Global shipping software solutions provider, Softship, has launched an innovative, web-based Port Cost Calculator for carriers to maintain up-to-the-minute, fully accurate records and full visibility of expenses at all stages of each individual port call.
Thomas Wolff, Softship’s managing director, explained: “Vessels will call at many ports across the world and each port call requires a significant number of services to be provided by a large range of service providers. Multiply this by the number of vessels in an average fleet and the process quickly becomes unwieldly and error-prone. Port calls are expensive and a carrier needs to know, in advance, the anticipated cost of a call so that the overall voyage result can be accurately predicted. Carriers must also be confident that the costs they incur in port are legitimate and accurate and can be reconciled against services actually delivered for the pre-agreed tariff. Our new web-based tool – which slots seamlessly into a carrier’s own internal IT environment – streamlines this time-consuming process and injects a much higher level of confidence and accuracy into the overall port cost calculations.”
A vessel’s expected port activities are pre-loaded into the Softship Port Cost Calculator from the original port call templates and unforeseen or real-time adjustments can be taken direct from vessel reports. Based on this, the Calculator will present a list of all expected charges and costs. These are then automatically applied to the overall voyage result giving the carrier full visibility over the financial performance of each voyage.
As the port call progresses, vendor invoices are automatically reconciled and approved for payment which reduces staff time and errors. Discrepancies are identified and rapidly resolved.
The Calculator integrates seamlessly within a carrier’s existing IT systems using the Softship WebAPI (web application programming interface) and data is exchanged by standard JSON or XML files. The use of these “web services” also facilitates easy data exchange within a carrier’s own company and between external business partners.