COPENHAGEN, Denmark-African port monitoring site www.portoverview.com now offers email alerts to subscribers when a selected port changes status. This alert comes one year following the first entry of an African Port status one year ago on its portal and subsequent commercial launch in January earlier this year, said the site administrators.
“The feedback we had from our first subscribers and those trialling the system was that they liked using the Google map of Africa to get a full overview and then zoom into a particular port. However they were also interested in receiving an alert when one of the ports they work with changes status without having to enter the site” comments Victor Shieh, co-Editor of Port Overview.
By setting their mail parameters to accept these alerts, users can receive updates on their mobile devices and tablets as well as in the office. The portal has been designed to empower importers, exporters, traders and forwarders with information in order for them to take proactive decisions on how to move their cargo to and from Africa for their customers.
“Since October last year, if you take out the ‘no reported incident’ status category, around 1,400 separate incidents have been recorded on the site, which provides very useful data on port performance and the challenges the ports in Africa are facing” comments Morten Berg Thomsen, Analyst at SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.
“We have found that whilst congestion and customs incidents at terminals do register highly, quite often outside factors such as road & rail infrastructure, construction and even the weather have a major impact depending on which port you are interested in.”
Subscribers to the portal so far have included medium sized forwarders and NVOCCs, exporters including a US exporter of farm machinery, and even a security services company.
“The picture is not all bad news, as construction of new facilities and extensions to existing terminals are appearing all over the continent” commented Shieh, “but what our independent sources are telling us is that a lot of the main problems are actually taking place outside yard gates.”
The recent SeaIntel Sunday Spotlight study on dwell times at 6 of Africa’s leading ports pointed to an average improvement of three hours to 43 hours per vessel compared to the 46 hours reported eighteen months ago.