The Shipping Ministry is set to issue an order making Port Community System (PCS) mandatory for all Indian seaports.
The move is based on the recommendations of a 11-member panel set up at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office in May to promote Ease of Doing Business.
The panel headed by RK Agarwal, Joint Secretary (Ports), also recommended that a legal framework be explored to make it mandatory to carry out transactions through PCS.
Mandating usage via a legal framework will improve Ease of Doing Business, trade across borders and logistics performance index, the panel wrote in its report submitted on August 17. Portall, a logistics management application, was developed by Mumbai-based logistics conglomerate JM Baxi Group. The group was awarded the contract by the Indian Ports Association, an autonomous body under the Shipping Ministry to roll out a pan-India PCS by December.
Portall PCS will on-board all maritime stakeholders and the Federation of Indian Logistics Association to help end-to-end trade transactions. Necessary technological changes must be made by all ports and stakeholders to enable real-time information exchange with PCS, the report said.
Portall has been asked to include, either through development or as a latch-on, functionalities such as transportation solution/vehicle booking system, marketplace for goods and services to be taken up in association with the planned National Trade Portal, Multi-Modal shipments and single-point for dues collection.
Portall said it is working with global cargo booking systems such as INTTRA for incorporation in the PCS workflow as a latch-on facility. Customs should consider PCS a nodal platform to deal with all maritime stakeholders for exchange of messages with ICEGATE (e-commerce portal of Central Board of Excise and Customs), the committee has recommended. A pilot project will be done at Visakhapatnam Port Trust to test the API-based transactions between PCS and ICEGATE.
The panel also recommended integration of the proposed Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT) system of the Customs with PCS “to achieve a true single window”