Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
It was reported from Perth, Western Australia on 18 November that Canadian software company Helm Operations (Victoria, BC https://www.helmoperations.com/ ) and Western Australian marine consultant Tiller Technical (Perth, WA, see: https://www.tillertechnical.com/) have signed a new partnership agreement to help vessel operators digitalize their operations.
As part of the partnership, Tiller Technical will use its industry expertise and local knowledge to help companies implement and use Helm CONNECT - Helm’s industry-leading harbor services and fleet management software - to modernize, digitalize, and streamline their operations.
Since launching in 2016, Helm CONNECT (see: https://www.helmoperations.com/helm-connect-overview/) has become the world’s fastest growing maritime software platform, now used by more than 220 companies and 4000 vessels worldwide to help manage fleet operations, including vessel maintenance, regulatory compliance, personnel management, and vessel scheduling and billing.
With Helm CONNECT already in use by many of Australia’s largest vessel operators, the partnership between Tiller Technical and Helm Operations will focus primarily on helping small and medium-sized operators take advantage of software to streamline their operations. It is reported that this service is much needed as Australian operators, like their counterparts around the world, look to move to paperless systems.
In the words of Tiller Technical Director, Drew Pirrit: ‘While Australia’s largest operators often have full teams dedicated to implementing new systems and improving operations, many smaller operators have traditionally lacked the resources to implement new technology to the same level.
‘After working closely with Helm for two years now, we’ve found that Helm CONNECT makes it possible for smaller operators to quickly and effectively implement software systems for maintenance, compliance, and complete harbor operations, bridging the gap to many larger operators.’
As an active marine engineer with over 15 years of engineering and technical management experience, Drew has worked extensively with mining and offshore support fleets in the Pilbara region, helping companies set up, manage, and support new operations by focusing on fleet reliability and supply chain management.
Built in part on that experience, Perth-based Tiller Technical has made its name in Australia as an engineering and operations support company offering safety system and maintenance plans for commercial vessels in line with Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) requirements. That experience was also a major draw for Helm as it looks to expand its operations to better support operators in Australia and New Zealand.
Nolan Barclay, CEO of Helm Operations commented: ‘Over the past two years, Tiller has been an essential partner for us in helping optimize the maintenance and compliance features of Helm CONNECT, especially from the point of implementation and crew adoption.
‘Working with Tiller, we’ve seen that it’s often the small and medium operators who can benefit the most from implementing electronic systems but making software systems work well for both management and crew is a challenge that often requires on-site training and support to achieve. This partnership will make it possible for us to better support operators in Australia and New Zealand and give them the close support they need to be successful moving to newer, more modern systems.’
This partnership agreement is just the start, said Pirrit, as Tiller looks to bring more technology to the industry in the year to come: ‘We see Helm CONNECT as a key platform for companies looking to optimize operations. It’s effective and powerful on its own but, through integrations with other new technology, it can also open doors for optimizing entire operations.
‘From integrating with telematics and onboard equipment to improve reliability, to digitalizing the entire harbour towage process from agent and order through billing, there is a tremendous opportunity to really drive innovation throughout the maritime sector here in Australia, as well as in New Zealand, and we’re excited to bring that to the table.’
In the UK the results of a recent Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT; see: CILT Home (ciltuk.org.uk) ) survey investigating the preparedness of Institute members ahead of the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, reveals that a clear majority of members are concerned about the UK’s transition period coming to an end.
It is understood that the results show that 82% of CILT members who are involved in the movement of goods in and out of the EU are concerned (44% of them greatly concerned) about the transition period ending at the end of the year.
CILT stated that it is pleased to see 79% of respondents believe their organisation is at least moderately prepared for the end of the transition period. However, alarmingly, 31% of respondents told CILT they had made little or no progress with regards to EU exit preparations since the start of the year, although 77% of those questioned have made or are planning to make changes to their supply chain operations before 31 December.
Many respondents believe their organisation understands the key requirements for what needs to be done as a third-party country exporting or importing with the EU. However, members commented on feeling increasingly concerned over the lack of clarity that remains as the nation approaches the end of the transition period. Respondents also raised concerns about how imports from Northern Ireland will be handled.
As the UK Government launched the Freeports competitive bidding process towards the end of November DP World and Forth Ports advanced their bid for a Thames Freeport with London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham engine plant at its heart.
Backed by the City Corporation of London, Essex Chamber of Commerce, London First, the Port of London Authority, the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thurrock Council and the South East LEP, a Thames Freeport will, it is reported, drive innovation and transformational productivity gains by growing regional clusters in next generation logistics, automation, clean growth and advanced manufacturing. Vivid Economics is providing economic analysis in support of the bid, it is understood.
With a network of global and European shipping connections, excellent road, rail and river distribution networks, in addition to unrivalled first hand expertise in operating freeports, the Thurrock-based combined port and logistics cluster has the scale to grow the associated aerospace, automotive and many complex manufacturing and processing businesses along the Thames. This was the substance of a media release issued by Forth Ports and DP World.
The joint communiqué advised that a freeport will act as a job creation and high-quality development catalyst in an area of severe deprivation and economic need.
Both London Gateway and Tilbury ports have consented development land that is available for expansion now, with the aim to improve the opportunities for skilled jobs, bringing prosperity to the residents of Thurrock and beyond.
In the words of Alan Shaoul, DP World UK’s Chief Financial Officer: ‘Freeports will be an effective way of underpinning Britain’s economy post-Brexit and post-Covid by further enabling trade with the rest of the world and creating zones which will act as catalysts for commerce, creativity and prosperity.’