Within the freight industry, the short sea market is still at an early stage in the usage of electronic booking systems, whereas in the deep sea market most of the larger players have their own web sites and booking systems developed.
The project aimed to complete a demonstrator of a schedule display and cargo booking system for the short sea market within Europe. The system would be compatible with existing port community networks and transport company systems, and designed to enhance interaction between the main server provider and the main client.
3SNET has developed a product which can be integrated in the logistics market place as soon as short sea trade has fully incorporated new communications systems, and in particular the Internet, into commercial activities. Internet technology allows many sites to link to 3SNET and incorporate it into their own portfolio of services without the need to host and support the product themselves. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = 'urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office' />
3SNET can be used for both feeder and door-to-door operations as well as having the ability to handle intermodal connections. The system is designed to improve access to short sea shipping and intermodal services and provides a simple cost-effective booking system that is immediately available.
Benefits for the shippers include:
- ability to compare competing schedules;
- ability to make connections automatically between sea-sea or sea-intermodal services, thus extending the supply chain information available;
- zero cost at the point of delivery.
Benefits for the shipping lines include:
- a large market can potentially be reached, thus increasing awareness of short sea shipping opportunities;
- opportunities for co-operation between lines can be highlighted to exploit new routes.
The project's findings underline the need for the industry to move forward and to take full advantage of the benefits on offer. The short sea market needs a product such as 3SNET, as it is not expected that all operators, many of which are small companies, will wish to invest in their own bespoke systems.
3SNET is a generic solution that allows carriers to participate in electronic communication with their customers with minimal investment. 3SNET has the potential to assist new service providers in getting off the ground, as well as carriers in introducing new services and promoting existing ones. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = 'urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office' />
Some port community systems are expanding to incorporate greater functionality and a wider range of services that can include products such as 3SNET. Customers today are looking for single solutions to their operations, and finding all services within one area is the way to move forward.
It is anticipated that 3SNET will be available Europe-wide via the Internet, but this will not exclude access via other means such as existing port community systems. 3SNET should be the 'one stop' shopping forum for short sea movements in Europe and provide everything the customer needs to enquire and make his bookings. Its development will strongly depend on industry reaction and the take-up of Internet technology.