Dubai Ports Authority
1. In this case, information flows are important in the worldwide shipping industry. However why are they still inefficient?
Information flows were important to port operations and were used by both DPA and Customs. Customs reviewed the manifest andthe cargo clearance process could not begin until the MRN had been issued. Once the cargo arrived in port, the discharge agent would issue a delivery order to the importer who would verify identity and clear the cargo and pay duties. Customs would generate a bill of entry which the importer would then take to a DPA counter within the port. At this counter, the importer would pay DPA charges and could then take possession of the goods and remove them from the port
However, errors could affect any and all of the parties involved in porttransactions and render the system inefficient. This is precisely why the Information flows are still inefficient. The volume of papers within DPA was immense. Therewas also a lot of DPA staff dedicated to data entry and error checking. The Documentationdepartment alone required two dedicated rows of people to validate the details of the manifest. And to top it all there was a lack of common digital common information system while the customs were reluctant to work with the DPA in developing any such common system.
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2. How well positioned is DPA to lead an effort to improve information flows in the shipping industry? Why would other players in the industry be willing to go along with DPA proposals? What kinds of power and influence does DPA have over the players who need to be involved?
DPA is established as the primary destination for shipping companies in the Middle East and receives over 50% of all cargo that gets imported inthe Arabian Gulf through sea. Not only had it taken away from the neighboring ports that were even better lactated but has become the 14th -busiest port in the world because of its efficient operations and customer service, often facilitated by technology.
The new manifest system was originally designed to beproviding with standardized system available to all parties at all times.In addition, the system more efficient for shipping lines and agents.Customs had itsown ideas about how any new system should be configured and that, as the organization issuing theMRN; it “owned” the content of the manifest. It appeared that Customs was very reluctant to workwith DPA in developing any common system.
However it wasonly in their benefit to have a common system that could only be achieved by DPA. The DPA has access to technology and means of achieving the such a system and strategized vision which would help all the agents, shipping lines and customs to unite on a single more efficient platform.
3. How should DPA go about developing the MDS system? Should the system include the ability to handle uncontainerized cargo? Should it include custom's functionality?
MDS should first decide before the developing the new system how comprehensive it should be, should it accommodate both container and general cargo, how it should be deployed, and how can it be made efficient. Working on these lines the development of MDS system may carve its way to success. Regarding the inclusion of uncontainerized cargo, since the system is built as common means of making things more efficient , it should take into account all the good containerized or un containerized to facilitate the efficiency of small traders as well as large and completing the means of efficient information flow. However, including the custom's functionality depends upon the willingness of customs to use it, since they are not obligated to follow the lead of DPA in this regard.
4. What difficulties does DPA have to introduce the MDS system in the shipping industry? How should DPA go about introducing the MDS system once it is developed? Who should the initial users be?
The MDS team encountered unexpected resistance. Some of the managers did notlike the idea of a large system development and the effort the needed to be put in while they couldn't understand why there was no suitable commercial application available for purchase. Skill sets for Statistics, Operations, and Documentation were required for the projects while there was insecurity about jobs for people who lacked that set and the demand for more skilled labor exaggerating the cost and the effort.
Furthermore external parties also posed threats to the development of this ne system and its success. DPA’s business comprised most of the large shipping lines and 75% of all port transactions while they all had their own ITsystems. There arose a need to link these it systems as it was hard to persuade the lines to use the MDS and discard their old systems and certainly not including the shipping lines was out of question.
5. How important is DPA custom' participation in the initial MDS implementation?
If the system was ever to be rendered as useful to Customs, the inclusion of information about transshipment cargo was necessary, since Customs had the right to know about this cargo and inspect it while it was in Dubai. According to DPA, it was essential to include this information within MDS from the start so that the system wouldattract Customs.
6. How might Sharaf and his colleagues be able to persuade Customs to participate?
Sharaf and his colleagues told the large lines that they would not share this data with anyone in order to persuade them to participate. The shipping lines were, however,hard to be persuaded by these arguments. For smaller shipping lines it was unaffordable to invest in software while most of the information was recorded manually on papers. It was very unlikelyfor them to want to purchase a new system.However purchasing the system would make their daily operations easier and quicker and that is all they need to be made aware of the benefits they may gain over the low comparative cost. Furthermore, since the customs had their own idea about developing their own It system, incorporating their feedback and customizing the software to their demands would help persuading them into participating in the development of this new system. But they would need a lot of training and support in order to implement the new system.
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