Case Study – Atlantic Pilotage Authority
The Atlantic Pilotage Authority (APA), established in 1972, is responsible for instituting, operating, maintaining, and administering efficient pilotage service within the designated waters of the Atlantic region. These waters span from east of Restigouche Harbour to the Bay of Exploits, and south of St. John’s Harbour to the Port of Halifax. Marine pilotage involves directing and controlling the movement of vessels through near-shore and inshore waters, and providing navigation advice to ship masters. Pilots are expected to use knowledge of local geography, climate, and traffic patterns with operational information for safe passages. The Atlantic Pilotage Authority responds to the initiatives of the Minister of Transport. Its mandate is to establish, operate, maintain and administer, in the interest of safety, an efficient Pilotage service within the designated waters of the Atlantic region.
The Atlantic Pilotage Authority could not find an application that could help them in managing pilots and assignments, and enlisted the services of Nicom Maritime to work with them to develop a custom solution. Prior to Nicom Maritime’s involvement, the dispatching of pilots was being performed by a variety of different organizations depending on the location of the port. At the time, there was only one computer in the APA office used for the financial system, and assorted personal computers for stand-alone productivity applications. The APA recognized the need to merge the dispatching operation by using a single organization, located centrally, in order to improve efficiency and dependability. This process involved implementing a wide range of different systems and technologies, and created the need for a computerized system to help with the dispatch operation. The APA realized it was essential to upgrade its IT infrastructure.
- Custom Software, Dispatching and Billing System (DABS)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Systems Applications Products
- Software Procurement
- Web Design
With the many requirements unique to pilot dispatching and invoicing, the Atlantic Pilotage Authority benefited greatly from having these addressed through a custom developed application. The solution includes several web-based portals for pilots, agents and guests. The new system has proven to be a valuable tool for APA dispatchers, management and pilots, alike. The system manages the dispatching of pilots to inbound and outbound seafaring vessels all over Atlantic Canada. This is a daunting task for even the strictest disciplines, but DABS and DABSII have allowed the APA to not only keep pace with an ever-growing number of pilotage assignments, but also to better manage their resources and expenditures by streamlining the dispatching process. For example, through the web, dispatchers can see which ships are currently in the harbour and which are scheduled for arrival or departure. They also have live marine and land-based weather forecasts at their fingertips from Environment Canada. Agents can easily make a request for a pilot through a web page and the request is immediately entered into the APA dispatching system via the Internet. The pilots are able to view upcoming assignments, their rotating duty roster, and any special notes they require for their assignments. Pilots can then enter the particulars of a completed assignment through an online interface. The APA can bill for pilotage services based on tariffs established by Transport Canada.