Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has published interface standards and messaging API (application programming interface) specifications for all 50 event timestamps defined in its port call data definitions, which address the six main parts of a port call:

  1. Berth arrival planning
  2. Pilot boarding place arrival and service planning
  3. Pilot boarding place and berth arrival execution
  4. Start cargo operations and services
  5. Services and port departure planning
  6. Port departure execution

The interface standards allow carriers, ports, terminals and other service providers involved in a port call to exchange event data in a uniform way, enabling automated data exchange.

The complete framework of Just-in-Time (JIT) Port Call standards supports digital port call planning, increased operational efficiency and optimal resource utilisation, according to a statement.

“Achieving just-in-time port calls requires accurate, real-time communication between carriers, ports and terminals,” said Phanthian Zuesongdham, Head of Division Port Process Solution of Hamburg Port Authority.

“It is the next major milestone in the effort to achieve a more transparent vessel voyage ecosystem following the 2020 publication of DCSA Standards for Operational Vessel Schedules, which enable automatic sharing of schedule information between vessel operators and their partners,” said DCSA in its announcement.

By moving container shipping towards a more efficient port call process, DCSA standards aim to enable container ships to optimise their steaming speed, thereby lowering fuel consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To provide a global industry framework that preserves investments, DCSA collaborated with International Taskforce Port Call Optimization (ITPCO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) to align port call data definitions to existing standards.

The standards are being tested by carriers, ports and terminal operators at multiple ports around the world.

“Customers of shipping services want visibility and predictability; having a complete set of standards for port calls is an important step towards improving the efficiency and accuracy of data exchange between all parties,” commented Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA.

Bagge went on to explain, “By adopting DCSA standards for Just-In-Time Port Calls, Operational Vessel Schedules and Track & Trace, the industry will see an emerging digital ecosystem where these activities turn into collaborative, data-driven, digital processes. Carriers, ports, terminals, service providers and customers of container shipping alike will gain efficiency, cargo visibility and cost savings. Digitalisation also improves sustainability through better communication and planning, thereby reducing fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and paper waste.”