World’s Ports get a step-by-step guide to implementing Port Community Systems

World Bank report launched at IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference

Djibouti Port Community Systems host a stakeholder meeting at their headquarters

World Bank report launched at IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference to provide practical guidance on successfully establishing, operating, and integrating PCS’ into existing port ecosystems

IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference, Abu Dhabi, 1 November

Following 24 months of effort from 88 contributors, the World Bank and IAPH has released the #IAPH2023 conference edition of Port Community Systems – Lessons from Global Experience. The edition offers port communities a step-by-step guide to implementing a PCS and explains its advantages for developing countries.

The report is a direct action following on from last year’s World Bank IAPH summary report “Closing the Gaps – key actions in digitalization, decarbonization and resilience the maritime sector”, and is aimed precisely at reducing the digital divide, with practical advice combined with concrete case studies of implementation in a diverse range of countries.

The publication describes how Port Community Systems have improved port operations around the world, from both high and low-adoption rate regions. It provides insights for policymakers, port authorities, and logistics providers on how to enhance PCS adoption and leverage its benefits. The study also clearly identifies where the gaps are in adoption, by examining PCS implementation in over 897 ports based on UNCTAD’s top ports listed in the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (2022:Q4) covering 201 countries and territories.

Speaking at the IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference plenary on day two on data collaboration maritime supply chains, Sebastien Dessus , who is Manager of the Global Trade and Regional Integration Unit of the World Bank, commented : “Over 90 percent of the ports in low- and middle-income countries have not yet implemented these PCS platforms. While it is noteworthy that 32 low- and middle-income countries have initiated projects or are in various stages of implementing PCS covering 93 ports, less than 10 percent of ports in low- and middle-income countries use Port Community Systems, compared with 80 percent in high-income nations.”

Ports with the highest scores on the recently-updated World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index—an important competitiveness indicator —have all adopted PCS, while most of the laggards have not.

The ultimate manual for ports, private enterprises and governments to demystify PCS and implement it

The study’s thematic chapters explore the concept, evolution, and impact of PCS in modern global trade and looks at the strategies and best practices for implementing a PCS. It also examines the financial, governance, and legal aspects of their deployment as well as change management and the human aspect in implementing a PCS, all of which ultimately impact how successful deployment is in practice.

The report also demystifies the overlap between a PCS, a Maritime Single Window, and Trade Single Window systems. All these systems aim at facilitating the exchange of information and data between various stakeholders involved in maritime trade and logistics. The challenge lies in achieving interoperability and standardisation between these systems. The publication points at the best ways of enabling seamless data exchange and improve efficiency and sustainability in global supply chains.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven concludes : “By integrating a PCS into the existing digital port infrastructure, port stakeholders can achieve more efficient and secure communication, enhance cargo visibility, and reduce the time and costs associated with manual paper-based processes, especially vessel time at berth. Additionally, a PCS can help governments streamline customs and border procedures, and contribute to national trade facilitation programs. Achieving these proven benefits by using lessons from global experience is the aim of this publication, whether you are a small island developing state or industrialised country.”

Link to World Bank publication homepage :

Executive summary download :

Introductory movie :

Contacts :

World Bank Communications Consultant : Chris L. Wellis,

IAPH Communications Director : Victor Shieh,

About IAPH

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has developed into a global alliance of 180 port authorities as well as 148 port-related businesses. Comprised of 84 different nationalities across the world’s continents, member ports handle approximately one third of the world’s sea-borne trade and well over 60% of the world container traffic. IAPH leads global port industry initiatives on decarbonization and energy transition, risk and resilience management, and accelerating digitalization in the maritime transport chain. The IAPH’s World Ports Sustainability Program has grown into the reference database of best practices of ports applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals and integrating them into their businesses –

Case Studies analysed in practice in the publication




4.Democratic Republic of Congo





9.South Korea

10.New Caledonia