May 20, 2014 -- (Ref: UPS1229) - Live testing of ‘Avanti’, a new on-line web based application that provides validated nautical information for port users is due to commence at a number of European ports. Following successful prototype testing at Port of Rotterdam, the ports of Göthenburg, Marseille and Luela will commence live testing in spring 2014.
Avanti has been developed by Envitia for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) in collaboration with the International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) and promises to make a major contribution to the rapidly expanding field of e-Navigation. The need for easily accessible and reliable nautical port information has never been more important as all players in the industry aim to increase efficiency, reduce costs and achieve environmental benefits.
By securely accessing their port’s information on the Avanti website, harbour masters can speedily update port information making it instantly accessible to the marine industry and port community through a website that has been developed by an internationally respected organization.
UKHO’s Publications Senior Product Manager, Christine Trickett, said “Avanti is an important research and development project for the UKHO and we are pleased to have reached the stage where we can fully test the concept with industry players”.
IHMA’s President, Captain Eric Atkinson, said “Avanti provides a professional interface for communicating information to port users and will help ship masters comply with IMO requirements for berth to berth passage planning in the interests of improved safety as well as well as increased efficiency”.
Although there has been a proliferation of port websites providing information, no two port websites present their entry information in the same way. This lack of consistent presentation makes finding port information a time consuming and expensive activity for port users and has reinforced the need for a standardized format that is now available through Avanti.
Why is nautical port information so difficult to obtain?
Why should a port’s most important customers, the cargo or ship owners, collect nautical port information themselves? Why doesn’t the port make this information easily available to customers?
This question was raised by the vice president of a major container line during the 2006 Congress of the International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA).
A port’s most economically important customers, cargo or ship owners, have traditionally collected nautical port information themselves. This is a labour intensive activity often requiring representatives from the marine industry and hydrographic offices to visit ports and terminals, or obtain information from captains’ reports after a port call. Despite these efforts information can go out of date very quickly.
At the same time, harbour masters must respond to requests for nautical port information, often about areas of frequent change, and can find it difficult to update port information quickly and consistently. As a result the various parties dealing with a single vessel may be using different information for loading, discharging, sailing and assistance with the potential to affect efficiency and safety.
Eight years on and for the first time in maritime history, the development of Avanti helps solve the nautical port information deficit by making updates to port information easy for harbour masters and accessible for port users.