Successfully Doing Evolution, Panjang Port on Path to Digital

Panjang Port successfully did evolution last year (2018). It did physical rearrangement and digital system preparation successfully, reaching 60% of requirements needed by a digital port, thanks to the three key programs taken last year.  In view of this, Drajat Sulistyo, General Manager of Panjang Port, confidently sets up a target for fully digital port by the end of this year (2019).

Last year, as Drajat explained earlier, Panjang Port focused on three main programs: transformation of operation, asset commercialization, and re-branding programs. All were done in parallel.

Relating to the transformation of operation program, the port did finalization of zoning and terminal clustering (dedicated terminal) of container, break bulk, and liquid. It also covers the works of improvement of services through setting up of control room in which all services will be integrated.

“All works relating terminal zoning have been completed. The quays have been clearly set up and dedicated for kinds of cargoes like containers, dry bulk, and liquid bulk,” Drajat said.

Panjang has also completed its control room. This control room is playing role as a dashboard to control any operational activities and providing data not only relating to stevedoring volume but also trade volume in real time. In addition, this control room also acts as a billing center and customer service center.

“Now, here we are. This control room has been ready. We can monitor and control any activities at any of our terminals, including container, break bulk, or liquid bulk terminals from here,” Drajat explained it, while showing all modern facilities and equipments inside this control room to Indonesia Shipping Gazette  last week.

“In addition, this control room is also playing as data center, not only relating to loading/unloading volume, but further. We will find here data relating to trade volume, volume of each commodity, and so on,” he further explained.

This transformation of operation programs have significantly increased this port productivity and improve efficiency. Data tells that this port productivity experienced an increase last year. The throughput was higher than the earlier year volume and exceeded the target, though ship calls dropped.

According to data, the non-containerized cargo in 2018 experienced 1.98% increase, from 8.89 to 9.06 million tons. It was also exceeding the target, by 5.60%. In 2018, Panjang Port’s non-containerized volume target was contracted to 8.58 million tons. The container volume during the year also experienced an increase.

However, number of ship calls during 2018 was down from 2,480 units in 2017 to 2,270. It was even lower than the target which was contracted to 2,330. However, the total GT experienced an increase by 3.78%, from 25.34 million in 2017 to 26.30 million GT. It was also 12.57% over the target, which was contracted to 23.36 million GT.

“What does it mean? It means that there was a trend of increasing bigger vessel calls on this port. Why? It is because our port infrastructures, facilities, and the service system were getting improvement that finally triggers big vessels to come,” commends Drajat.

Even, one of the world’s big shipping lines has submitted its initial plan to deploy a 8,000teus vessel to this port. For Panjang Port that usually handled vessels of around 200 – 1000 teus, this is fantastic, such like a quantum leap.

“I said it as a port evolution. We just did improvement in operation through those programs. Now, just have a look. There will be more and more bigger vessels to come,” said Drajat.

Trade Facilitator

Drajat explained in view of the parent company’s (IPC) policy to involve the subsidiary companies in the operation, the branch office will take focus on commercialization function. The branch office will tackle the marketing works in a bid to optimize the port facilities and to invite more customers to come.

Some IPC subsidiaries been involved in the operation of Panjang port include IPC TPK for the operation of container terminal, PTP for the operation of bulk terminals, and IPC Marine for pilotage and towage services.

“We will let them handle the operational works which we can control and monitor from our control tower. We, in the branch office, will continue to focus on the commercialization works. And we have practiced it since last year,” said Drajat.

He said that since the branch office focused on the marketing activities, there are some new customers coming to this port. Some have also expressed their initial interest. “Some coal traders will soon load and unload coal here,” Drajat gave an example, adding that the branch office continue to extensively invite more new customers to utilize this port.

What is the big vision? “The vision is that the branch office will play as a trade facilitator, not just as a land lord,” Drajat noted.

To realize the vision, the Branch Port of Panjang has actually started to realize it since last year, including how it set up its control tower as a center of trade information and how it massively approached big traders, not only in Sumatra or Indonesia, but also abroad including big traders in Tiongkok (China), to use the port as their loading unloading point.

Path to Digital

The completion of the control tower that have equipped with modern facilities and updated IT system is actually a part of its program to digital port. As reported earlier, parent company IPC targeted Panjang Port as the first port to go digital.

Drajat affirmed it, saying that development of the control tower in which it will integrate all systems run by any terminals and connect to the customers system, is a part of this program.

“The steps toward a digital port are ready at 60%. We are now completing some works for it and hopefully, all the preparatory works will be ready this year,” Drajat said, expecting the digital port will be launched not later than the end of this year (2019).

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