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Port of Brisbane becomes wired. (Sea Freight And Containers).

Port of Brisbane Corporation has dubbed itself "Smart Port" with the introduction of an integrated IT service designed to increase revenue and build on customer loyalty relationships.

The service, PortNet, was officially launched in March, but has been running for about a year including trials, according to the port's chief executive officer Jeff Coleman.

About 17 organisations are using the facility, from multi-national companies to local schools. Coleman says there was a real need to provide a service, as much of the port land was not covered by major telecommunications carriers, in terms of offering fibre.

PortNet has removed the need to deal with separate carriers and internet service providers, offering high speed broadband internet direct to the customer through either a 100Mb fibre optic cable or point to point secure wireless connectivity.

There are about 50 companies located in the port precinct that will potentially take the service up.

Develop relationships

As well as helping their business, Coleman says PortNet allows companies to develop their relationship with the port.

"It's another way to relate to the customers and keep them working with us," he says.

He adds the service is unique to Brisbane, and was developed by leveraging off skills accumulated over the last five years with the Port of Brisbane's own IT system. PortNet was a good revenue earner for the port, but should not be viewed as a side business to the port's essential activity.

Instead, Coleman describes the new service as a result of the port's core business to continually strive for efficiency.

"PortNet is part of the Corporation's strategy to look beyond traditional port management activities in response to the rapidly increasing communications requirements of managing a modern, global port," Coleman says.

More efficient

In the same way that the Corporation has made use of IT to improve, it is hoped that PortNet will encourage the wider port community to leave behind time consuming paper systems, and use technology more efficiently.

Port of Brisbane Corporation's manager of information technology Tony Marles says the network, consisting of wireless and fibre, can go up to about 10km from Fisherman Islands.

The fibre optic cable, which was installed by the Corporation, links to the main internet backbone running to all Australian capital cities.

This allows those using PortNet to connect to the internet and other branch offices via a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). As demand increases, so too could capacity.

The ultimate vision was to create a portal for the Brisbane port community to service port clients, their supply chains and the sea freight industry.
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Title Annotation:integrated IT service
Publication:Business Asia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:May 1, 2003
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