IPCSA launches network connecting PCSs and Single Windows around the world

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The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) has launched the Network of Trusted Networks (NoTN) a new, secure port-to-port and cross-border data exchange solution.

Enabling port-to-port and cross-border exchange of data, this innovative new concept is being trialled by the IPCSA – in a two-year project covering up to 70 ports, ten airports and multiple inland terminals.

  • The purpose – to provide predictability, visibility and certainty within the supply chain.
  • The priority – to respond to the requirement of consumers and logistics companies for real-time, end-to-end information on their shipments.
  • The unique advantage – a trusted and neutral solution.

When it comes to providing this kind of cross-border solution, others have tried to deliver such a concept – but the key stumbling block is always ‘trust’. Where others are aiming to get direct users on board, IPCSA’s NoTN takes a different approach. NoTN users will be trusted, neutral platforms such as Port Community Systems, Cargo Community Systems and Single Window operators.

“It is a trusted network because it isn’t going to the ‘end user’,” says IPCSA Chairman Hans Rook. “The user is already identified and authenticated by the network. The platforms will only share data that they are allowed to share by their user.

Thus the NoTN maintains the principle of commercial confidentiality, which is the cornerstone of Port Community System and Single Window operators.

“The benefits will be for the end-user. For example, if you have a shipment coming from Morocco into a UK port, you will be able to find out through your PCS whether your container has been loaded on the vessel, when it departed and when it is estimated to arrive in the UK port.”

The NoTN is being launched as a two-year proof-of-concept project, with 14 IPCSA members taking part in the pilot.

“IPCSA and its members have been considering how best to enable port-to-port and cross-border information,” says IPCSA Secretary General Richard Morton. “We have clearly identified that not all the problems are technical. In fact, some of the biggest problems are legal agreements between parties.

In the initial phase, IPCSA is creating and building the concept based on the two ‘Track and Trace’ APIs it has developed for vessel status and container status. The system, always restricted to platform-to-platform, also provides for standardised and simplified contractual arrangements and transparent fee negotiation between the ports or PCSs. No data is stored, and all data is encrypted.

The technical provider for the NoTN proof of concept is API first, data sharing platform NxtPort. As the facilitator, IPCSA has tailored the NxtPort offering to suit the neutrality of the NoTN initiative.

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