Portbase link with Single Window makes things easier for ports and businesses

03 November 2016
Portbase link with Single Window makes things easier for ports and businesses

ROTTERDAM, 3 November 2016 – Together with the ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Harlingen and Groningen, Portbase has successfully established a link between the Port Community System and the Single Window. This connection with the Single window of the national government, the Dutch ports are ready to face the future with a well-organised single point of entry for all shipping-related notifications.

The Single Window is an initiative of the European Union that requires each member state to designate a central point for all shipping-related notifications to Customs, National Competent Authority SafeSeaNet and Border Control. In the Netherlands, cargo information will be added to the notifications as well. Portbase ensures the connection of the Port Community System with the National Single Window in the Netherlands. In this way, all parties can continue working as they are accustomed, while – further along the logistic chain – taking maximum benefit from the re-use of data as well.

Investing in the community

To make the link with the Single Window possible, Portbase had to redesign 27 of its Port Community System services. This investment has eliminated the need for members of the community to implement major changes to their own processes and systems. They will continue to share their data via the Port Community System, just as before. On the back end, however, aspects such as message structure and format have been drastically altered in order to establish the link. Niels Postma, strategic adviser to the Amsterdam Harbour Master division: “The Port Community System's role as a ‘translation interface’ has proven extremely vital in minimising the additional burden on market parties. Shipping companies, shipbrokers and shipping agents who are Portbase customers have been spared the necessity of making changes to their systems. Thanks to the PCS, these parties need to submit their data only once.” The investment from Portbase, supported by funding from the Neutral Logistics Information Platform (NLIP) and its shareholders, will realise savings for the ports, port business community and government authorities, both in the financial sense and in terms of operational time and effort.


In establishing the link with the Single Window, Portbase worked closely with the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), Customs, Border Control and the port authorities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Groningen Seaports and Harlingen. Portbase Managing Director Iwan van der Wolf: “It's been an intensive, but crucial cooperative effort that is necessary if the Netherlands intends to remain a leading player in Europe. With this link, we are both future-proof and in compliance with European guidelines. A fantastic result.”

Herman Hanekamp, chair of the Task Force Single Window Amsterdam-Rotterdam, is enormously pleased about the progress of the project as well. “By encouraging cooperation between the ports and Portbase at an early stage, we were able to identify and address a wide range of issues – legally and with regard to policy and project planning. Within the task force composed of Harbour Masters, port authorities and Portbase itself, that ability proved highly important.”

The future

Shipping companies are currently required to submit vessel information via the Single Window. They will also be obliged to submit crew and passenger information as of 1 December. Starting in the course of 2017, cargo information will need to be provided to Customs via the Single Window as well. Efforts are currently under way to prepare the Port Community System services for this next phase.

Van der Wolf expects that data exchange between businesses and government institutions will only increase in the future. “Cooperation and sharing data with one another is an interesting proposition for all parties in the logistic chain. It allows them to speed up their own processes and, therefore, to work more efficiently. This has to be based on mutual trust: when you grant one another permission to share information, it's important to have solid agreements in place before you begin. Establishing – and enforcing – solid agreements enables more effective authorisation for data exchange. It also makes sharing data with one another more valuable to all parties in the logistic chain.”