lights

The future of integrating with Master Terminal

By Rebecca Rowley, Solutions Architect, Jade Logistics

With the constantly evolving landscape of terminal operating systems and their role within wider supply chain management, Jade Logistics has recently reviewed their API offering to ensure it continues to support easy and cost-effective integration with third party systems and excellent performance at scale.

The increase in demand for agile application development — providing applications which can be built quickly to explore new ideas, ways of working and growth opportunities — paves the way for an integration strategy that provides clear, concise APIs that require little system knowledge, have a low maintenance burden, are easily extendable and simple to interact with.

EDI continues to be a staple of the logistics industry and Master Terminal’s existing capabilities in this area are an important aspect of the TOS solution. As well as FTP drop and operator upload, the Master Terminal SOAP web service supports EDI data transfer via a SOAP interface and this existing web service will be maintained. This mechanism works well for this type of data transfer and is already a standalone web service endpoint which does not require frequent definition updates, and as such requires little support beyond the initial integration development.

An increasingly important area of data for port operators is real-time, event-driven updates. Jade Logistics will continue to use, and further enhance, the Event Stream framework for event driven data transfer direct from Master Terminal. As this data is driven from the existing SQL extract mappings, it is an ideal interface to provide information into a data warehouse for targeted, customer specific, BI analysis.

For data integration beyond the port environment and into the wider supply chain, Master Terminal integrates directly with CargoChain. This ensures information about cargo and its movements generated at the terminal is available to all supply chain participants, eliminating the need for complex point-to-point data sharing and providing one integrated view of cargo. Third-party applications can take advantage of this by using CargoChain to redefine the global information supply chain, safe in the knowledge that the relevant Master Terminal activity will be captured by CargoChain.

Master Terminal currently exposes a user interface SOAP web service, which will continue to be supported and used by both Jade Logistics applications and third parties. However, in the future new integrations will be supported by REST web services.

The Master Terminal REST API suite is designed with the single responsibility principle at its heart; specific interfaces are responsible for single functions, producing loosely-coupled modular systems with scope for extension without impacting existing services. This reduces the maintenance burden and provides an uninterrupted API service for third parties, removing barriers to upgrade.

The Master Terminal REST API suite supports both JSON and XML data output enabling easy integration. In keeping with the separation of concerns principle, only the object data relating to a specific interface is transferred. This reduces the size of data transmitted as well as providing a clear and concise interface. Where as the existing SOAP Web service data objects are tightly coupled to the Master Terminal implementation, this is decoupled in the REST APIs providing a user-friendly interface requiring less system knowledge to integrate.

At Jade Logistics, we appreciate that every port is unique, with different workflows and handling procedures. Customers with specific and unique integration requirements, for example to assist in implementing custom applications for terminal functions, will have a specific REST API developed to meet their needs. This can be used in conjunction with the Master Terminal REST APIs to provide the functional coverage required to build a bespoke application.

It is important to Jade Logistics that port operators can choose the third-party applications on the periphery of their TOS (such as an external VBS System) that work best for their business, while still being able to easily integrate these systems with Master Terminal. The Master Terminal REST API suite includes generic interfaces for commonly required functions. If additional feature support is required, an application specific interface can be developed with little overhead.

MASTER TERMINAL API OFFERING

WHY REST?

REST interfaces now represent more than 70% of public APIs. This popularity is because REST, with JSON data, is simpler to interact with and faster to integrate to. Highly extendable, flexible and fast, REST is ideal for APIs in today’s agile environment.

The size of a REST API call and data transmission is significantly smaller than a SOAP request. This improves performance and requires less bandwidth, reducing load on the system. REST calls are lightweight and simple, allowing easy, quick calls to a URL for fast return responses.

REST inherently supports a variety of data formats, but the predominant use of JSON means better support for browser clients. JSON data is easily serialized into application specific objects without the need for a full service definition and intermediary proxy classes. This greatly simplifies the development required to interact with the client interface as well as removing the need to update a previous definition when changes are made, providing backwards compatibility.

Because REST is stateless, the same request can be made multiple times with the same response. This is ideal for mobile applications, allowing the process to be retried without major interruption in case connectivity is lost, as well as supporting caching of the results.

With REST web services, the client and server are loosely coupled. This means the server (i.e. the web service provider) can extend or modify the exposed interfaces without impacting the client (i.e. the application calling the web service). This is in stark contrast with SOAP web services, where the published API (web service definition) must be kept in sync and any changes must be made by both the client and server at the same time. This is a significant barrier to continuing enhancements and agile development.

If you would like to learn more about our TOS, Master Terminal, please contact us.

 

man in vehicle at port using app

Web apps put the power of information at your fingertips

All ports face a digital transformation. It’s not a matter of if, but when. The maritime ecosystem is growing, players are changing, cargo volumes are increasing and customers are demanding better service and efficiency. The only way for ports to survive this transforming environment is to grow along with it. The greatest influencer of this transformation is technology, so it’s not surprising that the number one prediction for the shipping supply chain in 2019 is more budget allocated to IT spend, according to the Navis Business Bellwether Report[1]. Much of that budget is expected to be targeted at new technologies to improve operational performance.

Tallyman confirms stow cargo  Master Terminal Mobile Apps duotone image of a man talking into a portable radio while on a terminal.

Traditionally a conservative bunch, Port Operators can’t argue the deafening demand for improved operations. Marco Neelsen, chief executive of Malaysia’s Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) said at TOC Asia 2018: “It’s about how efficient you are, how quickly and how cost efficiently you can move the container from A to B.” [2]Ports that are brave enough to explore this digital world further, will benefit enormously, with even the smallest of steps forward.

A key part of the digital transformation driving smarter ports are mobile applications, or browser–based web apps, that complement your terminal operating system (TOS). These apps offer a user–friendly way to improve logistics management and cargo activities in real time, putting the power of information at your fingertips.

At Jade Logistics, we understand the importance of ensuring that technology is not a distraction, but a tool that allows users to be more efficient and ports to deliver better service to their customers. Our TOS, Master Terminal, is complemented by a Web Apps Suite that has been designed to make mobilizing your workforce a cost-effective solution that delivers real productivity and efficiency gains across your operation. These web apps support a ports’ deployment of TOS functionality at different levels and roles on the terminal, as well as providing choice with respect to compatible hardware devices. Automatic updates for the apps are provided in each release of Master Terminal and occur at the server level, eliminating the need for disruptive software upgrades and ensuring effortless maintenance.

Master Terminal’s comprehensive Web Apps Suite enable you to make informed business decisions using real-time data so that you can work smarter, not harder.

WEB PORTAL
Master Terminal Web Portal provides transparency of information to the wider supply chain, freeing up port staff to focus on core operational tasks. Offer your customers (including truckers, consignors, consignees, shipping companies, customs and government officials) access to selected Master Terminal functionality via a web browser. Empower your customers by providing access to real-time information about the status of their cargo and other relevant services.

VEHICLE BOOKING SYSTEM
Master Terminal’s Vehicle Booking System (VBS) allows you to easily manage the flow of vehicles throughout your gate operations. The VBS allows you to control vehicle arrival times to match your terminal’s work schedule, ensuring less downtime and congestion at the terminal gate.​ Schedule when transport operator vehicles can visit your terminal to evenly distribute the flow of vehicles throughout the hours of operation, and make better use of cargo handling machinery on the port.

VEHICLE APP
Increase driver productivity with the Master Terminal Vehicle app. Our vehicle app was designed with your drivers in mind, ensuring those at the coalface of the port are provided with real-time information that allows them to  seamlessly perform their work. Featuring an intuitive and easy to navigate interface with large buttons, the vehicle app is user-friendly and quick to learn, regardless of the user’s technical ability.

HANDHELD APPS
Extend your TOS functionality with Master Terminal’s cost-effective Handheld apps. There is an ever increasing need for real-time information and fulfilment. For terminal operators this means operating as efficiently as possible and optimizing turnaround times. Master Terminal’s suite of handheld apps allow you to make informed business decisions with accurate up-to-the-minute information, provide real-time monitoring and reporting, reduced human error, and ultimately offer better customer service.

TALLYMAN
Master Terminal Tallyman accurately captures final cargo stowage on a vessel in real time, online and offline. Working with Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) and Lift-On/Lift-Off (LOLO) planning in Jade Logistics’ Master Terminal, Tallyman operates on modern devices (optimized for screens greater than 7”) and web browsers. Even when working out of range of your terminal network (e.g. the hold of a ship), Tallyman’s offline store and forward capability ensures all data is captured and recorded. Tallyman assists in creating a more complete picture of cargo transactions, enabling ports to operate more efficiently.

Ensure you are port smart with web apps that can help you reduce delays and cost, while increasing throughput and efficiencies. A digital transformation can help you better manage your resources and ensure you remain competitive. Secure and embrace your smarter future!

If you would like to learn more about our Web Apps Suite and how Master Terminal can help you get port smart, please contact us.

 

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[1] Navis Business Bellwether Report (Download BPI Network Study). (2018, November). Retrieved February 22, 2019, from http://www.bpinetwork.org/thought-leadership/studies/69

[2] Neelsen, M. (2018, June 7). Port Strategy | Digitalisation more important than automation. Retrieved February 22, 2019, from https://www.portstrategy.com/news101/port-operations/planning-and-design/digitalisation-more-important-than-automation

Is truck congestion at your port driving everyone crazy?

For the port terminal focused on improving its competitiveness with shippers, automating vehicle appointments also offers a marketing opportunity.

Addressing this problem can become a marketing tool for the growing and ambitious port.

The transportation industry has been watching with interest, the port congestion situation along the USA’s west coast in recent months. Los Angeles and Long Beach terminal operators have been plagued with delays, causing immense frustration to their shipping customers.

According to a survey that trade magazine Journal of Commerce (JOC) released last month, 65% of 138 shippers they interviewed were considering permanently diverting cargo to ports outside the west coast area because of the delays.

Causes of the congestion are complex and interlinked, with the JOC identifying 12 major causes including cargo volume increases and labor relations issues. A significant component has also been truck queues at gates.

A survey conducted at west coast terminals showed that in October 2014 over a third of truck turns (queuing, delivering and leaving) were over two hours, double the accepted maximum for efficient delivery of cargo.

Like any infrastructure, port terminals are built to handle a level of peak congestion. Most of the time they can cope easily with volume, but at the peak things get challenging, including managing truck traffic. According to industry reports, congestion starts to emerge when a port is operating at 80% of capacity.

Truck congestion is a lever most ports can pull to reduce pressure on their infrastructure during peak times. Automation can help allocate truck visits more efficiently, improving carrier experience and also reducing local impacts like excessive noise or carbon emissions.

For the port terminal focused on improving its competitiveness with shippers, automating vehicle appointments also offers a marketing opportunity. Freight transport providers are increasingly focused on gaining market share not by cutting prices, but by delivering more value to their customers for the same cost. Ports that can reach down the supply chain and help make freight flow more efficiently between transport modes offer a real value proposition to shippers.

Read more about how your terminal can manage the flow of vehicles through your gate operations in our Vehicle Booking System fact sheet.