Port St. Maarten Strengthening IT Security. Portbase Community System Roll-out in 2019 

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Eric Honders, Bertrand Peters, Dennis Brommert, Rob Jordan, Mark Mingo and Jair Eckmeyer.

PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Monday, May 8, Port St. Maarten Management headed by Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo, met with Portbase Rotterdam and IT Partner representatives to discuss a national port community system that involves data-sharing among stakeholders and third parties.

The overall objective is to have a complete information technology system in place at the port that allows stakeholders to access real-time information about container movements as well as contents thereby improving efficiency.  This initiative is also in line with border security and compliance with international rules and regulations.

IT Partner, an information technology firm in the Netherlands, is experts in automation systems for port and logistics industries.  The company has been in operation since 1999 and has clients that include terminal operators, logistics companies and complete ports, offering tailor-made solutions that fit customer needs.

Port St. Maarten has been working on a number of initiatives that would further improve the operational integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of port operations. The initiatives include an Enterprise Risk Assessment and Portbase Port Community System. For a number of years the port has been using the Global Logistics Service (GLS) cargo tracking software.

The aforementioned are all tied to the strategic approach initiative of the port to ensure long-term sustainability of operations that would lead to further growth in homeporting investments, and expansion to include future preclearance; and growth in cargo shipping and trans-shipment as well as cruise ship provisioning – currently at 35 per cent.

The Port’s proactive approach to implement a more disciplined risk management process in line with its corporate governance policies.Ernst & Young (EY) Advisory Services was contracted in the first quarter of 2016 to carry out the study which was submitted to management in September 2016. EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. 

Destination Sint Maarten is one of the world’s leading cruise destinations.  The cargo operations of Port St. Maarten are rapidly becoming a port of choice for regional transshipment.  Port St. Maarten comprises of 13 companies that are responsible for most of the country’s island maritime activities which can be summarized in four pillars, namely, Cruise, Cargo, Yachting and Real Estate.

Based on the identification and assessment of the Port’s key business risks and taking into account the effectiveness of management and control activities, the Port’s residual risk profile has been developed. The residual risk profile enables the Port to develop its risk response strategy, based on the organization’s risk appetite, in order to effectively manage the risk profile. EY has also carried out a risk assessment with respect to the Information Technology (IT) system of the port.

An Information Technology (IT) strategy a critical enabler of business transformation and growth allowing for advanced business services and innovation which fosters customer-led growth.  

Another very important initiative of the port is, Portbase, a Port Community System, where companies can benefit from a multitude of intelligent services for simple and efficient information exchange, both between companies and between the public and private sector.  Port St. Maarten’s priority is security first, ensuring safe, secure use of Port Community Systems.

Portbase was created by a merger between Rotterdam’s Port infolink (est. 2002) and Amsterdam’s PortNET (est. 2000). The new organisation was set up in 2009 by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Port of Amsterdam and enjoys wide support amongst the port business community including several law enforcement agencies such as Customs. 

Port St. Maarten Management representatives visited Portbase in the Netherlands mid-2016 to gather information about the system which will be implemented at the port as part of the ports enhanced security measures in 2019.

The Portbase Community system will also allow for increased efficiency where logistics and movement of containers is concerned, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the destination in the area of cargo and transshipment operations.