How the Social Responsibilities of Ship Management Business Managers Changed over the Years
The newly emerging container ports and terminals were ideal for the development of inventory and logistics control type computer systems and those systems have been continually updated as the container trade became more sophisticated and as the capability of computer systems advanced. Thus container shipping was one of the early industries to become heavily reliant on operational computer systems.
However, it is one thing being able to access all the information in your computer systems on your own premises, but the true benefits from technology are only really experienced to the full when you have the ability to communicate this information wherever and whenever it is needed.
State-of-the-art communications are fast becoming a necessity in today’s international freighting and transport industries. Sophisticated logistics chains, offering a fast and flexible response to customer demands, require an accurate flow of information for tracking, planning, and control.
An efficient, streamlined system such as this is essential in order to meet the demands of the "just-in-time" concepts developed by the manufacturing industry whereby every stage of the process is timed to perfection. Everything required, no more no less, is in the right place at the right time, thereby saving huge amounts of time and money associated with stock inventories. Fast and efficient planning, storage and tracking of cargo are the freighting and transport industry’s response to manufacturers’ needs. (Lakshmanan, 2001)
EDI standards were closely monitored by the industry and a message development group was set up early in the life of the EDI Association to consider new Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transportation – or trade (EDIFACT) standards for the shipping industry.
In the deep-sea trade, a single container vessel can currently carry in excess of 4,000 containers. Typically, for example, a vessel will load containers at four or five ports in Europe for discharge at any of six or more ports in the Far East and it will additionally discharge and load containers at two further ports on the way. It is, therefore, a complicated exercise to keep control of the stowage plan such that all loading ports can add their cargo to the ship efficiently and with the minimum movement of the containers already on board. Additionally, the ports where cargo is to be unloaded are required to be able to access their containers easily and without having to move other containers in the process. (Shipley, 2003)
A stowage plan of a container vessel is called a bayplan. A bayplan, in paper form, is a series of diagrams consisting of each cross-section of the ship or a list of each possible location on the ship and its contents. In EDIFACT terms, a bayplan is a UNSM called BAPLIE, which consists of a header section with information identifying the vessel and then a group of segments which is repeated for each container on board and containing relevant information about the container including its position on the ship, its loading and destination ports, the nature of the goods carried and the conditions under which it should be stowed on board. .  .