Greater Houston Port Bureau to launch PortXchange trial

Directly above a fully loaded cargo ship pulling into port sailing into Galveston Bay, Texas shot from an altitude of about 1500 feet during a helicopter photo flight.

The Greater Houston Port Bureau (Port Bureau) and the Port of Rotterdam’s PortXchange (PXP) are launching the Houston trial of the PXP port planning software on June 8, 2020.

The PXP system, a collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform, provides scheduling transparency to all parties involved in maritime commerce to decrease port turnaround time and increase efficiency of port calls.

More than 20 maritime companies are participating in the trial, including Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (“Shell”), ExxonMobil, Port of Houston, Contanda, Kinder Morgan Terminals, ITC, Stolt-Nielsen, MOL Chemical Tankers, Odfjell, and the Houston Pilots Association.

The trial will run at least 6 months and PXP is working closely with the Port Bureau and trial stakeholders to build a roadmap to a sustainable, port-wide digital environment.

The Port Bureau is the region’s leading maritime trade association and maintains critical vessel movement data for the deepdraft ports in Texas.

Bill Diehl, president of the Port Bureau, said, “Consolidating port planning data into one central platform gives terminals, ships, and third-party service providers better predictability. The port of Houston is by far the busiest port in the U.S. Now, we want to be the most efficient.”

PXP’s shared schedule information allows agents, shipping lines, terminals, and service providers to optimize planning and deconflict potential issues. Once a vessel has an estimated time of arrival, a Port Call is created and relevant parties can see associated plans for that vessel.

The schedule information is merged with AIS and vessel tracking data, machine learning predictions, and operational data to give a real-time status of each port call.

The PXP system is now being deployed in several ports with support from strategic partners Shell and Maersk. The Houston trial represents a major step forward into the U.S. chemical trade, one of the most complex maritime trades.

“Change management is always a challenge and this is a big step forward”, explains Sjoerd de Jager, PXP managing director. “It’s the partnerships that have gotten us this far, and I’m confident we will be able to provide tangible results and grow alongside the Houston community.”

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