Levels of information and technology usage in seaports differ considerably.
We have, at one level, certain seaports where information technology is not used at all: where all things are done manually. These ports tend to end up being perceived as inefficient. Moving cargo through them involves a lot of physical paper clearance. Things tend to move slowly.
We have, at another level, certain seaports, where information technology is applied to just a few things. The people in charge of running such ports identify the most crucial aspects, and automate them, while letting the rest remain manual (thanks to, say, lack of resources).
Finally, we have certain seaports where information technology is applied in pretty much everything. These seaports tend to end up being extremely efficient. These are seaports where everything from cargo reception to cargo clearance and port security is automated. In some of these seaports, you may even find the typical porter having a ymail.com calendar application that is actually a Ymail extension he or she uses to keep track of ship arrival dates. Clients queries are answered fast, and things are done as fast as possible. Some ports are even moving towards automating certain aspects of crane operation and so on.
You need to possess certain things, in order to operate port-based businesses successfully. The port-based businesses we are making reference to here include those that are involved in clearing and forwarding, those that are involved in cargo handling, those that are involved in port catering… and so on.
The first thing you need to possess in order to operate port-based business successfully, is an adequate amount of capital. Most port-based business are capital intensive, and you won’t be allowed to operate them if you can’t demonstrate the ability to fund your operations comfortably.
The second thing you need to possess, in order to operate port-based businesses successfully, is good connections. The truth of the matter, as we have asserted severally in earlier posts, is that ports are sensitive installations, often managed by cartels connected to the powers that be. In most places, you need connections to the people in those cartels, if you are to operate businesses in the ports.
The third thing you need to possess, in order to operate port-based businesses successfully, is the right level of expertise. If, for instance, you lack the right level of expertise, and you are allowed to operate a cargo handling business, you could end up damaging or even losing clients’ goods, leading to major legal problems.