Port-Centric Logistics (PCL) is a newly developed concept wherein the logistics and distribution services are located at the port. This is being seen as an alternative to inland logistic channels comprising distribution centres.
The integration of the supply chain has resulted in more optimised systems. The ports are no more just the receiving points. They serve as the hubs for storing goods that are being delivered to different parts of a country.
Shifting future of logistics operations
Traditionally, the hub-and-spoke model was successful as the logistic networks were not very complex and less congested. The goods were received at the port and transported to the distribution centre and further delivered to the customer. This resulted in inefficient transportation networks that consumed unnecessary time and cost. Through a Port-Centric Logistics model, the goods can be delivered directly from the port warehouses to the customers.
The logistics have become more complex with the increasing demand for on-time delivery. All the goods and services are treated as fast-moving products as the urgency has become a norm. This is leading to the need for a Port-Centric Logistics system where ports can serve as the points of storage and not just the points of delivery. Global businesses that need to fulfil just-in-time demands can shorten the long lead-times significantly. Storing domestically consumed goods duty-free at ports can save costs. The transportation costs can also be saved through port-centric logistic setups as the goods do not need to be carried to the inland distribution hubs.
In some cases, the port authorities handle the warehousing and logistics which means the availability of land and labour is not the concern of the businesses. The resource management becomes easier and cost-efficient. The logistic areas are near to the terminals, the trucks do not have to cross the city roads that helps in avoiding traffic and saves time. The containers that carry the goods from ports to distribution centres can be emptied and brought back in lesser time in case of port-centric logistics. Thus reducing the reloading time resulting in a streamlined supply chain. Port-centric logistics also reduces the number of handling stages in a distribution channel which in-turn reduces the chances of mishandling of products.
Due to shifting consumer trends and need to be ready for uncertain times like Covid-19, businesses are trying to develop more resilient supply chains. This process includes a number of techniques like dual sourcing, development of regional supply chains and near-shoring. All this is being done to optimise the ‘last mile delivery’. Popularity of Port-Centric Logistics can be attributed to the near-shoring and regional supply chains.
Lastly, the Port-Centric Logistics is also helping in lowering the harmful impact on the environment that is being created in the transportation of goods. When every business is trying to embrace net zero carbon emission practices, reducing unnecessary freight miles helps in achieving the same. The future of logistics welcomes new approaches towards such supply chain solutions that are smart and efficient.