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Port of Melbourne to boost cargo movement

Port of Melbourne to boost cargo movement

Melbourne: The Australian State of Victoria's Department of Infrastructure has commissioned Texas-based technology services industry consultancy EDS to conduct a technology pilot program in an effort to plan for a dramatic increase in cargo movement for the Port of Melbourne (pictured). The concept being trialed aims to integrate information from thousands of users into one online system. The move comes as a controversial dredging programme gets underway to deepen channels to the Victorian city to allow the largest boxships to call.

The program aims to replicate the success of Spain's Port of Valencia, one of the first in the world to successfully integrate a port's supply chain into a single information portal.

According to EDS Australia Managing Director, Chris Mitchell, Valencia improved the time to process a container by 50-60 percent over the last five years and provided savings across its port community.

"The Spanish have now moved to commercialise this technology and have linked with EDS to introduce the system to other ports around the world," Mr. Mitchell indicated.

The Port of Melbourne currently moves about two million containers annually which represents almost 40% of Australia's international container trade. Its traffic is expected to more than double over the next 30 years, predicating the need to achieve major improvements in both efficiency and cost.

The 12-month pilot will involve about 10 different organisations, including the Port Authority, shipping and freight companies as well as importers and exporters.

Its objectives include the integration of information and documentation in such areas as berth booking, container statues, trade directory, hazardous cargo and ship arrivals and departures. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to trial the improved services in their offers to customers.

The Port of Melbourne's supply chain has previously been mapped by a local IT consultancy which will  work with EDS during the pilot.

"The intention is to provide far greater access to shipping, cargo and transport operations information, remove duplication and achieve higher quality, more reliable data," Mr. Mitchell added.

"Cargo transactions involve a broad mix of public and private organisations with varying degrees of IT maturity and legacy systems and we are looking forward to working with the Victorian Government and the port community on proving the viability of this system to allow future growth at the port."  [25/01/08]