Revolutionising Ports Conference discuss digital integration of ports

Captains, leaders and stakeholders of the ports fraternity came together to discuss the Ports Community System and National Logistics Portal along with opportunities and digital transformation of ports
Revolutionising Ports Conference discuss digital integration of ports
Captains, leaders and stakeholders of the ports fraternity came together to discuss the Ports Community System and National Logistics Portal along with opportunities and digital transformation of ports.
 
The FIRST Construction Council recently organised the ‘Revolutionising Ports Conference’ in Mumbai. In a first-of-its-kind approach, the conference was organised on a cruise—Karnika Cruise in Mumbai—and focused on the theme ‘Integrating India’s Maritime Stakeholders’.  
 
The conference was graced by captains of the ports sector including Chief Guest Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust; Guest of Honour Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Transport & Ports, Government of Maharashtra; Special Guest Sanjay Sethi, Chairman, JNPT; Dr A Janardhana Rao, MD, Indian Ports Association (IPA); Shipra Sharma, Director, Ministry of Shipping; and Dr Abhijit Singh, Executive Director, Indian Ports Association.
 
Welcoming the attendees and special guests, Pratap Padode, Founder & Executive Director, FIRST Construction Council, kicked off the event with some hard facts on where India stands. Ports are responsible for carrying out 90 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 70 per cent of external trade. In FY19, traffic at major ports reached 699 mt. “But growth is what we are looking at,” he pointed out. “Currently, all economies are sputtering. But India still remains on the top. Probably, we are used to much more acceleration.” Highlighting the drivers, he added, “SEZs are being setup in proximity to major ports. And 100 per cent FDI is allowed in port and harbour construction and maintenance projects.”
 
Addressing the gathering, Dr A Janardhana Rao, said that the Government of India, as part of e-governance, initiated a process in 2005 called Electronic Data Interchange. “At that time, I was also associated with the project and everyone started doing portals. This was when PCS was envisaged, to ensure that all maritime stakeholders are integrated under one platform to exchange businesses.” 
 
Speaking on the importance of data collection and the need to utilise it properly, Ashish Kumar Singh said, “The way we deal with data is what finally matters. I would only hope data is adopted and appropriately used to projects and plans are laidto make us one of the most competitive maritime nations in times to come.”
 
In his inaugural address, Sanjay Bhatia said, “PCS was the original system where some messages were getting exchanged. Despite big claims, stakeholders were not interested. It did not seem to be user-friendly. Subsequently, our IPA team has really worked on it and the idea of PCS 1x was introduced. This is a much more user-friendly version of PCS; we have taken it to the Cloud. Stakeholders say they will come in when they see benefits. And benefits will come in when customs introduce API. Now, that stage is over too and all stakeholders have to get on board now.”   
 
Seeking cooperation and support, Shipra Sharma said, “PCS is a system that is trying to tell everybody that it is ‘we’ who are going to bring it together. That is also why we have assembled here, so that we can say that the maritime community stands together under one umbrella, which is the PCS 1x. So let us make this a ‘we’ project, a project that we maritime stakeholders have done together.
 
” This was followed by two panel discussion sessions: ‘Ports Community System and National Logistics Portal’; and‘Opportunities (Stakeholder’s Perspective) and Digital Transformation of Indian Ports’.
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