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New port tech innovation for auto sector

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has rolled-out an Automated Service Instruction entry (SIE) system which uses a portal and/or electronic data interface (EDI) to all its Durban Automotive customers, abandoning the manual processing of paperwork for the export, import and transhipment of vehicles.
More than one hundred TPT customers, supply chain partners and various other stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and beyond South Africa’s borders who utilise the Durban Car Terminal will have the ability to exchange information at an improved speed including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), second-hand car dealers and their Clearing and Forwarding agents. This follows a pilot on the portal with Original Equipment Manufacturer Toyota South Africa Motors.

According to Siyabonga Mhlaluka, TPT general manager for sales and new business, “Our current Transnet 4.0 strategy places a huge emphasis on how we maximize the digital environment to make the life of the customer simpler while reducing the cost of doing business and SIE automation is another way we are attempting that”.

The benefits

He added that the benefits of the automation will reduce document processing time from 72 to 24 hours, making it possible for customers to continue production and shipping as close to vessel sailing times as possible – something that could not happen before.

Another benefit is that time previously spent by customer resources manually capturing data, going in and out offices to submit documents is now used to maximize resource capacity and enhance productivity. Digital always ensures the reduction in operational expenditure due to less printing and storage costs associated with paper with the benefit of electronically having access to records of all transactions, whenever required.

SIE automation was developed by in-house resources within TPT’s Information Technology and Communications department.

Ultimately the system will create flexibility and capacity planning in the port, and will launch fully in East London and Port Elizabeth in February next year. Mhlaluka said, “At TPT, we’ve somehow figured out that innovation is not a nice term to throw around when convenient. It’s becoming more and more a practice and the results – although slow to implement because of due diligence required, are coming in”.

TPT has previously created a web-based, General Cargo Operating System called GCOS which enhances the security of break bulk cargo and automotive offers simple user interface and greater data integrity compared to the old manual method. GCOS is a commercial product that some of the West African ports already using.
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