Portbase is a non-profit organization that belongs to and serves the port community of one of the world’s largest ports, Rotterdam. Its aim is to make the logistics chains of the Dutch ports as attractive as possible by offering a one-stop-shop for logistic information exchange, thereby strengthening the international position of the Dutch port and logistics sector.
The Port Community System
Portbase’s port-transcending Port Community System (PCS) offers companies a multitude of intelligent services for simple and efficient information exchange, both between companies and between the public and private sector. This enables all the participants to optimize their logistics processes, thereby improving their own competitive position and that of the ports.
Daniël van der Mast is IT Team and Project lead at Portbase. “PCS is the digital connection to smart Dutch ports. Today it has almost national coverage and is available for all port sectors: containers, general cargo, dry bulk and liquid bulk. Via PCS, everyone in the logistics chain can exchange information easily and efficiently.
Thanks to the Port Community System, the days when companies had to develop and maintain a whole range of bilateral connections are over. All the information exchange in the ports now runs efficiently through a single hub.
The PCS messaging platform uses Cleo VLTrader for external messaging and is supported by our long lasting partner ECS International. VLTrader allows us to easily connect new trading partners to the system, supporting a wide variety of protocols. Because of the built in capabilities of the product, we don’t have to build it into our software and our clients to have to adapt to us.”
Mission Critical System
Daniël van der Mast: “In 2004 we processed approximately one million messages. In 2016 we expect to hit the 60 million mark, equaling to on average 175.000 messages per day. Needless to say the software is mission critical and we aim for at least 99,8% availability. Timely and adequate support is of high importance to us, for which we rely on ECS International.”
From message hub to smart ports
Portbase initially used the platform to connect businesses and information. High performance, reporting, security and stability were the main objectives. Centralized management and advanced monitoring of a high-volume data were key to allow trading partners to move their goods as quickly as possible in and out of port.
With a nationwide coverage of the platform, Portbase is now developing new value added services on the platform. Real time data and track & trace are some of the capabilities needed for a smart ports initiative, where Portbase wants to further improve logistic connectivity through IT. Portbase is also advising its clients to move from non-secure e-mail and FTP to full secure communications.
Experiences with ECS
Daniël van der Mast: “Our experiences with ECS International are very good. If we have a question or an issue, they respond very fast and adequately. We find the support of ECS International to be the best in the market sector. We are also very satisfied with Cleo VLTrader, which is a very stable and high performing product. It is the combination of ECS and Cleo that works very well for us.
Earlier this year we had a few issues and ECS not only solved them, but also proactively worked with Cleo to improve our system. ECS International is our partner for Cleo licenses and our first point of contact for support. If necessary their engineers will work with Cleo to resolve the issue at hand. For us, ECS International and Cleo are the perfect team.
ECS International is a flexible partner with extensive knowledge which they are happy to share with their clients. The way ECS International works is a very good fit with Portbase: a proactive approach and open and informal communication.”