Transnet Port Terminals has rolled-out an Automated Service Instruction entry system which uses a portal and/or electronic data interface to all its Durban Automotive customers. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has rolled-out an Automated Service Instruction entry (SIE) system which uses a portal and/or electronic data interface to all its Durban Automotive customers, abandoning the manual processing of paperwork for the export, import and transshipment of vehicles.  

More than 100 TPT customers, supply chain partners and various other stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and beyond South Africa’s borders who utilise the Durban Car Terminal will have the ability to exchange information at an improved speed, including original equipment manufacturers, second hand car dealers and their clearing and forwarding agents. 

This follows a pilot on the portal with original equipment manufacturer Toyota South Africa Motors. 

Siyabonga Mhlaluka, TPT's general manager for sales and new business, said: “Our current Transnet 4.0 strategy places a huge emphasis on how we maximise the digital environment to make the life of the customer simpler while reducing the cost of doing business and SIE automation is another way we are attempting that.” 

He added that the benefits of the automation will reduce document processing time from 72 hours to 24 hours, making it possible for customers to continue production and shipping as close to vessel sailing times as possible – something that could not happen before. 

Another benefit is that time previously spent by customer resources manually capturing data, going in and out of offices to submit documents is now used to maximise resource capacity and enhance productivity. 

Digital always ensures the reduction in operational expenditure due to less printing and storage costs associated with paper with the benefit of electronically having access to records of all transactions, whenever required.  

SIE automation was developed by in-house resources within TPT’s Information Technology and Communications department. 

Ultimately the system will create flexibility and capacity planning in the port, and will launch fully in East London and Port Elizabeth in February next year. 

“At TPT, we've somehow figured out that innovation is not a nice term to throw around when convenient. It's becoming more and more a practice and the results – although slow to implement, because of due diligence required, are coming in,” said Mhlaluka.

TPT have previously created a web-based, General Cargo Operating System called GCOS, which enhances security of break bulk and automotive cargo, offers simple user interface and greater data integrity compared to the old manual method. 

GCOS is a commercial product that some of the West African ports are already using.  

Duma Pewa represents Corporate Affairs, Transnet Port Terminals. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Media.

BUSINESS REPORT