November 21, 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of Portbase’s Port Community System (including its legal predecessors). Once established to digitize the paper and communication flows that support core port processes, it has become a critical asset in port logistics.
Portbase’s Port Community System now has the largest connected community of companies and governments in Europe and is considered one of the most modern and progressive Port Community Systems worldwide.
Paper away from the port
20 years ago, Portbase, together with the port community, started digitising the core processes and associated paper and communication flows in the Dutch ports. This is to increase efficiency in the port.
Portbase was founded by the port companies of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Dutch government and the port business community, operates on a non-profit basis and has a neutral position in relation to its founders. Through Portbase, it became possible to provide automated data for various reports and declarations between companies and with governments. Because of the different types of reports and the increase in the amount of data and applications, re-use of data became part of the automated process soon after. The term paperless ports was born and organisations could work faster, smarter and more efficiently with the use of Portbase services.
CEO of Portbase Iwan der van Wolf: “To this day, Portbase ensures that all core processes in all Dutch ports are in order. The digitization of these core processes achieves almost 100 percent coverage and has an annual added value of over 400 million euros. Through Portbase, more than 5,000 companies conduct paperless business in the logistics chain, through all Dutch ports.”
Having created a solid foundation together with its community, Portbase has entered a new phase in which chain-wide solutions and more integrated services are possible.
CIO of Portbase Peter de Graaf: “The amount of data in the Port Community System is fuel for the further development of our services and new innovations, together with the community. We also see our platform being used more and more by third parties for (their own) customized solutions.”
In addition, Portbase sees that its community, from large to small, is increasingly recognising the importance of security. Portbase is also responding to this by offering Identity & Access solutions. Finally, the organisation is also being asked to do more and more in the area of sustainability.
De Graaf: “Because we have invested 20 years together in building a trusted digital environment, we can play a role in facilitating these developments. With this, we enrich the Port Community System’s services for the community.”
Co-operation beyond national borders
Portbase already has within its community many foreign parties working together because of the well-organized logistics chains, running through the Netherlands. This development is also possible because of the foundation laid 20 years ago.
Van der Wolf: “International players are looking for strong corridors in Europe where the physical, but certainly also the digital infrastructure is in order. They want to link to systems where local legislation is in place and existing networks have good geographical coverage for fast and efficient transport to and from the hinterland.”
Portbase, together with its community, has this in order. Its neutral position enables it to enter into this co-operation for the benefit of all.
Keeping things moving
The 20th anniversary, the broadening of services and the changed role require a critical look at one’s own identity. After all, the community views Portbase differently than it did 20 years ago. It expects Portbase to take the lead in the rapidly changing digitalization in logistics in order to stay ahead as a community. To respond well to this demand, Portbase started a repositioning process at the beginning of this year.
Van der Wolf: “The ‘be smart get connected’ proposition from 2016 has done its job well. Our community has grown and is still growing. But the needs of our customers, with all the disruptions and other logistics challenges in the chain, lie much more in keeping goods, logistics chains and trade moving. So a new pay-off was chosen: ‘Keeping things moving’. It emphasizes what we have been doing for 20 years.”
He continues: “It is the basis of our existence, a basis that we continuously strengthen together with our community. With new techniques, improved services and integral co-operation throughout the chain. Whether it’s keeping goods, data, chains, people or companies moving, we make sure it happens seamlessly, secure and sustainably.”
On the special website https://keepingthingsmoving.portbase.com/ there is much more to read about Portbase’s 20th anniversary, including a new corporate video and several videos in which clients talk about their experience with Portbase’s services.