India sets deadline for digital ports platform

India sets deadline for digital ports platform

All major public ports in India have begun using an enhanced digital collaboration platform, though a handful of private ports have yet to come on board. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

The Indian government this week told all ports in the country they must adopt an upgraded digital collaboration platform by July 20.

Most have already begun using the enhanced system — called PCS1x — so the deadline targets a handful of ports that have lagged in their adoption.

Among leading private container ports, Mundra, Pipavav, Hazira, and Kattupalli have signed on to the digital interface, but a few others — including Krishnapatnam, Kakinada, Karaikal, and Gangavaram — have yet to come on board. All major public ports have already settled into the platform.

The upgraded PCS, which was launched in December last year, is a digital collaboration platform that connects marine terminals, transport service providers (shipping lines, forwarders, truckers, and railroads), and related intermediaries (customs brokers, storage yards, and stevedores, among others) through a single window. The application enables users to electronically process delivery orders, transport orders, gate open cut-off times, delivery gate schedules, gate-in bookings, and pre-gate schedules, rather than manually on paper, increasing efficiency.

“The PCS1x platform is fully equipped to facilitate payment transactions, using payment aggregator solutions,” the government said in a statement. “This [payment aggregator service] is one of the key parameters being tracked at the highest level in the government for improving ease of doing business ...”

The government said the Indian Ports Association (IPA), along with Portall Infosystems, the technical service provider for the PCS application, performed pilot runs for the payment service functionality at a few ports without any hiccups.

“It is to be noted that the usage of the payment aggregator does not entail any costs to the ports,” the government said. “The payment fees, if any, will be on a ‘payer-pays’ model, i.e., the payer of funds will be charged the transaction fees.” 

Due to accelerated outreach efforts, the PCS onboarding program has gained considerable ground in recent months, with 21 stakeholders out of 27 targeted supply chain providers joining the digital network. Authorities are working to complete the adoption process this month, for which country-wide roadshow presentations led by IPA and Portall are under way.

Contact Bency Mathew at bencyvmathew@gmail.com.