The Port of Halifax in Canada has introduced a vessel forecast summary (VFS) application that will offer additional visibility on expected container vessel arrival times.

Using the new VFS app, cargo owners and port service providers can receive information with the accurate arrival time of container vessel at the Port of Halifax.

Halifax Port Authority president and CEO Karen Oldfield said: “As a digitally focused port, the ability for port service providers and importers to have an accurate forecast will build on Halifax’s reputation as a consistent and reliable gateway.

“Knowing exactly when a cargo vessel is due in port is the basis for other supply chain decisions, so we see this tool as an important element in a shipper’s choice of port.”

Powered by Denmark-based vessel forecasting solution provider eeSea, the application covers all container vessels serving the Port of Halifax.

The app displays a vessel’s pro forma arrival date, an eeSea-estimated arrival date, and any difference between the two, which is listed in hours and minutes.

The app will allow users to track an inbound vessel up to 30 days prior to scheduled arrival at the port.

Halterm Container Terminal CEO and managing director Kim Holtermand said: “There are many factors affecting vessel arrival at berth when compared to weekly pro forma schedules.

“As terminal operator, reducing the number of information sources that need to be checked and receiving reliable vessel forecasts will allow us to better schedule labour with our ocean carriers and to optimise our container yard planning and discharge operations while maximising terminal efficiency.”

“The app displays a pro forma arrival date, an eeSea-estimated arrival date, and any difference between the two.”

Port of Halifax noted that the VFS application will be improved in the coming months to include non-container arrivals, as well as departures at the port.

Recently, the Government of Canada allocated approximately C$47m ($37.78m) to be invested in two projects aimed at expanding the capacity of the Port of Halifax.

The Port of Halifax is Canada’s Ultra Atlantic Gateway and links to over 150 countries, which helps it generate C$2bn in economic benefits for the country each year.