Ports & Terminals

Greater Houston Port Bureau, PortXchange Partner For Digitalization Project

The Greater Houston Port Bureau (GHPB) and PortXchange Products B.V., a Netherlands-based digital solutions provider for shipping, announced a five-year partnership September 15 for the adoption and further development of a collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform.

In June 2020, PortXchange and GHPB announced the first U.S. trial in Houston of its proprietary PortXchange system, and more than 20 maritime companies involved in the Texas integrated chemical cluster participated. The trial was subsequently expanded to include the Port of Houston Authority (Port Houston), which has two separate terminals dedicated to the handling of cargo containers.

The shipping industry is coming under increased scrutiny to implement digitalization to improve port turnaround efficiencies, reduce overall expenses and mitigate climate impact, PortXchange Products B.V. said in a news release.

The agreement between PortXchange and the GHPB is a five-year reseller partnership and comes after a 12-month trial period. PortXchange will fully integrate GHPB’s current HarborLights Vessel Tracking System into the PortXchange platform, providing real-time vessel scheduling information sourced directly from the Houston pilots. PortXchange will also continue to build several features with functionality to fit the specific needs of the Houston port community, maintain the digital infrastructure, onboard new users and facilitate APIs, the company said. Most of these new products and services will be provided through GHPB, which will act as the voice of the port community.

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Founded in 1929, GHPB is a member driven, non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting commerce and cooperation in the maritime industry. GHPB operates the Maritime Exchange of Texas, maintaining vessel movement data for the deep-draft ports of Texas.

“This five-year engagement is a result of the perseverance and commitment of a large group of like-minded participants keen to decrease port turnaround time and increase efficiency of port calls,” Sjoerd de Jager, PortXchange’s managing director, said. “Foremost is the Port Bureau, which embraced the idea that digitalization and scheduling transparency is the future of any port, and we look forward to extending our collaboration in the Houston port community.”

Capt. Bill Diehl, USCG (Ret.), president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, said, “Digitization and data are key for the port of Houston region to increase predictability, improve efficiency and remain globally competitive. We often refer to our Port Bureau members as competitive partners because they work together to solve problems that affect the entire port, not just their own businesses. By partnering with PortXchange to offer data sharing platforms tailored to the unique needs of the port of Houston region, we are giving our industry members another tool for collaboration.”