The biggest change since Brexit. That is what Portbase calls the introduction of the Secure Chain, as it impacts shipping lines, agents, shippers, forwarders, and transportation companies involved in the import process of containers. And, because of the integrations between 3PL Dynamics and Portbase, it impacts your logistics software too. But there is no reason to panic. In this blog, we dissect the impact of the new container release process and dive into the changes for your operation.

What is the Secure Chain?

The Secure Chain replaces the PIN codes you now use to pick up containers in the Port of Rotterdam, which are vulnerable to fraud. Terminals, shipping companies, agents, carriers, and forwarders will therefore maintain a closed release and pick-up process involving authorized parties only. This makes the import to the Dutch harbor much safer.

How does the new Secure Chain work?

The key is that every involved company authorizes or nominates the subsequent link in the chain. In that way, only authorized parties can do certain activities or look into confidential data. Within the Secure Chain, your operation can have several roles: release-to-party, cargo director, transport director en inland operator.

So, how does it work? The release-to-party, often the forwarder or carrier, is the party that receives the commercial release from the shipping company. When you are the release-to-party, you can then choose to authorize a cargo controller (forwarder) or nominate an inland operator (carrier or transportation company).

A cargo director can, in turn, also authorize an inland operator. If you do not authorize a cargo director, you are the cargo director of the shipment yourself. If, as an authorized cargo director, you will not handle the transportation yourself, you have the ability to authorize a transport director as a subcontractor.

Source: Portbase

How does the Secure Chain affect your logistics software?

Boltrics integrates the Secure Chain into 3PL Dynamics. Customers that have a live integration with Portbase’s service ‘Cargo Controller’ can now also control the Secure Chain via their software. Up until now, Boltrics customers often have the role of cargo director or release-to-party. In that case, you only have to nominate an inland operator and make sure you are authorized to do so.

In 3PL Dynamics, the Secure Chain will be integrated flexibly. The so-called nomination will be an optional step – until an inland operator claims the container at the terminal. After that, nominating an inland operator for transportation is obligated. The inland operator can be nominated per container. Because of this flexible setup, Boltrics can easily implement the Secure Chain for all customers, while you keep determining your specific workflows.

It is possible to gain insights into status information from Portbase and the Secure Chain. In the table underneath, you find what information can potentially be extracted from Portbase.

Arrival transport equipmentRelease transport equipmentPick-up transport equipment
Status ship arrivalStatus customs inspectionStatus nomination transportation
Status import manifestStatus commercial releaseStatus pre-notification at terminal
Unloaded at terminalStatus import declaration 

The future of port logistics

Integrating the Secure Chain in 3PL Dynamics started in January 2024. Expectations are that more and more implementations of the secure chain will follow in the first quarter. Now, containers from Latin America must already be imported via the Secure Chain. However, in the rest of 2024, the Secure Chain will be introduced to more processes. All shipping companies, except for Hapag Lloyd, have joined the Secure Chain. CMA-CGM, Cosco, Maersk, MSC, and ONE are already using it. While Evergreen, Hyundai, Yang Ming, and ZIM will start working with it this year.

What do you have to do as a logistics service provider?

If you are in some way connected to the container release process, you must determine the following:

  1. What is your role in the chain and what responsibilities do you have in this role?
  2. Who, in the chain, do you handle logistics for?
  3. What logistic partners must you update?
    Without a PCS validation, your partners cannot participate in the Secure Chain. Currently, you can still use the PIN code to access the terminal. However, this option will expire once the Secure Chain is completely introduced in the Port of Rotterdam.

Do you use the Cargo Controller integration of Portbase? Then, we help you prepare your systems to integrate with the Secure Chain too. Do you want to learn more about the Secure Chain or integrations in 3PL Dynamics? Mail to