Prior to implementing COAT, GPA was heavily dependent on file transfers from CBP's standalone system to update Customs holds in GPA's terminal operating system. As the complexity and volume of CBP's inspections increased, so did problems with the transfer of information from CBP to GPA.
The system is named COAT to represent the four CBP processes: CET (Contraband Enforcement Team), Outbound, Agriculture, and Trade. Using Oracle Forms, GPA software engineers designed and developed an integrated Web-based application exclusively for the use of CBP. COAT allows local CBP officers to notify GPA when a container is designated for inspection, creates work orders to move containers through the inspection process, updates seal changes, and tracks the release of individual containers - all in real time.
The implementation of COAT eliminated the need for remote file transfers by integrating CBP's processes with GPA's terminal operating system. This has greatly improved communication between CBP and GPA, increased port security, reduced administrative costs, reduced container dwell time, and reduced the likelihood that a container would exit the port without CBP's authorization. With no slowdown in activity at GPA and an ever-heightening awareness of port security, the COAT system positions GPA to continue to grow without sacrificing customer service or port security.
As a key gateway port, the Port of Halifax moves a significant volume of cargo inland by rail. Concerned with the quality and consistency of service provided to its customers, the Halifax Port Authority (HPA), working with its stakeholders, initiated a Service Standard Report to monitor two key performance metrics: container dwell time and transit time.
Dwell time refers to the amount of time that an import container sits at a marine terminal (terminal dwell time) or rail terminal (rail dwell time) before commencing its inland journey. Transit time is the total elapsed time from container discharge to arrival at its ultimate inland destination. Shorter dwell times indicate that terminal and rail resources are being used effectively, and results in inbound cargo being delivered to its final destination more quickly. Accurate transit time metrics allow for improved logistics planning on the part of customers receiving goods through the Port of Halifax.
With thousands of containers moving through the port each year, the manual collection and analysis of data related to dwell times and transit times was impractical. The HPA has developed the Container Tracking System (CTS) to address this situation. The CTS was developed using .NET technologies and a SQL Server 2000 database platform. The HPA now receives container movement event information in electronic format from its marine terminal operators and from its rail service provider.
The CTS stores this event data in a data base, where it is available for dwell time and transit time reporting, analysis, and query. Detailed event information is available for each import container at each stage of its inland journey, from vessel discharge to discharge from rail car at destination, providing complete visibility to cargo movements through the Port of Halifax. The CTS data is available through the CTS application on HPA's network, or through a web query page on HPA's public web site.