May 22 is a great day not only for the transport industry, but for Ukraine as a whole. Port of Odessa and the State Customs Service of Ukraine signed the technological scheme on the introduction of the first phase of Single Port Community System (EIPS), i.e Single Window - Local Solution. This was made possible by five-year consecutive work of Odessa Port, PLASKE JSC and SCSU with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure Ukraine. A number of regulations and amendments to laws, decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers, orders of SCSU and other agencies were adopted. EIPS project, implemented jointly with PLASKE JSC and SCSU covers all the processes, from the arrival of the cargo on the ship to its carriage by truck from the port territory.
The presentation of the project, which was held on May 29 in the conference hall of the Port of Odessa, was attended by Advisor to the Head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine Mr Pavel Pashko; Head of Port Mr Yuri Vaskov; ICC Ukraine President, First Deputy Chairman of the Interagency Working Group Mr Vladimir Shchelkunov; President of the "Ukrvneshtrans” Association, Deputy Chairman of Interagency Working Group Mr Oleg Platonov; UNECE Regional Adviser Mr Mario Apostolov; Secretary General of the European Port Community Systems Association (EPCSA) Mr Richard Morton; Head of Logistics and Commerce of the port Viacheslav Voronoy; representatives of regulatory agencies, carriers, domestic and foreign experts.
From Single Office to Single Window
Odessa port is no stranger to the role of a pioneer: 7 years ago, in 2005, Single Office with all control agencies was launched at transit and cargo port terminal. It was an innovative solution for that days for container traffic, which accelerated and simplified handling of containers and vehicles. It radically changed the work of regulatory bodies involved in the issuance of permits. The core sense of Single Office lied in the fact that all control agencies are located under one roof and are subject to uniform requirements for the execution of their functional duties.
However, the laws of the market and competition forced the port authorities to go further, to search for new solutions to maintain their leadership in the industry, attracting a promising containerized cargo. Two years ago, Port of Odessa for the first time ever handled the vessels in transshipment and "free practice” mode, and today the port has launched a new pilot project, i.e. "electronic manifest".
EIPS: stepwise approach to success
It seemed that paperwork in the port is as immutable as the port itself. Meanwhile, European and world experience says the opposite: they have long been parted from the paper-based documents and shifted to electronic ones. Port experts, who undertook an internship and studied abroad in the 90s, could see it with their own eyes. However, various factors, primarily regulatory restrictions, prevented the introduction of this system in Odessa.
The process has gained traction after PLASKE JSC organized a visit to the Port of Odessa for customs officers and Klaipeda port authorities from Lithuania. Then they visited Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Marseilles ports. So, step by step, projects have been launched, which eventually led to the creation of EIPS.
At the moment, Mr Voronoy said, Port of Odessa has implemented 4 projects: "free practice" (starting from 2010 408 vessels have been handled, including 372 containerships and 36 tankers); the electronic access (automatic access control system (ASKD); multi-card system instead of paper passes), e-planning of vehicles arrival at the port; the integration of technical facilities (weight systems) into the port information system.
“The development of electronic technologies has allowed us to move to a new level of service, to come close to European standards, to be competitive. These problems can be solved by creating a Port Community System (EIPS). The system involves the integration of all transporters into a single information space with the possibility to provide access to the information used to perform various operations using technological means of technical protection. The purpose of implementation is minimizing paper documents when the loading and unloading at the port, reducing the time for each operation by providing all transporters with relevant and correct information. The system includes the Port Authority, regulatory authorities, stevedoring companies, agents, and freight forwarders. Test run of a full cycle of the 1st stage of EIPS is scheduled for August,” Mr Voronoy said during the project presentation.
Any innovation requires a certain time for its proper development. Therefore, as noted by Mr Voronoy, the Port Authority has decided to gradually implement a system of electronic clearance. Initially, the EIPS system will handle import containers transported by road. The next step is export of empty containers, rail operations, etc.
The procedure for registration of imported containers is as follows: the vessel calling port is processed in the "free practice" mode. Then, they register the unloading of containers, as well as all the storage operations in the system. For export freight forwarder issues e-manifest from his own office. The information is available to the line agent, which authorizes the issuance of the container. Then the Customs Service examines the submitted documents, assesses risks by transferring data from the EIPS into the customs system, gives the verdict: what to do with these goods (append control means, endorses the electronic manifest). The freight forwarder enters information about the vehicle into EIPS. Manager provides electronic scheduling of arrival at the port, if there is no free pass. After customs clearance (inspection, weighting, X-rays, etc.), customs inspector completes clearance in the central database (CDB) and the Customs gives permission to leave the port in the EIPS system. Permission is duplicated by the Border Service, and the truck leaves the port using ASKD means.
Odessa Sea Commercial Port & PLASKE JSC: smart partnership
The general task of the port is to transship the goods from one mode to another. IT-industry and simplification of customs procedures is not its scope as it is associated with a number of specific procedures (analysis of business processes, software development, state certification, procurement of equipment, user training, etc.). Therefore, “the Port Authority was very pleased when PLASKE JSC, quite experienced company in similar projects, once again offered us their help,” Mr Voronoy mentioned.
According to Vice President Mr Ivan Liptuga, PLASKE JSC implemented a project aimed at interaction between EAIS (Unified Automated Information System of the State Customs Service of Ukraine) and NCTS (New Customs Transit System) implemented together with State Customs Service of Ukraine, Customs Service of Lithuania and ICITAP U.S. Department of Justice, i.e. "e-train" project. The company promotes Single Window, electronic documents, single information resource in Ukraine and cooperates with ICC Ukraine in the area of trade facilitation, transport and customs control.
Recently, PLASKE JSC together with EU initiated a pilot carriage of container with electronic GPS seals and became the first company that issued electronic transit declaration. In particular, this pilot project was introduced for the VIKING piggyback train (Klaipeda-Illichivsk), launched in 2003. For several years, PLASKE JSC promotes this route, acts as a coordinator, partner, and operator.
Port of Odessa and PLASKE JSC have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation and established a technical group composed of experts from two companies and SCSU. The results of their work we can be seen in the near future.