Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the flagship port of International Container Terminal Services Inc., said digital technology has insulated their operations from disruptions during the pandemic and vowed to connect the terminal to other future IoT (Internet of the future) devices.
Reynaldo Mark Cruz Jr., MICT Information Technology System and Services Director, told the German Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines of the company’s plans to implement technology-driven solutions to sustain growth.
“This is really looking at the future and setting up the stage for all the other future IoT devices that will come out. So potentially, we are looking at, you know remote drone inspection, reefer monitoring, even goggles for engineers and all those things,” said Cruz.
Cruz noted that while the recent pandemic was a big detrimental experience for a lot of companies worldwide, MICT was not impacted.
“Different parts in the world experience congestion and fortunately for MICT, I’m happy to say that we were not impacted at least on the pandemic level, we did not cease operations for a single day and we continue going to work and serving all the truckers and the brokers day in day out during the whole pandemic,” he said.
Cruz said MICT has leveraged technology and removed the need for anyone to still go to the terminal. It’s solutions include eliminating face to face transactions, which they implemented in the billing area which has the largest foot traffic at the MICT.
Since 2017, MICT already had its online payment portal, but the user adoption was really very slow of around 30 percent despite the availability of the system. But when the government imposed the lockdown, customers have no choice but to use its online billing process because “everything was ready on the on the IT side and we had the app, the link system already in place, which was also connected to four different tabs.”
They also came up with online portal enabling brokers and customers to witness the examination of cargoes remotely without the need to come to the terminal.
“We did not stop any activities on the billing side and people were still able to process and pay,” he added.
Now, Cruz said, they are waiting for a go signal from the Department of Agriculture to allow brokers for agri products to witness examination without going to the terminal anymore.
For other stakeholders, like trucks and the truck drivers who really need to come to the terminal, MICT has also its automated gate systems that make use of the Optical Character Recognition and the license plate recognition technology. This means that
whenever a truck loaded with a container passes through the portal coming to the terminal to pick up cargoes.
They have also installed RFID sensors all around the port also to help identify the trucks that are coming in.
Late last year, MICT has established a strategic partnership with Smart to cover the entire terminal with the 5g network coverage.
Cruz said that one future innovations in MICT to further cut footprint in the port is TABS Manifesting which would capture container data and plate number during booking under its automated gates systems. This would eliminate the need for the drivers to input anything at the kiosks upon arrival.
The other is Driver Messaging which would eliminate congregation of drivers around the Bureau of Customs X-Ray office to wait for results.
Cruz said a new MICT app will be rolled out later this year with added features such as GPS.
By making use of the GPS functionality of the devices, the terminal will be able to at least estimate if the arrival of the truck will be delayed, thus enabling the driver to adjust the booking to avoid penalties.
Cruz said MICT will take advantage of the GPS towards an eventual gate less inbound setup for MICT through the use geo fencing for gating in trucks. (Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat)
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