Freight and logistics solutions firm 1-Stop Connections Pty Ltd, provider of the Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS) to Manila international terminals, is looking to expand operations in the Philippines by offering its products to other ports.
The Australia-based company has started discussions with port authorities and received “encouraging signs that they’re willing to talk and embrace the solution,” according to chief executive officer Michael Bouari in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of a company event on February 21.
Bouari declined to provide more details but noted, “we expect something will happen in the not-so-distant future.”
1-Stop in 2015 won the bid to set up a truck booking system for Manila’s two international terminals—Manila South Harbor operated by Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) under International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI). Its vehicle booking system called TABS has been operating for over a year now, having started in October 2015.
Bouari said 1-Stop can extend its other products and solutions to the rest of the port community, adding there are many opportunities for streamlining to take place.
For example, in some ports around the world, Bouari said cargoes are cleared even before the vessel arrives, unlike in the Philippines, where it takes four days after arrival and “that’s just one part of the chain.”
“Then you start at looking at payment and adding one day to two days, three days, so the dwell time of the containers sitting at the port ends up somehow between eight and 12 days.”
Bouari said 1-Stop can shave dwell time down by streamlining information, making payments more accessible, and improving coordination in picking up and bringing in cargoes.
He explained that when introducing its products, the company’s approach is not to force a solution but to engage the community. “What’s going to give you the most benefit? And let’s try and give you the best benefit as possible.”
He noted that the port environment is sophisticated and documentation is complex, with “many middle men in the supply chain.” With these elements, Bouari said “you need to make it as simple as possible because ultimately that’s when they (stakeholders) embrace the solution.”
Bouari said 1-Stop focuses on “standardization of information and getting the right information passed across,” while taking a community approach to linking the information.
And rather than operating in multiple ways, Bouari said 1-Stop provides the “most standard single window approach to better manage (operations) so that the community sees one interface and ultimately we’re linking the operational capacity with the data.”
Aside from expanding operations in the Philippines, the company eyes bringing its business to the Americas and more Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand. It is currently present in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Bouari said the company’s target is to expand its market and connect its plug-and-play solutions in new markets “in a more integrated approach.”
1-Stop has products for roads and rails, container parks and depots, ports and terminals, and provides solutions for freight forwarders, customs brokers, and shipping lines. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo