Just-in-Time Communication for Efficiency And Emission Reduction


Carriers, ports, terminal operators, and customers all seek to optimize their operations, reduce waiting times, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions, according to an article published on Safety4sea.

Port calls

Port calls are notoriously known for their complexity, involving various stakeholders with different needs, making planning a challenge. To address these inefficiencies, a concept known as Just-in-Time (JIT) Port Call Communication has been developed. JIT aims to create transparency in the port call process and reduce waiting times, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions.

The Untapped Potential of Just-In-Time Port Arrivals white paper by PortXchange found that JIT Port Arrivals could reduce global container shipping emissions by at least 5%, translating to approximately 17 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

JIT port call communication works by establishing a standardized negotiation cycle for vessels’ arrivals and departures at ports. This cycle, known as the Estimated, Requested, and Planned (ERP) cycle, follows a clear process accessible to all stakeholders involved in the port call. Here’s how it works:

  1. Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA): The carrier digitally communicates the ETA to the terminal operator, indicating when the vessel is expected to arrive at the port.
  2. Requested Time of Arrival (RTA): Upon receiving the ETA, the terminal operator verifies berth availability and responds with the RTA, confirming their readiness to accommodate the vessel.
  3. Planned Time of Arrival (PTA): The carrier confirms the RTA as a handshake agreement and sends the Planned Time of Arrival (PTA). The PTA is always the same as the RTA and represents the most up-to-date arrival time shared with all stakeholders.
  4. Confirmation and Communication: Any changes to the ETA or RTA trigger a new cycle until a new PTA is established and communicated. Once the vessel arrives, the Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) is communicated to confirm its arrival.
  5. Standardized Communication: Event timestamps are communicated to every stakeholder using a standardized messaging format, such as an API (Application Programming Interface). This enables real-time, machine-to-machine data communication, ensuring that accurate and usable data is instantly available to all stakeholders.

By following this JIT communication process, port call events are better aligned, leading to increased efficiency, predictability, sustainability, and safety across the trade ecosystem.

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Source: Safety4sea