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Robert.Jervis_43227 Sep 04

Forth Ports launches digital container-tracking system

Forth Ports launches digital container-tracking system image

Customers can now track online the status of their boxes at London and Grangemouth terminals, ‘part of an overall business strategy for a more unified and consistent service across the group’

Forth Ports Limited has launched a new online, real-time, container-tracking system for customers using the ports of London Container Terminal (Port of Tilbury) and Grangemouth in Scotland.

The bespoke container tracking system is available via the Forth Ports website and gives customers the ability to enquire in real-time about the status of their container within the ports of Tilbury and Grangemouth. Describing it as “simple to use”, the port operator said the system had been successfully delivered by the company’s in-house IT team in conjunction with their long-term port system supplier TCS and has been designed to be accessible without the need for a login or password.

“By simply using a container number or booking reference, customers can locate up to 50 containers with status options ranging from exit by vessel; exit by truck; in yard; and exit by rail,” Forth Ports said.

“These real-time, 24-7, accurate updates are aimed at supporting and streamlining customer’s supply chain processes by reducing the need to contact the port to get the same information.”

Commenting on the new system, Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer at Forth Ports said:

“Our business is continually working hard to ensure that our customers receive an efficient service across our ports. Streamlining of logistics processes and improved access to information are important aspects for customers importing, exporting or distributing their goods and we have invested in this new container tracking system to support this.

“For our container customers in London and Grangemouth, this new system will further assist businesses by providing self-service access to key information, assist in reducing time within their supply chain and manage just-in-time logistics by providing accurate, real-time status information about containers within our two ports. It is now very easy to find the answer to the question ‘what is the status of my box?”

Forth Ports said the new container search system had been introduced “as part of an overall business strategy for a more unified and consistent service across the group”. As part of the IT strategy, Forth Ports has also recently transitioned its two container businesses onto a common and fully integrated Terminal Operating System in association with long-term software vendor TCS.

Forth Ports has also created a new website with “a comprehensive new solution providing a much clearer and more unified perspective on Forth Ports as a group, facilitating structured and easy access to specifics on their various Ports and associated services”, the company said.

Separately, Forth Ports' Port of Tilbury celebrates its 50th anniversary of its grain terminal, the UK’s largest terminal for the import and export of grain.

Built at a cost of £53.5 million in today’s money, the grain terminal has processed over 35 million tonnes of product since opening in 1969. It currently handles two million tonnes of grain, wheat, barley and beans every year to help meet the UK’s import and export requirements.

A vital supplier to major global brands, grain is handled at the terminal daily through its import and export capability and is a key supporter of the agriculture industry in the south east of England as well as the flour milling and bakery industries. The terminal regularly handles cargoes from in and out of the UK and to countries across the world from the USA and Canada to France, Thailand and Australia.    

With two grain towers on site, the terminal can discharge and load vessels simultaneously and with a five-star food hygiene rating the facility has the trust of major companies. The grain terminal is fully automated and linked to the two associated flour mills located within the port.

Grain brought into the terminal can be made into flour to be used for every day goods stocked in supermarkets including pasta, baked goods and malt - used to make beer and the soya found in baby food.

Since Thames Grain was added to the terminal in 1983 it has allowed UK grown grain to be sampled, tested and tipped prior to export. This process is used to support the grain terminal’s major export of UK wheat, barley and human consumption beans to destinations across the world.

Peter Ward, Commercial Director at The Port of Tilbury said:

“This year marks a special anniversary for Port of Tilbury’s grain terminal which plays a huge role in supplying businesses from around the world with the grain needed to support their brands.

“In half a century the grain terminal has processed over 35 million tonnes of grain, wheat, barley and beans while also assisting in the production of flour in its two associated mills to provide supermarkets with some of their most popular products.

“Port of Tilbury continues to invest in this vital asset to ensure it continues as the largest terminal for the import and export of grain in the country for the next 50 years.”

The Tilbury Grain terminal is the key strategic facility in the South East of the UK for the grain import and export markets handling grain from around the world. The grain terminal has over 200 silo’s ranging in size from 60mt to over 2000mt, supporting the flour and ingredient market for the southeast, London and up to the Midlands. Its berths have space to host post-panamax vessels - greater than 40,000 tonnes - but can also handle a range of coaster vessels on its inner, outer and coaster berths. The terminal also operates a monthly coastal shipping service from Tilbury to its sister port in Kirkcaldy, Scotland for Carr’s Milling.

Earlier this year, Port of Tilbury completed a major storage expansion at the grain terminal as part of its growth strategy. The new flat store increases the capacity by an additional 16,000 tonnes of both import and export wheat.