Port development and investment: digitalisation and the role of the PCS



Richard Morton, Secretary General, International Port Community Systems Association (IPSCA)


Digitalisation is gathering pace across the maritime sector – and not before time. As far as ports are concerned, a strong commitment to digital solutions is vital in order to remain competitive. In fact, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of having digitalisation at the core of successful operations.

What does this mean for port development and investment? Master planning has traditionally been an exercise focusing on infrastructure needs and developments over the next 10 or 20 years, or more. Master planning for a digital world does not have that luxury of time!

IT infrastructure needs analysing and updating far more regularly – perhaps as often as every six months.

A digitally-savvy port needs dedicated, in-house IT teams with the expertise to ensure that their systems are up to date with technology – and that they are meeting the evolving needs of all users, across public and private sectors. This is not as simple as blockchain today, AI tomorrow. Ports operate in an increasingly interconnected world, so it is also vital that everyone talks the same ‘language’, i.e. uses the same core data standards.

What’s the use of the most up to date technology if no one’s systems can talk to each other?

Port Community Systems (PCS) have always been digital pioneers, and they are still driving forward with increasingly innovative solutions that deliver efficient operations, speed up cargo flows, reduce bottlenecks, eliminate congestion and increase visibility for all in the supply chain.

Among our members, the Port of Los Angeles, Polski PCS and Trieste Port Authority have all worked hard to develop and refine systems that truly match the needs of their ports, terminals, users and – notably – stakeholders and operations well outside the ‘traditional’ port environment.

Read IPCSA’s previous articles here:

End-to-end supply chains through collaboration and working with the community

Digital transformation: real results

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