Usage Monetization & Automation
Despite massive growth in international shipping, port owners around the globe have been struggling financially. The biggest culprit: a reliance on manual, error-prone processes that create significant billing inaccuracies. Typically, port operators rely on a highly fragmented architecture with many manual steps. For example, port workers manually log usage (arrival of ships, the services they use while docked) into terminals.
Later, another person manually enters those logs into financial systems. Each of these steps, and several others, presents opportunities for errors that, cumulatively, can cost port operators millions. This port operator was tracking every single transaction via error-prone manual entries on a spreadsheet, creating a constant risk of revenue leakage.
The company wanted to automate the entire cash flow process. They needed to accurately track each ship’s consumption, from the moment workers log usage information into NAVIS terminals, up to when that log information is combined with the specific shipper’s contract information, to when the usage data is entered into the financial system.
Making the project even more complex, the port operator works with many partners that also provide services to freights and ships—each of whom also need to be paid accurately. Traditionally, most ports charge shippers based solely on a coarse-grained time-in/time-out model.
To increase revenues, this port operator also wanted to explore new models, such as charging based on each container’s contents, weight, value, and other factors. Despite the complexity, all of this business logic would need to be processed very quickly to allow shippers and the port to communicate—announcing estimated time of arrival, requesting services, agreeing on payment—in real time.
It was an ambitious undertaking. And it would require a state-of-the-art data infrastructure that provided a single, standardized platform for billing, analytics, and revenue assurance.
The port operator worked with DigitalRoute to overhaul its data collection and charging systems. Today, the company has fully automated the collection of session events entered into the NAVIS terminals.
The system’s advanced session-handling intelligence now captures the full range of consumption events for every vessel that enters the port. This includes accurate metrics for discharging, loading, pilotage, and visit and handling services such as storage time, stripping and stuffing,
X-ray, and weighing containers. The new infrastructure allows the port operator to bill for more services in more ways, such as charging a premium for container storage at peak times.
After a vessel departs the port, the system automatically integrates all chargeable events from the services used into one billable invoice.
The system even allows the port operator to lock services to shippers that the NAVIS terminals show have exceeded their credit, or that the port’s CRM and billing systems show have overdue payments.
Finally, the new system automatically enriches data pulled from the NAVIS terminals, dramatically improving the accuracy of billing and partner settlement.
With more accurate, fine-grained session-handling processes, the port operator can run its business much more effectively. They have driven out errors and revenue leakage and can now implement a wide range of consumption-based pricing models.
With a more flexible billing and settlement infrastructure, the port operator can open up new revenue streams by offering a wide range of consumption-based container-handling services.
The port operator automated access to port services, eliminating inefficient and inaccurate manual processes.
With real-time integration of the NAVIS system with the company’s CRM and billing systems, the company can now accurately track (and charge for) end-to-end port services.