Tracking Containers

Ports deploying LDB services to effectively track container movement

The Logistics Data Bank (LDB), introduced in 2015 as a single-window visibility mechanism to track the movement of containers, has taken major strides since. The service was launched as a pilot project at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in July 2016 and now covers 22 terminals spread across the western, southern and eastern corridors apart from 131 inland container depots (ICDs), container freight stations (CFSs) and 42 toll plazas and has tracked more than 19 million containers so far. Traffic at the LDB portal increased significantly between November 2017 and January 2019. The data bank is helping India in reducing its logistics cost as well as improving efficiency in operations and cargo handling through providing accurate, comprehensive data on container movement in the country.

 Background

The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation [DMICDC] Logistics Data Services (DLDS) was incorporated in December 2015 for the execution of the LDB project in the country. The DLDS is a joint venture between the Government of India (represented by the National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust) and Japan-based NEC Corporation, with 50:50 equity participation.

The DLDS was formed with the objective of effectively leveraging information and communication technology across the Indian logistics sector, inculcating best practices across the various processes and working towards bringing in efficiency in the supply chain. It aims at increasing visibility and transparency in the logistics environment, streamlining operations across the supply chain and help in the government’s plan of improving the ease of doing business.

The LDB system is an overarching solution that integrates the information available with various agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed real-time information in a single window. It changes simple vertical data into horizontal valuable information of the supply chain. The LDB is an internet of things, big data and cloud-based solution implemented by the DLDS. It uses radio frequency identification technology to provide near-real-time visibility of container movement in the western corridor through the www.ldb.co.in portal. The LDB provides users a single-window interface to check the location of a container along its entire journey, from ports to ICDs and CFSs, with complete information on intermediate points crossed and the time taken for the same. The web-based interface enables search from any location and any device, and sends SMS/email alerts to track priority containers and inform users of any delay.

Progress so far

Since its launch, the LDB has made significant progress. It was first launched at the four container terminals of the country’s premier container handling port, JNPT, in 2016 on a pilot basis. Following its success, in May 2017, the DLDS launched LDB services across the port terminals of Mundra and Hazira. The container terminals covered are the Mundra International Container Terminal, the Adani Mundra Container Terminal (container terminal [CT]-2, the Adani International Container Terminal (CT-3), the Adani CMA Mundra Terminal (CT-4) and Adani Hazira Port Private Limited.

After the successful implementation of the LDB at the western terminals, the service was expanded to three ports in the southern corridor – Krishnapatnam, Kattupalli and Ennore – as well as JNPT’s newly inaugurated terminal, Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal Private Limited, in January 2018. In October 2018, the DLDS implemented its digital container tracking solution at Cochin port.

The service was subsequently launched at the ports of Krishnapatnam and Visakhapatnam (November 1, 2018), Cochin (November 16, 2018), New Mangalore (November 21, 2018), V.O. Chidambaranar (VOC) (November 22, 2018), Kattupalli (November 28, 2018), the Haldia Dock Complex (November 30, 2018) and the Kolkata Dock System (December 1, 2018). As of October 2019, the LDB service has been launched at 11 port terminals on the western corridor, eight terminals on the southern corridor and three terminals on the eastern corridor.

The acceptability of the LDB service among importers, exporters and other logistics stakeholders is increasing slowly but steadily. Traffic at the LDB portal and mobile application increased from 39,140 users in November 2017 to 419,753 users in January 2019, registering an increase of more than 972 per cent.

In sum

LDB services were launched to promote ease of doing business at Indian ports. The flagship programme of the central government, Sagarmala also has modernisation and mechanisation as its core components to improve ease of doing business. The project is contributing significantly to improve India’s ranking in the world.

As per the 2019 World Bank report on ease of doing business, India has taken a huge leap of 23 ranks from being 100th in 2017-18 to 77th in 2018-19. The service, if implemented diligently and with utmost seriousness, can provide full information on export-import containers passing through the country, thus helping policymakers take the right decisions to bring down the transaction costs, and improve operational efficiency to match the global standards. w

Garima Arora (with inputs from Surajit Sarkar, Chief Operating Officer, DLDS)

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