The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) started out in 2011 as a small European association (EPCSA) but developed rapidly in terms of membership numbers, status, reputation, and international influence
“. I would look forward to visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the situation allows!”
By: Magdy Sadek
“Saudi Magazine ” Leaders
Richard Morton has been Secretary-General of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) since its beginnings as a European organization in 2011.
As an expert in trade facilitation and the exchange of electronic information, Richard is in demand across the globe as an adviser and speaker. He is a member of the Experts Committee of the APEC E-Commerce Business Alliance and an Expert at UN/CEFACT.
In Exclusive an interview with Arabian media, he expressed his desire to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the situation allows stressing the role of the Kingdom in the Middle East area
Morton in his interview shines a spotlight on IPCSA saying: The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) started out in 2011 as a small European association (EPCSA) but developed rapidly in terms of membership numbers, status, reputation, and international influence. In 2014, we officially relaunched as an international association.
Now IPCSA has nearly 50 members, including Port Community System (PCS) and Cargo Community System (CCS) operators, Single Window operators, and seaport and airport authorities, drawn from all regions of the world.
Many questions mark revolved around that interview!
How did you get into maritime transport? How did your career path lead to this position?
My first introduction to the world of transport and logistics was as a student when I got a job working in a warehouse. I enjoyed the challenges and the idea of being involved in global supply chains that met the day-to-day needs of everyone.
After university, I worked for a freight forwarding company in the UK. From there, I took up a position as a projects manager with the Haven Gateway
Partnership, a public/private sector organization representing the maritime sector in a region in the East of England.
At the Haven Gateway Partnership, I became involved in a number of high-profile European Union projects – during one of these, I first came up against the exchange of data. From there, six mature Port Community Systems (PCS) in Europe decided they needed to form an association. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and honoured to take on the role of Secretary-General. Everything progressed from there.
2: Can you brief us about your association, IPCSA? What are its main characteristics and challenges?
The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) started out in 2011 as a small European association (EPCSA) but developed rapidly in terms of membership numbers, status, reputation, and international influence. In 2014, we officially relaunched as an international association.
Now IPCSA has nearly 50 members, including Port Community System (PCS) and Cargo Community System (CCS) operators, Single Window operators, and seaport and airport authorities, drawn from all regions of the world
Our members are keen to share their experience and knowledge – indeed, due to our openness and friendliness, we are proud to call ourselves the ‘IPCSA family’. Our members play a critical role as neutral, trusted third parties, providing the electronic platforms to enable the secure and efficient flow of information that is so important for today’s fast-moving, cost-effective supply chains.
IPCSA is today a recognized NGO with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization and UN ECOSOC and we also work closely with UN/CEFACT, the World Customs Organization, the ISO, and several other international bodies.
How do you see the state of the world’s ports in light of pandemics, and what is your vision for ports and global maritime traffic?
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly raised the profile of the shipping, ports, and maritime sector; people who never gave us thought before now understand only too well how dependent we all are on shipping for our day-to-day needs. The past year has not only made clear the importance of global supply chains but also shown its incredible resilience.
Despite all the challenges of lockdowns and social distancing requirements, ports and shipping have continued to deliver what’s needed all over the world. The pandemic has also highlighted that we all have to work together and we have to share information in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and move forward as one rather than as individuals – while making sure this doesn’t impact commercial competitiveness. At the same time, we have seen an increased focus on digitalization in order to reduce the need for paper documents.
How do you see what is happening in the ports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their 2030 vision?
As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia works to reduce its dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism, what’s clear is that shipping, ports, and supply chain logistics operators will have a vital role to play in realizing these ambitions.
As with many countries around the world, KSA has embraced the need for technology in the future. The pandemic has shown the value of being able to create smarter supply chains and how important seaports, airports, and electronic data exchange is within that.
Have you visited the Kingdom before?
As yet I have not had the opportunity to visit – but I have been in the region and had discussions with representatives of the Kingdom, as well as attending meetings in the wider region. I would look forward to visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the situation allows!
What can you offer to Saudi Arabia through your association?
IPCSA provides a network for sharing knowledge and experience about the development of global hubs for the exchange of data to make supply chains more efficient. We previously had the pleasure of welcoming a KSA member into IPCSA – and we would welcome seaports, airports, Port Community Systems, Cargo Community Systems, Single Windows, and Port Authorities wishing to join our community as members.