The Greater Houston Port Bureau reports that it is set to launch a trial of the PortXchange port planning software system, first developed at the Port of Rotterdam, involving more than 20 maritime stakeholder companies.
The Houston trial will begin next week, on June 8th, and aims to assess the potential benefits of collecting and sharing data through the collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform. The trial will run at least six months, the port says.
Companies that have agreed to participate with the Port of Houston for the duration of the trial include Shell International Trading and Shipping Company, ExxonMobil, Contanda, Kinder Morgan Terminals, ITC, Stolt-Nielsen, MOL Chemical Tankers, Odfjell, and the Houston Pilots Association.
“Consolidating port planning data into one central platform gives terminals, ships, and third-party service providers better predictability,” said Capt Bill Diehl, president of the Port Bureau.
“The port of Houston is by far the busiest port in the US. Now, we want to be the most efficient.”
PortXchange provides scheduling transparency to parties involved in port calls by facilitating data sharing amongst stakeholders, which can help to decrease port turnaround times and improve efficiency. Once a vessel has an estimated time of arrival, a Port Call is created and all relevant parties can see associated plans for that vessel, to adjust their own plans accordingly.
The schedule information is merged with AIS and vessel tracking data, machine learning predictions, and operational data to give a real-time status of each port call.
Developed in Rotterdam and tested over a three year period, PortXchange recently completed a trial demonstrating a 30% reduction in vessel idle time at APM Terminals Rotterdam after deploying the system. The software is now being deployed at a number of external ports with support from strategic partners Shell and Maersk.