PCS in the Ukrainian sea ports: the route to the «Single window»

The essence of the Port Community System (PCS) and the stages of its implementation in Ukraine were widely covered by the media. The editors of the «SHIPPING» magazine decided to look at the current situation with the introduction of electronic document flow in Ukrainian sea ports, and also at the prospects of its development – up to the implementation into the «Single Window» project.

PCS was put into a commercial operation in Ukraine on the 1st of January, 2014. Just then, it was begun a gradual but complete transition from «traditional» paper document flow to electronic one in the case of registration of vessel calls and cargo handling in the seaports of Ukraine. Odessa sea port was the first «platform» for the experimental, at that time, system modules.


PCS – the port community system, established in accordance with Ukrainian legislation on electronic document management and data protection. Used in logistics international checkpoints for the sea (including ferry) connection, under contract terms, according to the financial viability formula, by providing practical implementation of public and local measures on the simplification and acceleration of transportation processes, cargo handling, passing state control procedures provided by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on May 21, 2012 №451 and other normative-legal acts related to the processes of international trade and transport. At one time, the system has received the certificate of compliance by State Service of Special Communication of Ukraine for a work with the information, which does not have a form of National Security Information, but is an information with restricted access.


Today PCS is implemented in all the seaports of the country. In the harbors of «Big Odessa» – in Yuzhny, Chernomorsk and Odessa – the modules for all activity types on container handling work: unloading and loading of all types of transport. In addition, in the all Ukrainian ports (including those mentioned) there are such modules as «Sea Agent» and «Government Body» (through which all the controlling services run).

orlov— As of August 1 this year, 702 freight forwarders in Ukraine signed an agreement on information cooperation and were connected to the PCS, – says Alexey Orlov, deputy director of the company «PPL 33-35», the developer and operator of PCS.

Originally, the connection idea was made so that the cargo owners or their representatives (freight forwarders) have the opportunity to apply as before, paper documents, and the representatives of the port authorities would transfer the data to the PCS. Those users who wish to optimize their logistics, and work on personnel placement and number, speed up the process of documents registration are able to enter and get the data directly on the home screen, i.e. remotely – from the office, no matter they geographically are.

— Thus, our partners independently choose their status themselves. The customer uses the system remotely – and pays for these services. The applicants – those cargo owners who submit documents in a paper format, it’s their choice. Today there are 13 such companies. The numbers speak quite impartially – 702 customers and 13 applicants, – emphasizes A.Orlov.

Though, if the customer has no technical or organizational capabilities to use the system from his home screen, he can go to the administration of any port and file the documents on paper.

The system operator has also concluded bilateral agreements with all state bodies that operate in marine border checkpoints. These are the State Fiscal Service, all border guard detachments in ports, Health Inspection Services, territorial divisions of phytosanitary, animal health, environmental services, etc.


In June 2011, in Odessa, during an international seminar, the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Ján Kubiš addressed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine with a request to support the initiative of the Ukrainian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Ukraine) on the implementation in Ukraine of the pilot project «Single window – a local solution». Soon there has been established an interdepartmental working and expert groups concerning the implementation of this format in the area of operations of Southern customs and ports of Odessa region. In April 2012, in order to implement the concept of simplification, harmonization, standardization and computerization of international trade on the basis of operating time of the UNECE and the World Customs Organization it was established a limited liability company «PPL 33-35». The first step in the project was the creation of a unified information system in the ports located in Odessa region.

General principles of establishment and functioning of the «Single Window» are set out in the UNECE Recommendations №№ 33, 34, 35. They, in particular, define the basic principles for the export, import and transit clearance, detail the process of data harmonization in the implementation of the information exchange between the participants of the information system, and also recommends an analysis of preparedness of the legal system for the introduction of the «Single Window» in the country or a particular region.


As a part of the government decision on the deregulation of the control procedures in the sea ports, ship arrivals are also filled fully electronically.

— Today, in contrast to earlier times, controlling services come on board only as and when necessary – depending on the presence of risk factors. The documents, where inter alia, the ports of call are listed, come into the port in electronic format from the marine agent before the vessel’s arrival. And if, for example, health authorities see that the ship has visited the unfavorable, in sanitary-epidemiological aspects, ports, – they can not afford to start unloading and port workers to climb on board until a sanitary doctor arrives. The same applies to the customs, border guards, etc. All this has been achieved through the adoption of resolutions of the government on deregulation – and the PCS project implementation on the basis of technical tasks developed by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA), – emphasizes Alexei Orlov.


What is done in the PCS today

1.1. Electronic declaration of the cargo (freight forwarder) (duty) for the export from the ports of loaded / empty containers (inner, passing transit)

1.2. Customs permit for cargo release from the checkpoint and port territory

1.3. Reception/sending messages module to/from other information systems

1.4. Queuing system of orders (duties)

1.5. Information transmission for the stevedoring companies (port operators) about the waggons arrival at Odessa sea port

1.6. Reason noting by the approved list, in case of assignment of custom control forms for goods

1.7. Information about the receipt drawing on a single duty charging in case of goods import into Ukraine (receipt MD-1)

1.8. Preparation of application for works (scanning, inspection, weighing)

1.9. Transmission / reception of information about the results of the customs control passage

1.10. Sending / receiving data to / from «Euroterminal» LLC

1.11. The unit dispatcher -control of the movement of vehicles (vehicles’ time in port control)

1.12. An electronic badge making to enter the Odessa sea port.

1.13. Registration of a ship’s arrival in all ports of Ukraine (according to the Ministry of Finance, order №308)

1.14. Preparation of application for containers / goods coming-in into the territory of the checkpoint (export).

1.15. Pass making into the port with a bar code directly from the forwarding agent’s office

1.16. The reporting of the radiological monitoring realization

1.17. Electronic application (order) to load the goods on the vessel.

1.18. Formation of various reports


The future plans of «PPL 33-35» – the distribution of electronic document flow for all types of cargo, handled in Ukrainian ports. In immediate future – the introduction of electronic document flow in the bulk, dry bulk, liquid bulk and general (packaged pieces, not containerized) cargo. Today, the test check of the grain module for export is being done. It is one of the fastest growing cargo traffic, handling large volumes. The test check is carried out on the basis of one of the port operators in Odessa seaport.

— In addition, it is planned, before the end of the year, to introduce a system of information exchange on the ferry complex of the Chernomorsk (former Ilyichevsk) seaport, as the base quantity of ferry transportation is carried out there, – said Deputy General Director of «PPL 33-35». – And if we mention the future trends, it is necessary to talk about the need to introduce the «Single window» in all checkpoints for air, road, and rail services. By the way, in Ukraine, there are a lot of talks about this format, but not everyone understands what it really means…

Alexei Orlov, with the aid of the diagram, clearly explains, that today PCS operates within fairly small segment of the potential all-around «Single Window» information system: these are control services, terminal operators, carriers, forwarding agents, shipping agents. In the future, this format should be spilled over to the exporters and importers, banks, airlines, trucking companies, trading companies, ministries, other government bodies, etc.

— I mean our ultimate goal, is to make fully transparent and as safe as possible supply chains from the producer to the final consumer – so that at any stage it could be seen where the cargo is, its status, if there are any obstacles on its path and so on. Thus, in our society, which is still, unfortunately, hit by the virus of corruption and abuse, we are trying to do something that will bring these things to light, and also to facilitate the design, through which these mechanisms work, – says A.Orlov.

The employees recall, that at one time they used to feel considerable opposition to what they did. And surprisingly – not from the public authorities, which, according to conventional wisdom, are the most inert and least of all interested in transparency, but from certain entrepreneurs. It’s worth noting, that one of the prime targets of the PCS development was to prevent the influence of subjective factors in public authorities decision-making and containers’ stealing from the ports – using fake seals and stamps on the documents. Alexey Orlov says that only in July, the law quarrel of one of the freight forwarders against «PPL 33-35» was completed. During the lawsuit, the points of the contract (said to be made under the pressure of Ukrainian Sea Port Authority) were discussed. According to which it was determined a mechanism of charging for remote access to the information system. The courts of three instances – the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine – refused to satisfy the claim, explaining in their decisions and ordinances legitimacy of PCS implementation and operation.

Answering the question on potential competitors in the market, the company’s deputy director said that when in 2012 the Odessa seaport publicly invited those wishing to invest and develop the project, only one organization responded – «PLASKE» JSC (the founder of the company «PPL 33- 35»).

— And besides, in the time when we were developing our system and for the entire period during which we are exploiting it, none of our opponents, criticizing the very existence of the PCS, including – the payment for system using, offered their alternative service, or the initiative to invest into the project. At least – according to my information, – he says.

However, there are competitors – on the international market. «PPL 33-35» is a member of the International Port Community Systems Association, IPCSA, bringing together developers and operators of port information systems all over the world.

— One of the latest transport forums in Odessa was attended by the representatives of the Singapore company, implementing these technologies in Singapore, and company from Morocco, also IPCSA members. They appreciated the achievements of Ukraine in the sphere of the information system for the port community creation, and at the same time offered their services – in order to develop and implement here the system, similar to that which they have implemented and developed in their countries. So internationally – we are all on the same market, and I would say our situation is very competitive, – stressed Alexey Orlov.

ipsca-membersBy the way, the goal IPCSA is e-logistics development in all ports of the world, the efficiency of maritime transport, freight forwarding and logistics activities improvement. The Association encourages all users of port services to create such systems.

According to international industry experts, the implementation of a unified information system will bring Ukraine closer to the realization of EU trade development strategy, which has already adopted a program of the network national mechanisms development of the «Single window», which will exchange information on the basis of the UNECE standards and the World Customs Organization. In Ukraine itself, such a system would contribute to the harmonization of data exchange between the participants of the transport process and regulatory bodies at the level of international standards, and as a result – trade facilitation, development of a favorable legal environment in the economy, the minimization of corruption factors in the government, the reduction of participants’ expenses for cross-border movement of goods.

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