management of Port Community Systems”, targeted both to experts/professionals in the field and also to non-experts, including undergraduate university students. The training material is in the form of slides available in English, accessible through the e-learning platform of the MED-PCS Project. Three main sub-modules are available:
- Module 1. Basic principles of freight, logistics and maritime transport.
- Module 2. Advanced topics on PCS and maritime transport.
- Module 3. Motorways of the Sea and sustainable transport in the framework of Port Community Systems.
A self-evaluation test is also available in the e-learning platform. A certificate of attendance will be provided upon completion of at least one of the three sub-modules of this advanced course.
The course is accessible via e-learning platform at http://med-pcs.learningservices.it/. Users should register by clicking on create new account on the lower right side of the screen, filling in requested information and using “MED-PCS2015” as password.