Exclusive Q&A: Caribbean Ports Services on Octopi

Aerial view of  Deep water port with cargo ship and container

In August 2019, Navis-owned Octopi, experts in TOS technology, hosted a webinar called ‘Tap Into the Latest Cloud TOS Technology with Octopi’ which explored how small or medium-sized terminals can improve their operations, as well as cut costs by using Octopi’s terminal operating system (TOS).

Berenice Baussan, Chief Operating Officer, Caribbean Port Services (CPS), went into detail on exactly how the Port of Port-au-Prince had benefitted since it implemented Octopi’s TOS – including seeing a 50% jump in productivity.

Discover Navis’ solutions for ports and terminals by exploring their AIS Portal


Navis N4 is a modern technology platform that optimizes efficiency and powers the intelligent movement of goods through container terminals worldwide.

The N4 technology platform is very maintainable and adaptable, allowing customers the flexibility and scalability they need to run their operations, from a single terminal to multiple terminals across multiple geographic locations, all within a single instance.

A modern and affordable Saas TOS designed for small and medium-sized container and mixed cargo terminals – replacing pen & paper, Excel and older TOS systems.

Octopi enables its customers to better manage their operations in vessel planning and yard management, track cargo and communicate electronically in real-time with their commercial ocean shipping partners at a simple subscription price.

Baussan spoke exclusively to Port Technology International and expanded on the benefits of Octopi TOS, how the partnership came together and future plans.

PTI: How would you describe the ‘Octopi by Navis’ webinar?

Baussan: I found that the webinar was an innovative way to raise awareness and interest of potential customers. 

Most aspects of the TOS were presented and explained from the conception of the system, the gate and yard management, the vessel and berth planning, billing, and all the different tools available. 

I found that adding a customer’s perspective of the benefits Octopi has on an operation gave a 360 view of Octopi.

PTI: Can you tell us how Octopi has improved operations at Caribbean Ports Services? What are the concrete examples you have of it improving main KPIs?

Baussan: First of all, a little historical background. I started using Octopi at IMT in 2015 because the shipping lines that we were catering to were requesting us to implement EDI in our operations.

At the time we were a pen and paper operation, where all data was recorded on log sheets and entered into our in-house TOS within a 24-hour window.

From the day we transferred the inventory data into Octopi, we began our live operations right away and for the first time in Haiti, EDI messages were exchanged between IMT and the Shipping Lines. 

In 2016, the three private terminals operating at the port of Port-au-Prince merged into what is today Caribbean Port Services and from the day we implemented Octopi, CPS had a completely live operation and our performance drastically improved.

Octopi enables the whole operation team to follow simultaneous operations in a precise and live manner.  We can track the different KPIs and react in a timely should there be a bottleneck or a dip in productivity.  Octopi gives us all the tools to monitor our performance closely (stevedoring activity, truck visits, reefer monitoring, etc.)

The decision-making process is much more efficient and transparent through the analysis of the various reports (dwell time, TEU report, work queue report) and the dashboard which helps us see where we can improve daily.

Concrete examples are for instance the number of moves per hour (mph) and the truck turnaround.  We monitor these two KPIs closely because they address the most important needs of our two main customers:

  • Shipping lines: because vessel productivity is key to making sure that they can continue their rotation
  •  Consignees who are looking to maximize the number of gate out/deliveries on a daily basis.

The stevedoring team has a KPI of 25-28 moves an hour per crane for vessel operations.  They obviously cannot reach this KPI if the ground operation does not follow. 

Therefore, the logistics and the yard operations team follow the vessel productivity closely because if the stevedoring team does not reach this KPI, they are partially responsible as well. 

The constant monitoring of this KPI (on a per vessel basis) forces the whole operation team to be on top of their game to make sure targets are reached.

The truck turnaround is also an important indicator for us.  We guaranteed the consignees that the truck turnaround (from the gate in of an empty unit from the consignee to the loading and gate out of a full unit) should not take more than 30 minutes. 

On the dashboard, we can see the number of trucks at the terminal at any one time.  With a click on the active truck report we can see which truck is dropping an empty unit and which unit is it going to pick up.  This allows the yard locators to prepare ahead of time and cut the amount of time a truck will spend inside the facility. 

If a truck spends more than 40 minutes at the terminal, the system will send an alert to all the key managers (security, logistics, import/export yard) so that the bottle neck is identified and addressed right away.  It’s not just a dispatch KPI, it is a team effort to serve our clientele in less than 30 minutes. 

The dashboard has all the main KPIs we monitor.  With a quick glance, we can all monitor the different KPIs and react promptly. 

We customized the dashboard to fit our needs and the whole operation team carefully monitors this screen on a regular basis (at least hourly). 

Overall, Octopi has helped us reinforce the KPI and performance culture we implemented at CPS.

PTI: In your experience, what sets it apart from other terminal operating systems?

Baussan: Octopi is a web-based and user-friendly TOS. I particularly emphasize user-friendly. When we implemented it at the terminal, it required minimal training of our team, and in less than a week everyone on staff was comfortable using it.

It allows us to monitor our operation from anywhere, anytime and on any device. This is key for someone in my position. I can be anywhere and be able to track how our operation is doing.

Octopi is a transparent TOS, as it is possible to grant access to all entities relevant in the logistics chain (shipper, consignees, truckers, etc).  A port or terminal is free to give as much access as they want to the community.

The team behind Octopi is probably the biggest added value. The support team is always available, and updates are pushed on a regular basis.

PTI: Why is actionable data so important to improving terminal operations?

Baussan: Actionable data is key to improving terminal operations.  Only with precise information can management make the best decisions and react in a timely manner

Octopi stands by the principle “if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it” and we strongly believe that data analytics is key to reaching the level of performance we strive for.

Cloud computing with raining machine code.

PTI: Octopi is a ‘cloud-based’ TOS, how important is cloud technology for ports and terminals today and in the future?

Baussan: We believe that cloud technology and SaaS products are important for the future of port and terminal operations. This industry is changing constantly and at a fast pace and all actors (be it the shipping lines, the shippers, the trucking companies, etc…) are getting more and more demanding.

Information must always be readily available for all actors in the logistic chain. We must follow our operations to make sure we maintain the standard and quality of our service to the SL and consignees.

Also, with Octopi, we let the software expert handle the software part that comes with running a terminal and we only focus on our operation which is the core of our business. 

PTI: Driven by Octopi, what are CPS’s ambitions for 2020?

Baussan: We want to become one of the most transparent terminal operations by opening our TOS to more players in the chain.

We want all actors in the logistic chain to have all relevant information in a live and instantaneous manner.  We believe that our customers should be able to handle all activities pertaining to their shipment with just one click.

We strongly believe that transparency is key in this industry.  It is the only way to raise the level and quality of service that all our customers deserve.

Berenice Baussan, Chief Operating Officer, Caribbean Ports Services

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