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Update spring 2021
March 2021
Wonderful things are blossoming at Portbase this spring
The world has now been in the grip of COVID-19 for over a year already. Port, transport and logistics are impacted on a daily basis. Despite this, the sector continues to evolve though. This also applies to Portbase, where day in day out we endeavour to make it possible for the Portbase port community to operate smarter, faster and more efficiently. This Portbase Update will offer you a brief overview of what you can expect from us this spring.


1 Brexit not yet business as usual
2 Are you already logging in to the PCS via IAMconnected?
3 Road hauliers migrated to new version HCN Road
4 HCN Barge expanded for integrated planning Nextlogic
5 Build HCN Rail underway
6 Sharing more and better data
7 Cargo Controller offers control over incoming cargo
8 Cargo Declaration Import ready for the future
9 Concretely getting to work with customer suggestions
10 First steps in international strategy
11 Portbase Support helps!
Brexit not yet business as usual
From a technical perspective, the introduction of customs formalities in the movement of goods to and from the United Kingdom went well. As an important link in the Dutch chain-wide solution - Get Ready for Brexit - Portbase has been able to smoothly process all new pre-notifications for ferry and shortsea terminals right from the 1st of January. The extensive preparations have clearly paid off. The Port Community System has consistently been 100% available, with 100,000 to 150,000 additional messages being processed every day. As a result, web traffic has increased by 35%; traffic through system link-ups grew by 25%. Companies can turn to Portbase Support 24/7 to ensure that they make proper use of the Portbase services. Here, they will find the answers to many frequently asked questions, instructional videos and more.

Adjustment taking longer than anticipated
However, it is far from business as usual yet where Brexit is concerned. It is taking the logistics chain longer than anticipated to adjust to the new border procedures. Companies still have many questions about the new rules and regulations. This puts substantial pressure on the ferry terminals in particular; furthermore, cargo volumes are far from their pre-Brexit levels. At the same time, the fact that the United Kingdom initiated its preparations later is having a negative impact. This is resulting in a lot of additional inconvenience. The proposed phased introduction of the Border Operating Model (planned dates April 1st and July 1st, 2021) will be postponed to respectively October 2021 and January and March 2022 (statement Michael Gove on the 11th of March). This gives companies some extra leeway, but it will ultimately result in stricter requirements when crossing the UK border. As a result, the business community will see itself confronted with new challenges. For answers to frequently asked Brexit questions, information sheets about specific bottlenecks and links to information from other sources, please visit Get Ready for Brexit.

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Are you already logging in to the PCS via IAMconnected?
IAMconnected is the new, secure way to log in to the Port Community System (PCS) and other port-logistics services in the community through one single portal. Over the past two years, this has been extensively communicated to the PCS users. By now, many of them have already made the switch to IAMconnected. In recent weeks, Portbase has requested the remaining organisations and their users to take immediate action on this. Otherwise, their existing PCS accounts will become inactive in early April 2021. Switching to IAMconnected is easy. Portbase offers organisations a transfer service for migrating all their PCS data, user roles, rights and Portbase services. A few small actions will suffice, most of the work will be performed automatically. Detailed information about switching to IAMconnected is available at Portbase Support.
Switching to IAMconnected is easy.
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Road hauliers migrated to new version HCN Road
In early March, approximately 1,500 road hauliers were successfully migrated to the new web version of Hinterland Container Notification (HCN) Road. Companies with an existing EDI or API system link-up are migrated under the guidance of the Service Desk. Portbase expects to complete the operation this spring. The renewed HCN Road serves as the foundation for further expanding the service provision to the road transport sector. In the coming period, additional functionalities that will make the work of the planners easier will gradually be added to the service. An overview of what to expect in this respect is available here

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HCN Barge expanded for integrated planning Nextlogic
The launch of the integrated planning of all barge calls to Rotterdam by Nextlogic is steadily approaching. The data exchange that will be required for this will run via the Portbase service Hinterland Container Notification (HCN) Barge. With this in mind, additional functionalities have been added to this service in the past period. One example is the introduction of a cut-off time for the unloading/loading lists that the barge operator submits to the deepsea terminals via HCN Barge. More expansions will follow when the integrated planning actually goes live. Once this is the case, participants in Nextlogic will see a number of additional input fields in HCN Barge that are necessary for the integrated planning. This short video demonstrates how this works. Up-to-date information about the timeline for the commencement of the integrated planning can be found on the website Portbase Nextlogic Connect.
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Build HCN Rail underway
The current Portbase service Rail Planning will be replaced by Hinterland Container Notification (HCN) Rail. A pilot involving a handful of rail operators aimed at evaluating the operation of this new platform is currently in full swing. The ambition is to use these practice-based experiences to make the service ready for implementation step by step and to gradually work towards a full go-live with all rail operators. In essence, HCN Rail has the same functionalities as Rail Planning, supplemented with some minor improvements. The look & feel has been completely renewed. Above all, HCN Rail lays the foundation for the future expansion of Portbase’s service provision to the rail sector.

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Sharing more and better data
In addition to all the regular community services of the Port Community System (PCS), Portbase is noticing an increasing demand among companies for specific data that they would like to integrate into their own systems. There is also a growing number of parties that have extra data themselves and that potentially want to exchange this with others via Portbase. Business Development Manager Donald Baan: “We are currently only using our platform for regular community services. To meet the data needs of companies, Portbase is broadening its service provision and offering our platform as a service. Companies can use this to build their own communities, share data and develop new applications. Data owners can share additional data with authorised parties. Conversely, parties looking for data can easily find it on the community marketplace. This applies to both data from Portbase itself and data from third parties.” Baan emphasises that the data owners retain full control over their data at all times. “As Portbase, we make it possible for parties to easily and securely exchange the required data. They determine the conditions under which this transpires. We will sit down with each potential data provider individually to determine the optimum manner to access the required data.” Baan expects the platform service provision to be live before the summer of 2021.

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Cargo Controller offers control over incoming cargo
From the first week of April 2021, Portbase will introduce the new service Cargo Controller. This replaces the current service Cargo Information. Cargo Controller offers freight forwarders and shippers actual control over their container, trailer, general cargo and bulk flows. Cargo can be seen, tracked and managed. In this video, Dalibor Stojakovic from Portbase shares some highlights of what participants can expect from Cargo Controller. “Cargo Controller makes your import process faster, easier and more transparent.”
Cargo Controller makes your import process faster, easier and more transparent.
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Cargo Declaration Import ready for the future
Cargo Declaration Import is one of the oldest and most essential services within the Port Community System. (Cargo handling) agents in all port sectors use this service to submit their Summary Declaration of Temporary Storage to Customs. This consequently marks the start of the arrival of the cargo in the port. Several data elements from Cargo Declaration Import are next reused in other services and service provisions further down the logistics chain. Thus, Portbase is able to create speed, transparency and efficiency for the community there as well.

Cargo Declaration Import has been completely renewed in the past period. The new version, which was launched on the 1st of February, is ready for the future. Users benefit from various improvements, the most significant of which is the integration of the service into Vessel Notification. From now on, (cargo handling) agents have a complete overview of their ship and import cargo notifications on one single screen. Above all, Portbase is now even better able to access information from Cargo Declaration Import and to integrate this with other Portbase services, such as Inspection Portal, Cargo Tracker and the various hinterland services. This makes it possible to realise even more value for the logistics chain in the future. Thanks to its scalability and flexible availability in the cloud, the new Cargo Declaration Import is also already prepared for upcoming developments such as the European Maritime Single Window environment and the European Import Control System 2.0.
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Concretely getting to work with customer suggestions
In a major customer experience survey last year, nearly 600 customers expressed their opinion about Portbase's day-to-day operational service provision. Portbase received a positive score of 7.8. However, concrete points for improvement were mentioned as well. Portbase started working on this last autumn. Based on the outcomes of the customer experience survey, Portbase now shows fewer pop-ups in various services, for example. Additional FAQs and their answers have been added to Portbase Support as well as more tips to make optimal use of the services. Also, a trial is currently underway to provide users with information about current changes directly within a service. Furthermore, the customer experience survey yielded a user requirement for Notification Export Documentation. This will be included in the rebuilding of the service.

2021 strategic customer survey
Every other year, Portbase conducts a customer experience survey. During years in which this does not take place, a strategic customer survey is performed. Central to this is the opinion of customers and other stakeholders about the long-term business objectives of Portbase and the implementation thereof. The previous strategic customer survey among other things spurred Portbase to improve the communications surrounding disruptions and the user-friendliness of services. The 2021 strategic customer survey will commence in the second half of March. Portbase expects to be able to share the results in the summer.
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First steps in international strategy
Logistics does not stop at the border. A substantial number of participants in the Port Community System come from neighbouring countries. Several trends have prompted Portbase to start developing an international strategy in a broader sense as well. “At present, Europe does not have a central point which global platforms can plug into to view and control their supply chains,” explains Portbase's Strategy & Innovation Manager Marten van der Velde. “At the same time, within Europe there is increasing competition between the port clusters of North-west Europe, on the Mediterranean and in the east of Europe. The Greek port city of Piraeus, for example, is rapidly developing, particularly through transhipment. In any case, standardisation in general makes it necessary for port community systems to more emphatically confirm their value.”

North-west European data hub
One of the two goals that Portbase aims to achieve by means of its international strategy is the realisation of a North-west European data hub. Van der Velde: “Our ambition is to create a robust data cluster together with the most important ports and hubs - such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, the North German ports, Duisburg, etc. Provided that parties are open to this, of course. The basic principle is that the global platforms can connect to this data cluster with one plug. This makes it more attractive for such parties to use North-west Europe in particular as a route for their supply chains.”
The basic principle is that the global platforms can connect to this data cluster with one plug.
Connected communities
Van der Velde describes the second goal as ‘connected communities’. “We want to link the Dutch ports with prominent clusters elsewhere in the world. Think of Singapore, Japan, Los Angeles, the Chinese ports, etc. In this way, data to further improve port processes can be made available at an early stage. A first concrete project is already underway. At the request of Dutch Customs, Portbase will provide a proof of concept for a link-up with Singaporean Customs. “This is a good example of a connected community. It should spur both customs authorities to start operating more efficiently.”

Van der Velde emphasises that the international strategy is only in its initial stage. There are still many things that warrant further exploration. “Together with the market, port authorities and other stakeholders, we want to see where we can achieve true value this year. We will next give concrete substance to this via proof of concepts, etc. In this way, we are able to empirically experience the elements that actually yield benefits internationally together.”
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Portbase Support helps!
For answers to questions about the operation of the Port Community System and specific Portbase services, you can turn to Portbase Support 24/7. The website offers users instructional videos, manuals, answers to frequently asked questions and much more. Everything is clearly arranged by subject. The Current page separately highlights important new topics such as Brexit, IAMconnected, Cargo Controller and HCN Road. Do you also have a question? Check out Portbase Support!

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