THE e-procurement system involving port transactions may not be rolled out as initially targeted due to delays in the development and testing of some of its components.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said the target schedule of the nationwide rollout was from July to November 2004.
However, there has been prolonged negotiation for the signing of the memorandum of agreement for the Data Transfer Specifications (DTS) between the port regulator and port operators Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).
The port agency said this has resulted in delays in the development and testing of certain components and modules of the port operations management system.
“ATI has expressed willingness to sign the MOA but PPA is expecting a tripartite agreement involving the two terminal operators. Even without the MOA, however, ATI directed its technical staff to start the development of the data transfer programs,” the PPA said, while ICTSI is still resolving some legal issues on the DTS.
The PPA said besides application-related issues, the project is still trying to resolve other issues including the installation of wide area network (WAN) to cover additional sites; procurement of additional equipment; and issuance of a PPA e-procurement policy (requisite for the rollout). Other issues include the issuance of support operations policies involving submission by shipping lines of electronic documents in lieu of accomplished forms; enforcement of early submission of manifest by shipping lines if not electronic document is submitted; creation of site transition teams involving key personnel from various functional groups.
PPA said a very optimistic target for the nationwide rollout is January 2005.
“The nationwide rollout originally programmed for ten months was compressed into three. This means that the target rollout will be completed by March 2005, with three more months remaining to monitor stability of systems before the Unisys contract ends by June 2005,” PPA pointed out. As of end-September, the application development and pilot testing was about 88% and 35% complete, respectively. The whole project is between 50 and 55% complete.
The E-procurement system is an application that computerizes the procurement process of the PPA. It is is expected to facilitate transparency and efficiency by utilizing information and communications technology. This also streamlines the procurement process by eliminating redundancy and enforcing uniformity.