Varna, Bulgaria (PortSEurope) September 14, 2020 – The state-owned Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Company (BPI Co.) has become the newest member of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA). BPI Co. is Bulgaria’s national ports authority and responsible for the development and modernisation of Bulgaria’s ports, including the Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas, and the Danube river ports of Lom, Vidin and Ruse. All
these ports are made up of numerous public and privately-owned terminals. Work is already underway to implement a Port Community System (PCS) at Varna and Burgas ports, which handle some 35 million tonnes of cargo annually. In April this year, BPI Co. awarded a €4.56 million contract to the DBA Group SpA subsidiary ACTUAL IT, to develop and supply the PCS. The schedule allows for the new PCS to be fully operational by 2022, according to the BPI Co. director general Anguel Zaburtov. “In addition to its regular activities such as construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of the port infrastructure, wave protection and shore-strengthening facilities, BPI Co. is also responsible for ensuring navigational safety at the ports through traffic control and information support,” he said. “BPI Co. has made serious progress in the digitalisation of information and the implementation of digital systems for shipping traffic management and information services”. This effort has included the development of the harmonised and technology-neutral European Maritime Single Window (MSW) environment. The Bulgarian MSW was developed by BPI Co. in 2010, well ahead of many other EU nations. In 2015, a new MSW software platform was implemented, fully complying with EU requirements. BPI Co. is also exploring opportunities to implement a PCS for its Danube river ports and to enhance their potential in becoming attractive transhipment hubs. UK-headquartered IPCSA is the successor to the European Port Community Systems Association (ECPSA) which was launched in June 2011 by six founding members, all European-based Port Community System operators. IPCSA and its members play a vital role in global trade facilitation; the electronic communications platforms provided by Port Community Systems ensure smooth transport and logistics operations at hundreds of seaports, airports and inland ports. EPCSA was originally formed in June 2011 by SOGET, Le Havre, France; MCP, Felixstowe, UK; Portic, Barcelona; Portbase, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Netherlands, dbh, Bremen and DAKOSY, Germany. The reason for forming EPCSA was that Port Community System Operators (PCSOs) didn’t have a common lobby position at the European Union (EU). The European Commission (EC) was, and still is, developing a number of initiatives and directives such as e-customs, e-freight and e-maritime and the leading PCSOs agreed that they needed to work together in areas of common interest. In September 2014 the association changed from a European to an International association to better reflect its growing membership which already included members from Ukraine, Israel and Australia. PCS development is important for the progress of the Bulgarian ports said Zabourtov. “It will provide an effective exchange of information and reduce the administrative burden. Implementation will facilitate the electronic information exchange in ports, saving time and money”. The commissioning of the PCS will improve the competitive position of the Bulgarian sea ports and the efficiency of port activities, acting as a neutral and open electronic platform that enables an intelligent and secure exchange of information between stakeholders from the public and private sectors. “This is another step forward in our efforts to make the seaports of Varna and Burgas attractive enough to become ‘gateways’ connecting the Black sea to the Caspian Sea and the Far East and so to develop as multimodal hubs for goods on the Silk Road.” “One Belt, One Road” – a simplified version of the Silk Road and 21st Century New Maritime Silk Road – concerns the China-led infrastructural investment project which aims to symbolically revive the corridor that united the East and the West. This initiative covers more than 60 countries and regions from Asia, through Eastern Europe and the Middle East to Africa. Richard Morton, secretary general of IPCSA, said: “We now have a strong representation on the Black Sea, including the Port of Constanta Administration, Romania, which joined IPCSA earlier this year, and our longstanding member PPL 33-35 of Odessa, Ukraine”. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.