26 March 2014

Just three years after EPCSA was launched by six founding members, the association has welcomed its 20th member, Portugal’s Sines Port Authority.

Sines, which has seen steady and significant growth of container volumes over the past ten years, has also set the pace in the development of its own Port Community System, Janela Única Portuária (Port Single Window – JUP).

“The port only started handling containers in 2004 and this year’s throughput will be about 1.2 million teu,” said José Simao, IT Director at Sines Port Authority. “We have been increasing at a rate of 12% a year; this year we are investing in a new expansion to provide another 300 metres of container quay, as we expect volumes to continue increasing by 10-12% in the coming years.”

Sines’ container volumes comprise 65% transhipment and 35% domestic. The port’s strategic location close to the Strait of Gibraltar and north-south Atlantic routes is a real advantage. “A lot of shipping routes are interacting here and transhipment is increasing.”

What makes Sines really remarkable is its rail performance – 90% of containers moving between the port and the centre of Portugal or Spain go by rail. “After developing JUP for ship and cargo unloading, etc., we worked with the rail operators to provided connectivity to the PCS,” said José Simao. “We are now working on a seamless PCS connection to other dryports in the country.”

The attraction of joining EPCSA is clear to Sines Port Authority. “It is very important for us,” he said. “We want to know the latest developments in this area, share our experience and make improvements to our PCS to turn it into a real state-of-the-art system. The EC isn’t always good at understanding the issues. We want to participate and help Europe get things right!”

Richard Morton, Secretary General of EPCSA, said: “EPCSA is growing rapidly – we were delighted to confirm our 20th member. Our voice is being heard at national, European and international levels, with policymakers actively seeking out our views on industry issues. We are also proud to be organising our fourth major conference since our launch three years ago.”