Five steps to simplify your multiple port calls

It is well known that port calls are complex and require different parties working together to get the vessel into and out of the port efficiently and safely. The cost of a port calls could be as much as 25% of the total operating expenses of a vessel.

To add to the complexity, each port is unique, each call has its challenges that sometimes are hard to predict. Communication and time zones also add to the challenge of managing global port calls. Transparency is limited or poor, the supply chain can present potential risks… and we can go on.

It’s safe to say that a lot of collaboration is needed from all parties involved, ashore and onboard. No single part can optimise a port call to its full potential, but here is how we can help you to have a cost-effective operation.

Step #1 Eliminate time-consuming port call tasks

The first step to simplify global port calls is by outsourcing the admin tasks that takes a lot of time of your operations team, such as communicating with different agents, in different time zones, dealing with different port requirements, negotiate DAs with different agents, etc. But at the same time, it is important that you don’t lose control and knowledge.

With this in mind, we designed the Global Managed Solutions. These are Solutions that take over the time-consuming tasks and challenges of port calls. Instead of having to communication with several agents in a port call, they will have one point of contact. The Solutions are tailored to your needs and delivered by the Inchcape Global Hub team, your single point of contact. They will handle all communication with your local agents (Inchcape and non-Inchcape local agents) in an efficient and transparent way.

Through our digital port call platform (Optic), the Global Hub team manages the entire process, from appointment to DA and settlement with the local agents. Your workflow and KPIs can be integrated into the system. Accurate data and automated processes help the team to deliver smooth and efficient operations. You and your team have access to the platform which means you can keep track in real-time of what is happening, save time and have full visibility and transparency of your port calls worldwide. 

Step #2 Control cost to maximise your fixture profitability

Reducing port call costs can be a challenge as unanticipated problems can arise; it is just the nature of the business. However, when you are in the business for such a long time, there are problems that you can predict and try to avoid ahead of time. That’s why local knowledge is important.

Local knowledge also means local business relationships which are crucial to solve problems and to secure better prices. Yes, Inchcape is a global company, but we value our local connections and local knowledge.

This, combined with the volume of business we secure by being a global agent, allows us to secure great rates, offer discounts and rebates to our customers while strengthening our relationship with our vendors and local agents.

Cost is important for every company, so we have a dedicated team running Cost Optimisation Programs to ensure cost savings to our customers in a sustainable way in partnership with our Vendors.

All this is done in a transparent way, meaning that you will have visibility of all costs and discounts, nothing is hidden. The team provides detailed cost optimisation reports and have quarterly meetings with customers to review performance and any areas that can be further improved.

Step #3 Improve compliance to avoid supply chain risk and frauds

Not all ports are the same and it is not easy to keep on top of all vendors, especially during challenging times. That’s why compliance is priority in everything you do. By ensuring all parts are compliant, we reduce the risk of bribery, frauds and expensive fines that can damage a company’s reputation.

By overseeing the management of local agents and port calls on our customer’s behalf, we are also managing the challenges and risks associated to it. Therefore, we have a dedicated team focussed on compliance and supporting the entire organization, from procurement and finance to operations.

We offer a monthly Statement of Facts (SOF), one invoice, one currency and a dedicated bank account to our customers to reduce the risk of potential fraud while reducing the number of bank transactions, which also helps to control costs.

All vendors and partners are regularly vetted and monitored. We have anti-bribery and corruption programs, Port Watch list, Master evaluation, internal audit, compliance trainings, strict polices, QHSSE management systems and certifications, cybersecurity program, data protection.

Step #4 Access to accurate and real-time data

No need to say how valuable data is. Companies are investing in data-led insights to support their decision-making process, improve operations and seize opportunities.

At Inchcape, we use data to drive smooth operations. We manage thousands of global port calls in a digital platform that we designed, using the local knowledge and data.

The entire port call, from appointment to settlement, is managed by our Global Hub team with our customers’ local agents direct from this digital platform called Optic. All information is there, and constant updated by the local agents.

Our global customers have access to this digital platform to monitoring the calls, approve DAs, see comments from agents, costs, discounts, etc. Reports and performance dashboards are also available in the platform. Everything there, in plain sight, to help our customers to easily keep a close eye on all their port call operations in one place and make better informed decisions while saving time spent with back-and-forth emails.

This led us to the final step – digitalisation!

Step #5 Digitalisation

Technology is an enabler in such a people-driven business and an important one. We understand the importance of digitalization and data to keep delivering quality service to our customer and to improve the life of our own people.

Our people are the core of everything that we do. They are not only delivering the service to our customers; they are also guiding us in developing tools that improves their day-to-day tasks always keeping our customers in mind and bringing them to the development process.

Our digital port call platform, Optic, was designed to save your operations team time. They only log in when they really need to and, of course, to view their data and operations. It is easy to access from anywhere, including mobile apps, and at any time.

Another digital tool that supports our team and the industry is the World of Ports (WOP) digital platform, where we combine AIS and geofencing, with our global local agent’s data. This enables users to check terminals, berth and ports requirements, restrictions, services, and to monitor the vessel and cargo.

The WOP data is verified and enhanced by a team of data experts led by Captain Aravind Prasath, our Head of Systems managing the development team.

World of Ports is a topic for another time as there is more that you can do with it. So, stay tuned! Subscribe here to receive the next blogs.

The How

These are the key five steps we take to improve your port call operations and reduce costs, but how we do this? How we deliver these steps? We do this through: 

Global Managed Solutions

The most comprehensive range of Solutions that are tailored to your needs. You can find a quick overview of these Solutions here or download the brochure to get more information. However, keep in mind that these Solutions were designed to be customer centric. Each Solution is customisable to meet your business needs and KPIs.

Power of People

We already talked about our people, but we do need to mention them again as they are charged by a passion, and local knowledge, to meet customer needs, no matter who is the local port agent. 

The Global Managed Solutions is delivered by our Global Hub team who provide offer a single point of contact. They are a team of experienced and are expert in their specific field – operations, DA, finance, procurement and compliance. The Global Hub team work on behalf of our customers to deliver the services through local agents.

Global network

Through our own Global Network of agents, partners and vendors, we are able to offer our customers high level of services, discounts, strong compliance, local knowledge plus the same degree of integrity and reliability worldwide.

The results

Cost-effective port call from beginning till the end, not just DA optimization.

The holistic view of entire operations and our experience in port agency since 1847, allows us to predict, prevent and solve potential problems in an effective way, reducing overall annual port call cost by up to 10%, delivering cost-effective port calls so you can remain competitive.

  • Reduced annual port call costs by up to 10%
  • Over USD 20 million Saved in 2020
  • 95% of FDAs within 25 days
  • Less than 1% of supplementary DAs