SA ports get new web-based management system

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South Africa’s ports are set to become more efficient with the implementation of a new R79 million management system.

Unveiled in Durban on Tuesday, the Integrated Port Management System (IPMS) is the Transnet Port Authority’s new internet-based system that will manage the flow of shipping in and out of the country’s eight ports as well as the related services. TNPA chief executive Richard Valihu said the system which could be accessed by port authorities, port staff, shipping agents and stevedoring companies would replace the existing manual paper-based systems.

He said that it was even envisaged that ultimately trucking companies would be notified when the their cargo was ready for collection, thereby eliminating the current congestion at the country’s ports because lorries would not be waiting for their cargo. “We admit it. We are not efficient. But we want to be the most efficient. Efficiency and reliability depend on the accurate supply of information.”

He said the system was designed specifically for TNPA and apart from being accessible on computers, it could be accessed using smart phones and tablets. The first vessel, the Colorado, was brought into the port of Durban over the weekend, using the system.

Durban will be the first port which will go online, but by the end of the year Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, East London, Richards Bay, Ngqura and Mossel bay will all be operating using the system.

Ships are tracked from the moment they anchor outside the respective port until they sail. The system records all that happens with the vessel during its time in port. Ship’s agents will no longer have to fax and email documentation, but can simply load it online using the IPMS.

Valihu said that the system would also help TNPA to better evaluate how it was performing and weaknesses in its operations that needed to be addressed.

IPMS was developed by an IT firm in India – Navayuga Infotech – in conjunction with a local South African firm, Nambiti Technologies.

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