The Hong Kong Container Terminals Association has demonstrated to the Hong Kong Government that its members’ efforts to digitalize certain vital operations at the port is a sure sign of their willingness to maintain the port’s competitiveness. In return the Association has sought assurances that the government will continue to support its members.
Following a lunch officiated by Frank Chan Fan, secretary for Transport and Housing, on Friday, 20 April, Ms Jessie Chung, chairperson of HKCTOA said:
“Digitalization is the key to the future growth of the shipping and logistics industry, and HKCTOA spares no efforts in promoting this important aspect of the port industry.”
Ms Chung added: “We seek the continuous support from the HKSAR Government in taking the necessary steps to facilitate the future development of the Port of Hong Kong in order to enhance the position of Hong Kong as an international shipping centre and transshipment hub.”
Mr Chan recognized that: “One of the key developments besetting the container shipping industry is the use of digitalization and automation technology, to improve not only the efficiency of the port, but also the working environment and occupational safety.” But he did not elaborate on the Government’s role in offering ongoing support for the industry.
As part of the port’s recognition of the competitive benefits of digitalization a plan to fully implement Electronic Release Order (a paperless system allowing the release of containers against the provision of pin numbers) was launched in January this year.
Under the eRO project, members of HKCTOA plan to fully implement eRO for import containers before December 2019 and phase out the paper handling process by 2020. Over 1,000 containers have been released by eRO securely from the trial since October 2016. The process can be shortened from three days to one day. As a result, the industry can get rid of the current paper-heavy process and achieve enhanced efficiency with proven security features.
Members of HKCTOA have engaged OnePort to jointly collect industry views and requirements for eRO implementation. In order to minimize the industry’s efforts in developing individual eRO systems, OnePort has enhanced its platform to provide fast, convenient and secured online exchange of import documents and instructions for paperless release of laden containers at container terminals. The eRO system enables consignee to prepare electronic Letter of Indemnity (eLOI), receive eRO and forward the eRO to the trucker via the same platform. The trucker can then present the eRO QR code at the container terminals and collect the container.
The inauguration of eRo is the latest innovation at the Port of Hong Kong. At the beginning of the year a milestone was achieved at Hongkong International Terminals’ Container Terminal 9 North when its newly completed remote controlled operations were unveiled on 30 January.
The launch of its remote-controlled rubber-tyred gantry cranes and automated container stacking system marked CT9 North as the first container terminal in Hong Kong where all yard cranes are operated remotely and the stacking of containers is fully automated at yard.