Road transport and barge operators to also start pre-notifying at Matrans Rotterdam Terminal via Portbase

As of Monday the 29th of August, road transport operators and barge operators can use the Portbase service HCN to pre-notify containers at Matrans Rotterdam Terminal. After the pre-notification, you will automatically receive status information, which prevents unnecessary trips. HCN will consequently become your central portal for the entire port to an even greater degree.

From Friday the 26th of August to Monday the 29th of August, Matrans Rotterdam Terminal will switch to a new Terminal Operating System (TOS). This means that during this period, no new containers can be delivered or collected.

Hinterland Container Notification Road & Barge 

As of Thursday the 25th of August, you can start working ahead for HCN and already submit road and/or barge pre-notifications and visits with an ETA from Monday the 29th of August, 7 am. and beyond. These notifications are buffered and will be processed, as soon as the new terminal system is up and running, after which you will receive feedback on your pre-notifications.

 Your benefits 

  • One single portal and uniform operational approach for all terminals and depots
  • Immediate insight into the progress of pre-notifications for visits and containers
  • Possibility to request container status prior to pre-notification (for terminals that provide this option) in due course
  • Possibility to submit pre-notification via smartphone
  • Only relevant fields per terminal need to be entered
  • Pre-notification of rotation, visit and cargo data
  • Automatic notification when planning and cargo information changes
  • Always an unloading/loading confirmation afterwards

Codes 

Terminal name Matrans Rotterdam Terminal B.V.  
Address Reeweg 25  
Zip code & Location 3089 KM Rotterdam-Pernis  
Port number Port number 2810, Rotterdam  
EAN 8713755234607  
BICS 00MAT  
Location code EDIFACT: NLRTM+MATR  
Location code XML/SMDG: NLRTMMATR 

Click here for an overview of terminal-specific message codes and functionality support. 

Customs documentation via Portbase 

While the TOS is being switched, from Friday 23.00 p.m. to Monday 07.00 a.m., it will temporarily not be possible to pre-notify customs documents at Matrans Rotterdam Terminal. You can continue to submit notifications through Notification Import Documentation (NID) and Notification Export Documentation (NED). Messages are not processed during the terminal closure but are buffered. Once the system is up and running, the NID and NED messages will be processed.

Notification Import Documentation & Notification Export Documentation 

For some time already, you have been able to pre-notify all your customs documents through the Portbase services Notification Import Documentation (MID) and Notification Export Documentation (MED). The pre-notification of documents is mandatory for all shipments. After the accompanying customs document has been digitally pre-notified via Portbase, you can collect and deliver your containers. This applies to all cargo shipments.

Not a participant yet? Check out the services Import Status and Track & Trace Export to register. You can use these to check the customs status of your containers at Matrans Rotterdam Terminal in advance, thus avoiding unnecessary trips.

More information 

Should you want to learn more about one or more Portbase services, then please consult Portbase Support for instructional videos, manuals and answers to frequently asked questions.

Rotterdam Container Terminal and Delta Container Services of Kramer Group connected to Hinterland Container Notification Road

Pre-notification via Portbase simplifies calls to RCT and DCS of Kramer Group

As of Monday the 15th of August, you are able to pre-notify containers at RCT and DCS through the Portbase service HCN Road in your capacity as a road haulier. Following the pre-notification, you will automatically receive status information. Soon, the pre-notification of containers and use of the TAR code will be mandatory at RCT and DCS, you will be informed about this.

Advantages

RCT and DCS are the next locations to start making use of the Portbase service HCN Road. The advantages: 

  • One single window for the entire port: pre-notification via Port Community System (PCS) 
  • Advance insight into container status through status requests and pre-notifications 
  • Easy access to the depot via TAR code (Truck Appointment Reference) 
  • No longer necessary to call the service desk
  • Pre-notifying a visit: during the day, at night and at the weekend 

TAR code and time slots

When pre-notifying at RCT and DCS, you are also requesting a time slot. The TAR code that you receive back via Portbase next gives your driver easy access to the depot. RCT and DCS are using time slots from 06:00 to 22:00 hours, for 60 trucks per hour. Click here for more information about Kramer Group’s time slots.

Ted Holleman, CCO of Kramer Group:

“With the implementation of Portbase’s HCN Road, Kramer is taking a new innovative step in the handling of full and empty containers through the Kramer Group locations.”

Practical information

You can immediately start pre-notifying as of today. If you make use of HCN Road through a system interface*, you will find the required codes in the table below. We have also communicated these codes to your software supplier.

Terminal EAN-code  Locatiecode (edifact) BICS  Locatiecode (XML/SMDG) 
Rotterdam Container Terminal (RCT) 8713755278625 00RCT KRM (SMDG)
Kramer-Delta Container Services (DCS) 8713755948719 0KRAD OQEP

*However, this does not apply to carriers with an API connection, they cannot yet pre-notify.

Glad to be of assistance

Should you have any questions, then Portbase Customer Service will be happy to assist you. 

R.B.C. terminal

R.B.C./Cetem connected to Hinterland Container Notification Road

Visits to R.B.C./Cetem simplified by pre-notifying via Portbase

As of today, Monday the 1st of August, hauliers are able to pre-notify containers at R.B.C./Cetem through the Portbase service HCN Road. The pre-notifications will be mandatory as of Thursday the 1st of September. Following the pre-notification, you will automatically receive a TAR code and status information.

Advantages
R.B.C./Cetem is the next location to start making use of the Portbase service HCN Road. This offers the following advantages: 

  • One single window for the entire port: pre-notification via Port Community System (PCS) 
  • Advance insight into container status through status requests and pre-notifications 
  • Easy access to the depot via TAR code (Truck Appointment Reference) 
  • No longer necessary to visit the service desk 
  • Pre-notifying a visit during the day

 TAR code and time slots
When pre-notifying at R.B.C./Cetem, you are also requesting a time slot. The TAR code that you receive via Portbase gives your driver easy access to the depot. R.B.C./Cetem uses a time slot from 06:00 to 20.30 hours.

Jorg Kleijn, Manager Business Development of RBC Terminal:

“In the current setting, drivers still have to report to the counter when visiting R.B.C. Pre-notification in Portbase saves the driver time and shortens the visit to our terminal.”

Practical information
You can start pre-notifying as of Monday the 1st of August. If you make use of HCN Road through a system interface, you will find the required codes in the table below. 

HCN Road  R.B.C. Terminal/Cetem 
Postal code  3197 LD 
Address  Westgeulstraat 6 
EAN  8713755299484 
Short name  RBCT 
BICS  00RBC
Location code (edifact)  NLRTM + CETA 
Location code (XML/SMDG)  NLRTMCETA 

View the overview of terminal-specific message codes here.

Glad to be of assistance
Should you have any questions, then Portbase Customer Service will be happy to assist you. They can be reached via customerservice@portbase.com and/or at +31 88 625 25 25. 

Cease of service Notification Local Clearance


Via the Portbase service Notification Local Clearance, forwarders, importers and agents with an EIDR (or IIAA in Dutch) permit can easily report to Customs that goods arriving from overseas are placed in a customs warehouse or released for free circulation, also known as the ‘Local Clearance Entreport (DEN)’ and ‘Local Clearance Import (DIN)’. From the middle of next year this will no longer be possible and ‘Notification Local Clearance’ will cease to exist.

Portbase has decided not to support the new EIDR declaration procedure. Portbase will, however, continue to offer the service ‘Notification Local Clearance’ as long as Customs allows this method. Here we explain what this means for you.

Why will ‘Notification Local Clearance’ cease to exist in the middle of next year?
The declaration procedure ‘Registration in the Administration of the Declarant (EIDR, or IIAA in Dutch)’ will change in 2023. By 30 June 2023 at the latest, all license holders must work in accordance with the new declaration procedure in order to be able to submit goods in the new Customs Declaration Management System (DMS). The current working method via the service ‘Notification Local Clearance’ does not provide for this and will therefore be discontinued with the new declaration procedure.

Will Portbase come up with an alternative for ‘Notification Local Clearance’?
No. After an extensive analysis and discussions with market participants, Portbase has decided not to support the new EIDR declaration procedure. Portbase will not submit application messages in the DMS. Portbase will, however, continue to offer the service ‘Notification Local Clearance’ as long as Customs allows this method.

Why does Portbase choose this route?
The current EIDR declaration procedure has a specific working method for port logistics. This procedure differs from the usual working method for customs declarations and was therefore difficult to integrate into declaration software packages. For that reason, at the request of the market, Portbase developed a declaration service specifically intended for port logistics: ‘Notification Local Clearance’. Because the new EIDR declaration procedure will become a standard procedure within the DMS, this new procedure can be more easily supported by other declaration software packages, without the intervention of Portbase. Many of these software suppliers have already indicated that they will support the new EIDR scheme in their own software. Portbase has thus come to the conclusion that supporting the EIDR procedure is no longer a strength of its Port Community System and has therefore left the support of this procedure to market parties who are more familiar with customs declarations.

What does this change mean for you?
Dutch Customs plans to allow all license holders to work through the new procedure between December 12, 2022 and April 7, 2023. We realize that we will only clarify the future of ‘Notification Local Clearance’ until late, which means that the time is running out to prepare for the new EIDR procedure. That is why we help you on your way as best we can. If you want to continue to use your EIDR license under the new procedure, you will need a declaration software package that supports this procedure (you may already have a suitable package in house). If you work as a representative for a license holder, mutually agree on who will bring the goods in the new situation. For more questions and answers, visit the Portbase website.

Where can I find out more about the announced changes?
More information about the aforementioned procedure change and time schedule can be found on the website of Dutch Customs. You will also find a detailed explanation of the foregoing on the Portbase website.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I want to continue to use the EIDR (IIAA) scheme under the new procedure, how do I do that?
If you want to use your EIDR license under the new procedure, you will need a declaration software package that supports this procedure. If you already have a tax return software package, there is a chance that you already have a solution in-house. View the overview of software suppliers who have indicated to us that they will support the new scheme. Always contact your supplier first to find out how the procedure in the software package will work and what conditions your supplier sets for this. If you do not currently have software that supports the new scheme, the software suppliers mentioned will be happy to discuss the options they offer.

What should I do if I don’t know yet whether I want to continue using my permit?
Read about your options on the Customs website. Customs has published webinars and information documents for this. In addition, Customs has also published a ‘Step-by-step plan/checklist from AGS to DMS‘ on this website. For further questions about your permit, you can always contact the National Customs Helpdesk or your business contact point.

I use the ‘Notification Local Clearance’ on behalf of a warehouse permit holder, is that also possible in the new situation?
Depending on your role, the working method may change in the new situation. Agree with the license holder for whom you are now reporting who will bring the goods in the new situation.

Can I continue to use the current ‘Notification Local Clearance’ for the time being?
Yes. Portbase will continue to offer the current service ‘Notification Local Clearance’ for as long as Customs allows this. We therefore take into account an end date of June 30, 2023, but will always move along with possible shifts in the deadlines.

Do I still have to pre-notify documents at the terminal in the new situation?
Yes. Doing a document pre-notification at the terminal is always necessary. For most terminals you can do this via the Portbase service ‘Notification Import Documentation’. The method of pre-notification will change. Instructions for this will be published later this year by Customs and Portbase.

Which software vendors will support the new EIDR application process?
Below you will find a list of software suppliers who have indicated to us that they will support this procedure. The software suppliers are happy to talk to you about the options they offer.

Software suppliers

Update on the upgrade of the service Transit Declaration

In the previous news about the rebuilding of the service Transit Declaration, you have read that the service is getting a major upgrade. We are happy to announce that as of September 5 all users will be transitioned to this updated service. This means that you create new declarations in the updated service and finish and review declarations in the old service. After a period of time, the old service will be turned off. 

Since March we have been piloting our updated service. Based on valuable feedback, we have fixed some bugs and added several extra features. For instance, it is possible to send a declaration on ATA of the ship and containers can be found faster. The other advantages of the updated service are: 

  • A trigger date allows declarations to be sent out automatically at a later point in time.
  • Documents can be shared with customers and shippers automatically when customs report the container ‘in transit’.
  • Maximum reuse of data from the ATO notification. Blanc declarations will remain possible too. 
  • New look & feel: for shipping lines, the look and feel are similar to the services Vessel Notification and Cargo Notification Import.
  • Ability to (re)view the history of events related to the declaration. Who edited/added something and when? 
  • A new, up-to-date technical basis allows for easier compliance with functional requirements. Over time, it will be possible to create a Performing Notification Export Documentation from Transit Declaration.
  • Involved parties with Transit Declaration can receive updates by integrating an API connection.

Finally, we will copy all templates and guarantees to Transit Declaration 2.0 and new instruction videos will be posted on our support page. 

In case of any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Plans for making logistics sector ‘digital ready’

To give the Netherlands a leading position in the digital management of logistics chains. If everything goes according to plan, a number of parties, maybe including Portbase, will start working on this goal from the end of this year until 2027 in the Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme.

The necessary funding for this programme will come from the Dutch government’s National Growth Fund. The ambition of the programme is to make the entire business community in the logistics sector ‘digital ready’. The current prominent role of the Netherlands in international logistics chains cannot be taken for granted. The world is changing rapidly due to digitisation. The Dutch logistics sector is not at the forefront of this digital development. If our country wants to remain a logistics leader, an acceleration of digitisation is absolutely necessary.

“If our country wants to remain a logistics leader, an acceleration in digitalisation is absolutely necessary”

More than just another nice report

Manager of Strategy & Innovation at Portbase Marten van der Velde emphasises the concrete nature of what is envisaged between now and 2027. “It won’t be just another nice report, dashboard or digital tool. The large group of small and medium-sized logistics companies must also be able to use all the planned innovations for the fast and efficient exchange of information in their daily practice.” It has been calculated that the implementation of the programme up to 2035 will contribute EUR 167 million to the gross domestic product and EUR 9.3 million to climate objectives. “These social effects were very important for the National Growth Fund to honour.”

Mobile phone as a metaphor

The Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme comprises several work packages. The foundation, driven by the Port of Rotterdam, is the development of a Basic Data Infrastructure for the Dutch logistics sector. This is a set of agreements and components that ensures that the entire logistics world can easily communicate and share data with each other safely and reliably. To explain the idea behind it, Van der Velde holds up his mobile phone. “This device is actually a basic infrastructure. Whether you have an iPhone, a Samsung or another brand, you can always talk to each other. Each device offers a number of basic applications, with extras you can choose separately. Translated back to logistics: Portbase provides a basic infrastructure for the port logistics chains and Cargonaut does the same for aviation. This is interchangeable, it works the same. Just like an iPhone can call a Samsung. In addition to the basic elements required for the operation of, in our case, the port, other parties can make their own applications on this basic infrastructure. It’s comparable to the apps you install on your phone as you please.”

“With our approximately 5,000 customers, we can really take projects further in practice”

Getting started in living labs

A second work package in the Digital Infrastructure for Logistics programme is the realisation of a number of concrete innovative applications that link up with the Basic Data Infrastructure. This is done in living labs. Portbase finds these interesting and sees a lot of potential in them, says Van der Velde: “With our approximately 5,000 clients, we can really take projects further in practice. In this respect, Portbase is looking at the living labs that fit in well with the context of the community system, such as the realisation of chains of trust, the Container Dossier for the broad sharing of container data, making reliable information available about the arrival time of cargo and the Container Transport System. This last living lab wants to achieve that Customs can follow cargo throughout the port.

“The results of the programme must make the logistics business truly ‘digital ready'”

Landing in practice

To ensure that the Basic Data Infrastructure and the living labs ultimately have a wide landing in logistics, a third work package of the Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme focuses on communication with the business community and actual implementation. The results of the programme must make the business community in the logistics sector truly ‘digital ready’. The ambition is to get at least half of all logistics companies in the Netherlands on board.

In preparation for a flying start

The aim is to officially launch the Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme on 1 October 2022. Project and programme management is currently being worked on. Van der Velde: “On 1 October, we will be able to get off to a flying start on accelerating the digital developments that will strengthen the Netherlands’ leading international position in logistics.”

Working with PCS should be as easy as ordering from bol.com

Customers first! Portbase does much more besides the half-yearly customer panels. As a Customer Experience expert, Marlies de Groot works full-time to improve the customer experience. “We want to make the use of the Port Community System (PCS) even more valuable and easier for customers than it already is.”

What do our approximately 5,000 customers think of Portbase’s services? It’s hard to give a simple answer to that question, replies De Groot. “It really varies by customer group.” Whatever differences there may be, Portbase has been ‘of, for and by the community’ since its inception in 2002. “The half-yearly customer panels (see other article) are an important tool for establishing the connection with customers, identifying their wants and needs and concrete input on Portbase’s development agenda.” However, customer experience encompasses much more than that. From presenting Portbase to the world in a uniform way to the practicalities of the services as experienced by customers on a day-to-day basis. De Groot: “The fact that we are ‘of, for and by the community’ is something we want to convey and live up to even better.”

“The fact that we are ‘of, for and by the community’
is something we want to convey and live up to even better”

Research-based

Research provides an indispensable foundation for that. In addition to a major annual customer satisfaction survey, Portbase conducts smaller polls on an ongoing basis. For example, about how customers experience their contacts with Customer Service. Portbase always takes the results on board, as it does the issues raised by the internal CX (Customer Experience) team. All disciplines within Portbase that have direct contact with customers sit down monthly to discuss feedback from customers and how to respond to it.

“Customers should feel we are addressing them
personally and helping them proactively”

Practical improvements

The results of the customer panels, all the surveys and other customer feedback increasingly guide Portbase policy. They also provide input for practical improvements to day-to-day services. As an example, De Groot cites the work of Portbase’s UX designers. By looking at customers’ use of the Portbase services with them and using smart analysis software, they are able to arrange web screens in such a way that they more logically match the work process. De Groot: “That UX expertise has now been used for a number of services. Customers see the effects in their daily practice. The web screens are easier to read at a glance and work more intuitively. We get a lot of positive feedback.”

Finding your way around
the PCS should just be very easy

Relevant and valuable

“Working with the PCS should be just as easy as ordering from bol.com,” concludes De Groot. “It isn’t complicated now, but there is still scope to make it much more straightforward. At Portbase, we want to keep moving forwards in this area. Customers should feel we are addressing them personally and helping them proactively. At the same time, we also want to make customers more digitally self-reliant. Finding your way around the PCS should just be very easy. At the end of the day, it’s about always giving customers what they need. From the very first contact, signing up as a customer, through connecting and using our services on a daily basis to providing support, we want to deliver a single, seamless solution.”

On the road to a digitally mature hinterland chain together

Good organisation of hinterland transport is essential to the strength of the port of Rotterdam now and in the future. Digitalisation can help a lot in this regard. In the Data Fuel programme, Portbase will be working with the Rotterdam Port Authority, industry bodies and the business community to strengthen information exchange in the hinterland chain over the coming years. Vice President Commercial at the Rotterdam Port Authority, Matthijs van Doorn, and Portbase CEO Iwan van der Wolf together discuss the programme’s background and aims. “The first step towards improvement is transparency.”

“There is currently enormous pressure on the logistics chain”, begins Van Doorn, describing the current situation. Disruptions to the chain, for example due to Covid-19 lockdowns, the blocking of the Suez Canal and the war in Ukraine, have been coming thick and fast. Partly as a result, many deep-sea container ships are not keeping to their operating schedules. This is resulting in great unpredictability, both in the port and in the hinterland. “On top of that, container ships are getting bigger. Last year, 20 percent fewer calls resulted in 10 percent more cargo. Peaks are increasing. This presents significant operational challenges on the sea and land sides alike.”

“With Portbase as a data hub, we want to help
achieve the path to digital maturity in
hinterland transportation through smart services”

Growth path to digital maturity

“The first step towards improvement is transparency”, continues Van Doorn. Digitisation should help the fragmented hinterland market – in which everyone has a share of the information – work much more efficiently. Van Doorn sees a clear growth path ahead to help hinterland transportation planning move towards maturity step by step. Over the course of a number of years, this path would extend from transparency and getting the digital foundations in order, through optimisation in small experiments, to dynamic real-time planning per modality and finally integrated dynamic planning of all modalities. “Portbase provides the foundation for this, which we have been investing in for years. The Port Community System is the data hub of the port of Rotterdam. Based on this solid foundation, we want to continue working towards optimisation with the market.”

“We are very keen to capitalise on
opportunities together with the market”

Acting with the market

Van Doorn stresses the importance of acting together. “At one time, we at the port authority were looking to develop our own software, but we abandoned that idea. We are very keen to capitalise on opportunities together with the market. That’s also why we are putting time and energy into helping achieve the path to digital maturity in hinterland transportation through smart services with Portbase as a data hub.” One example is Nextlogic for integrated planning of containerised inland shipping. “We are investing in its development and incubation. At the same time, a large number of market participants are sticking their necks out by testing Nextlogic in practice and optimising it further. Together we are working on a system that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in the world. It is then up to the market to pay for its use based on the value it delivers. It is not the port authority’s job to exploit software solutions.”

“Thanks to the data in the PCS and access
to our large community, innovations
can be significantly accelerated”

From basic infrastructure to smart application

Van der Wolf explains how Portbase built the data hub. “We differentiate three layers within the Port Community System. The bottom layer is the basic infrastructure that makes sure the digital information exchange all proceeds smoothly, securely and reliably.” The middle layer comprises community services for efficient support of the core processes in the Dutch ports. “There are currently 44 different services. Hinterland Container Notification (HCN) for information exchange in hinterland transport is one of them.” The third, top layer is made up of the data and information services. “By reusing the data from the core processes (subject to permission from the owners), firms can develop smart applications based on this layer. Thanks to that data and access to our large community of approximately 5,000 companies with around 16,000 users, innovations can be significantly accelerated and we can provide a single connection to the entire market. Nextlogic, for example, uses HCN to obtain and provide feedback on the data required for integrated planning of container barge operations.”

Self-financing

Portbase is neutral and operates on a self-financing basis, says Van der Wolf. “The infrastructure – the bottom layer – is financed by our shareholders, the Rotterdam and Amsterdam port authorities. Participants pay for use of the community services – the middle layer – on a pro rata basis or, in the case of specific government services, the costs are covered by central government and the Harbour Master. The costs of smart data and information services in the top layer are entirely borne by the customers in question.”

Focus on the hinterland

Based on its position as the data hub of the port of Rotterdam, Portbase fully embraces the growth path towards digital maturity in hinterland transport outlined by Vice President Commercial Van Doorn of the Rotterdam Port Authority. Under the name Data Fuel, a multi-year improvement programme is in progress in partnership with the port authority, industry bodies and the business community to optimise information exchange throughout the hinterland chain. Its delivery should contribute substantially to making hinterland transport more efficient, cheaper, more secure and more sustainable. More and better data enables parties to optimise their planning and serves to reduce the length of time containers are static, improve turnaround times, increase utilisation rates and cut administrative and staff costs.

“Only together can we truly make
the hinterland chain stronger”

Guiding principles

The guiding principles for the implementation of Data Fuel are: Improve, Broaden, Deepen, Innovate and Trust. With the actions currently underway and in the pipeline (see: https://www.portbase.com/en/hinterland-program/), hinterland carriers should start to experience more value from the service HCN. Van der Wolf: “We are conducting this whole process transparently, together with the market. Working intensively with the hinterland carriers means they can give us the right input. Only together can we truly make the hinterland chain stronger.”

 

Portbase delivers upgraded data-sharing marketplace

Portbase was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to develop an upgraded environment for DEFLog (Data Exchange Facility Logistics). It went live at the end of April. DEFLog provides a marketplace for data services for the logistics sector, particularly road transport.

The first two applications actually available on the upgraded infrastructure are for data on roadworks and data for logistics, such as information on window times, preferred routes, environmental zones, zero-emission zones and loading and unloading areas. All of this data is available to the transportation industry for free and can be used in their own applications as required.

Direct from the source

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management wants DEFLog to continue to grow. External parties can develop tracking services for DEFLog and make them available via the marketplace. Unlike the old DEFLog, in the updated version the data stays with the source and sharing takes place directly with the interested public or private party or parties. This is faster, more efficient and more secure, as well as cheaper. Providers also retain even greater control over the use of their data. Through an authorisation register, DEFLog records who is allowed to use what data for which purposes. The ministry provides the management of DEFLog itself.

“DEFLog provides a marketplace for data services for
the logistics sector, particularly in road transport”

Valuable practical case for Portbase

For Portbase, delivering the upgraded DEFLog was a valuable practical case for the future facilitation of data-sharing solutions, on top of the generic platform solutions of the Port Community System. Portbase is now using the knowledge and experience gained in developing the new DEFLog environment for its onward development and in order to define the right conditions for the relevant services. From 2023 onwards, Portbase wants to facilitate tracking processes for port and other companies that want to establish their own communities for exchanging specific data.

“For Portbase, delivering the upgraded DEFLog
was a valuable practical case”

Secure and easy access via IAMconnected

Parties obtain access to DEFLog via IAMconnected, the Portbase service for secure and easy access to digital services in port and logistics. DEFLog therefore does not require its own access infrastructure. Road hauliers and software providers who already work with Portbase, for example, can also use their IAMconnected accounts for DEFLog. Once logged in, they can purchase data services or offer them themselves.

“Access to DEFLog can be obtained via IAMconnected,
the Portbase service for secure and easy access to
digital services in port and logistics”

Input for Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is an important stakeholder for Portbase in several ways. Together with five other parties, Portbase and the ministry are currently working together in the new Digital Infrastructure Logistics programme (see article) funded from the National Growth Fund. DEFLog provided interesting practical insights on decentralised data sharing for the development of a Basic Data Infrastructure which is part of this programme. DEFLog will also be involved in the living labs to be conducted under the programme.

DEFLog is an initiative by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, SmartwayZ.NL and Portbase with the cooperation of the National Road Traffic Data Portal, the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics (TLN), evofenedex, the Uniform Transport Code Foundation and the Dutch Association of Logistics and Transport IT suppliers.

 

We do what the market demands of us!

“Of, for and by the community.” Portbase (and its predecessor Port infolink) has been living up to this motto since 2002. The Port Community System (PCS) very much belongs to the port community. Support for its use is therefore essential, emphasises Marty van Pelt, Manager of Business Relations. To this end, Portbase consults closely with customers on the course to be taken and its concrete implementation. One way it does so is through customer panels. On 7 June, the customer panels met at TLN in Zoetermeer for their half-yearly meetings.

“With about 5,000 customers who differ enormously from one another, you can imagine that ‘everyone’ wants something different from Portbase. We receive a constant stream of ideas and requirements,” explains Van Pelt. “Our customer panels are therefore very important. They really offer customer representation towards Portbase. This is how customers are able to exert influence. We always ask the customer panels to identify the important issues, bottlenecks and, above all, the priorities for one to three years into the future.” Portbase, in turn, provides feedback to the customer panels on the activities it has carried out and those that are in the pipeline. It also asks customer panels to confirm the plans agreed in the consultation process and then to share those outcomes with the firms they represent.

The customer panels really offer customer
representation towards Portbase

Customer panels represent their sector

There is a separate customer panel for each part of the logistics chain: Shipping Companies, Agents & Shipbrokers, Terminals & Depots, Hinterland and Shippers & Forwarders. They meet twice a year. Participants are drawn from industry bodies and the business community. (You can view the current composition of the panels here.)  Van Pelt: “Customer panellists are experts in their field and act as representatives of their sector.”

Setting informed priorities

Portbase always tries to provide the customer panels with the best possible information. Prior to the meeting on 7 June, for example, extensive research was conducted among a large portion of the customer base. Van Pelt: “We wanted to know what our customers believe requires more attention. What do companies feel is lacking in our services? Having the right conversations in the customer panels and setting informed priorities provides us with important feedback.”

It is up to the customer panels to define
the right priorities for Portbase

More than talking shops

The customer panels are more than simply talking shops, Van Pelt emphasises. Together with the Supervisory Board and the Strategic Advisory Board, they have been part of Portbase’s governance structure since 2018. Their history goes back to 2009. Back then, an Agreement of the Future between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the business community and Portbase set out commitments for the successful further development of the PCS. Among other things, it was decided that Portbase should be neutral, should break even and should always work for the greater good of the port. The business community, in turn, has made a commitment to the PCS. “Another important ground rule that was agreed is that the port business community must be closely involved in Portbase’s business, product and marketing strategy. The customer panels put that rule into practice. In this way, we are listening to the market.”

Professional approach

The first of the two rounds of customer panels for 2022 were held on 7 June at Transport en Logistiek Nederland (TLN) in Zoetermeer. Following a kick-off by TLN CEO Jan Boeve and Portbase CEO Iwan van der Wolf, the four customer panels each convened separately to tackle the themes that are important to their sector. Van Pelt: “We prepare for these meetings thoroughly and we take a professional approach. It is up to the customer panels to define the right priorities for Portbase. In this case for 2023. Within our capabilities, next year we will again do what the market demands of us!”

In our customer panel, we always engage in
open and constructive discussions

The example of VRC

Van Pelt describes the involvement of the business community in Portbase as absolutely essential. He cites the involvement of the Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents (VRC) as a good example of how the business community and Portbase complement one another. “VRC CEO Marco Tak keeps a close eye on things. We hold each other to account on the commitments we make and so help each other deliver them.” Tak agrees. “At VRC, we are positively disposed towards Portbase and we share ideas in a constructive way. In our customer panel – Shipping Companies, Agents & Shipbrokers – we always engage in open and constructive discussions. Thanks to our input and wishes, Portbase is able to continually improve existing systems and develop new services that match the needs of our members. As a result, we have managed to cooperate successfully on things like the approach to Brexit, the introduction of the Container Release Notice, the ongoing Vessel Notification improvements and right now the creation of chains of trust. Together, we stand strong!”