Port of Oakland officials has promised a digital shipping platform by mid-year to speed up global trade flows. The Port said it’s building an online portal for transactions that range from tracking to transporting containerized cargo. The move aligns with an industry migration toward digitalization of international supply chains for the sake of efficiency.
The Port previewed its portal - called a digital collaboration platform - at an American Association of Port Authorities meeting in Oakland yesterday. Port officials said it would provide a single window for cargo owners or freight haulers who want to:
- Get personalized cargo status updates;
- Check ocean vessel schedules;
- Pay freight-handling fees; or
- Make appointments to pick up containerized cargo.
“This is the next big thing in global trade,” said Oakland Senior Project Administrator Eric Napralla. "It’s a common platform – one place where everyone can go to more easily view and direct their shipments.”
Development of the portal is already underway and it will roll out in phases, the Port said. It projected a third-quarter 2018 launch date for the site.
The Port said it’s working with New Jersey-based logistics software provider Advent Intermodal Solutions LLC to create the portal. The firm’s eModal port community system is already used by every marine terminal operator in Oakland. That will make it easier to roll out a common platform, the Port explained.
Terminals are the pivot point of containerized trade. That’s where ships, trucks and trains converge to transport cargo. According to the Port, Advent will aggregate information from Oakland’s four terminals to create a harbor-wide community portal.
Ports nationwide are considering digital portals to accelerate freight transport. Oakland said it intends to be one of the first to go live with the new technology. It could also be one of the few with an online portal that’s used by every terminal operating within a port.
The Port said shippers would be better able to manage international supply chains once its portal is in place. For instance, cargo owners would know with greater precision when to expect merchandise. Trucking companies would know exactly when and where to dispatch drivers for container pick-up. Marine terminals would benefit from more efficient movement of cargo in and out of the Port.
“They’ll only log in to the portal once,” Mr. Napralla explained. “Then they can navigate the entire Port with a few simple clicks.”