The ubi app is part of Hutchison Ports’ major initiative to integrate waterside, yard and landside operations through a new app powered by nGen, the group’s powerful terminal management system.
A special taskforce called Digitalisation & Product Innovation team was put together to roll out the new app across the group. A soft launch at Hutchison Ports Thailand was conducted at the beginning of May before a phased introduction at the group’s ports around the world; initially including Pakistan, Tanzania, Oman and the UK.
The exciting technology incorporates features that will enable carriers, service providers and yard operations to have greater visibility, improved efficiency, enhanced decision making and further automate the myriad processes involved in terminal, container storage and hinterland operations.
“Our focus has previously been on waterside and yard operations, but we now want to have more balance and ensure that we provide improved support on the landside particularly for our gateway ports,” said S.T. Pak, General Manager, Group Operations Development at Hutchison Ports.
With 48 ports in the Group’s global network, nGen will cover approximately 75 per cent throughput of all Hutchison Ports (by 2020) and ubi is available for all nGen sites.
“ubi is part of a global strategy to improve each port’s hinterland connection, allowing customers to have better insight and faster access to the landside terminal processes. We will also be able to provide customers with a complete view of our global network and in the future have the ability to track and trace containers across all of our ubi connected terminals,” said Jan Waas, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology at Hutchison Ports.
“We know from our European operations that by automating processes you can improve the efficiency on the waterside, in the yard and on the landside. We see ubi as a strategic operational tool to leverage these efficiencies on the landside throughout the Hutchison Ports global network.”
ubi will be able to process information enquiries for quayside operations, landside operations, gateway terminals for truckers, consignees and shippers. Truckers will know when the box is ready for collection and then they can pay using ubi. This will save time queuing up to physically pay on-site at the billing office.
The new app will also include a truck appointment system going forward aiming to streamline gate operations, reducing dwell time for drivers.
“The drivers will be able to book their appointment in advance and we will have all of the necessary information about the truck and the container at the gate before they arrive. Next year we will be looking at installing an ubi console in the truck for more dynamic operations,” said Kenny Chan, Senior Manager, Digitalisation & Product Innovation at Hutchison Ports overseeing the implementation process across the network of ports.
“Each driver will receive notifications sent to their mobile phone when the container is cleared and they will receive electronic instructions on arrival for the pickup or grounding location and at the end of the process an equipment exchange receipt,” he added.
“Later in the product development pipeline, we will have functionalities to integrate all documents including invoice and receipts electronically through ubi, so the trucker will be able to enter the yard, manage all entry and payment processes and exit using the app. The aim is to get rid of all paper and make the whole landside process seamless through ubi,” he added.
In Thailand, where ubi has been tested by port users both internal and external, confidence is high that the roll out will be a success.
“Prior to the launch of ubi, we had tested with select users on UAT environment as well as in production. The feedback was very positive, especially with the notification function where users can keep track of any particular container or vessel of their interest, the app will immediately provide a notification message when there is a status update,” said Binwu Zhu, Operations Manager, Hutchison Ports Thailand, project leader in the country.
The main benefit port users are enjoying from ubi is convenience as previously they would have to call the terminal or go to the website to make an enquiry.
“Now they have all of this information literally at their fingertips,” added Zhu.
“It is a great honour to be chosen as the first terminal in the Hutchison Ports network to go live with ubi. There is certainly pressure to try to get everything ready, and there had been a lot of things going on at the same time, function testing, end-user testing, marketing promotion and customer communication. We want to make ubi a hit in the local market, because we are the first terminal to launch ubi in Laem Chabang Port.”
Hutchison Ports Thailand is becoming one of the Group’s flagship terminals with the forthcoming Terminal D project, with significant investment made in infrastructure, equipment and technology. The next version of ubi will come with Truck Appointment System (TAS) and E-Payment features which will add further value for users.
Together with ubi and other projects, Hutchison Ports is beginning to change people’s perception of conventional terminal operations and at the same time enhance the user experience.
“All of these developments will further strengthen ties with existing customers and attract new business opportunities,” concluded Zhu.
The word ‘ubi’ is extracted from a Latin word ‘ubique’ that means ‘everywhere’ and the new app will eventually be available in all of the terminals throughout Hutchison Ports’ global network.
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