Port of Melbourne begins supply chain pilot with EDS

Potential to improve container processing times by up to 60 per cent

The Port of Melbourne will trial new technology designed to dramatically increase cargo movement by integrating information from thousands of users into one online system.

Global technology services company EDS has won a 12-month contract with the Victorian Department of Infrastructure to run a pilot program to prove the initiative is viable.

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.

EDS Australia managing director Chris Mitchell said the Port of Valencia had improved the time to process a container by 50-60 per cent in 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," he said.

"The Port of Melbourne currently moves about two million containers annually - almost 40 per cent of Australia's international container trade.

"With traffic expected to more than double over the next 30 years, the Port of Melbourne is in a position 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.

The aim is to integrate information and documentation in key areas such as berth booking, container status, trade directory, hazardous cargo and ship arrivals and departures.

Mitchell said the system will enable participants to be the first to trial improved services to their customers, helping them to be more competitive, win cargo and earn customer loyalty by improving their processes.

Melbourne-based IT consulting firm Red Wahoo, which specialises in B2B technology and has previously mapped the Port of Melbourne supply chain, will work with EDS during the pilot.

Mitchell said the intention was to provide far greater access to shipping, cargo and transport operations information, remove duplication and achieve higher quality, more reliable data.

"Cargo transactions involve a broad mix of public and private organisations with varying degrees of IT maturity and legacy systems," Mitchell said.

"It's a complex environment with disconnected pieces of information and processes that ultimately results in delays and congestion in port operations.

"We're 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. This is all about building efficiency and maximising capacity of the port to support the growth of Victorian industry."

Mitchell said there was considerable interest in the system from others ports in the Asia Pacific region and globally.

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