The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) has expanded again, welcoming the Hellenic Port Community System (HPCS) as its latest new member.
Based in Piraeus, Greece, the Hellenic Port Community System is in the early stages of implementation and has ambitious plans for growth.
“In order to initiate the development of a PCS in Greece, the port community identified HPCS as lead in the project with the responsibility to bring the community together and act for the interests of the community,” said Marina Omar, representing the Hellenic Port Community System. “In Piraeus Port, Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) plays an important role and has both the capacity and the in-house technical expertise to lead and successfully carry out the PCS project. So PCT took the decision to develop the PCS system.”
Implementation started in 2018 and HPCS was officially launched in January 2019.
“Most of the development work was done through the expertise of our in-house IT department, who worked in cooperation with our operations and marketing departments,” said Marina Omar. “Currently, we are operating the PCS in Piraeus port and we hope that in time all other Greek ports will participate too, so that the system will connect all the ports in Greece.”
HPCS stakeholders are terminal operators, shipping lines and agents, freight forwarders, customs brokers and customs authorities. Rail operators and the airport are amongst those expected to join HPCS in the near future.
“The official commencement date of the HPCS platform was in January 2019 and we are seeing a rapid increase in participation,” said Marina Omar. “HPCS implements a number of controls to ensure that data exchanged is the absolute minimum required to carry out each transaction. Moreover, access to the application is strengthened by a number of proven security controls such as strong authentication, one-time passwords, encrypted communication channels and access rights implemented according to the principle of least privilege. The platform conforms to both Greek and European personal data legislations, while both platform infrastructure and operations are reviewed by external auditors on an annual basis.”
The introduction of HPCS will have a direct impact on operations and will provide the following benefits: there will be better cooperation with other terminals in Europe and worldwide, terminal quality services will improve, processes will be automated thus relieving departments of paperwork, data quality will improve due to automated data exchange, transactions will be recorded and traced back for audit and improvement purposes, and all stakeholders will benefit from enhanced, reliable, secure and fast services.
Piraeus Port is the second largest container terminal in the Mediterranean, handling 4.9 million TEUs in 2018. It has clear ambitions for growth as a major hub for the Europe, Africa and Middle East region.
Joining IPCSA is of high importance, said Marina Omar. “We will exchange knowledge and knowhow with other members and will get involved in the various working groups. We are keen to show other members how HPCS has been implemented and to demonstrate some of our innovations.”
Most recently, HPCS has implemented an electronic e-delivery order which has delivered a much faster process for freight forwarders, customs brokers and shipping lines than the previous paper-based system.
Richard Morton, Secretary General of IPCSA, said: “IPCSA is delighted to welcome HPCS, our first member from Greece. We look forward to working closely with them. The systems that are operated by IPCSA members deliver efficient and secure information flows which underpin smooth, swift and effective cargo movements and supply chains around the globe. Our members are open and willing to share expertise and experience in order to deliver new innovations and advances in Port Community Systems.”
IPCSA has expanded rapidly since it was founded in 2011. It now has well over 40 members from around the world and has built a strong relationship with a number of international bodies, including the IMO, WCO, IMO and UN/CEFACT.