What is eRO (electronic Release Order)?
eRO stands for electronic Release Order. eRO platform enables shipping lines to issue electronic container release instructions for consignees or their agents - including forwarders & trusted agents (consignee) - to collect import laden containers at container terminals.
eRO platform provides a common platform for liners, consignees, consignees’ agents and freight forwarders to handle import documents and related payments. It manages dispatch and receipt of electronic release orders which in turn facilitates laden pickup at terminals and empty return at depots. With this newly-launched eRO platform, consignees and their agents no longer need to physically deliver documents to shipping lines. Relevant import documents can be directly sent to the eRO accounts of consignees/ their agents upon verification by liners. An owner of an eRO can continue to forward the eRO to another party on the platform. When a trucking company receives an eRO forwarded by a consignee, the trucking company is required to assign a plate number for verification at the terminal during pickup. A pickup will only be effectuated if it is within the free storage period. When an empty is returned to a depot, both “return location” and “free demurrage period” will be checked.
Is eRO secured and reliable?
Security is the number one concern at the time when the service was designed and developed. During registration of the service, users must submit the proof of a valid business registration for identity verification purpose. Further, the service carries the most commonly used security features, such as 2-step verification of identity, which is proven and widely adopted in many other popular electronic services. All data are transmitted securely with encryption on network, and there is only one verified owner of an eRO in the system at any given time so that ownership of eRO is not compromised. Trucking companies are required to assign tractor’s plate number for eRO laden pick-up before gate-in at terminals so that only the designated tractor will be able to collect the container. All these security features safeguard reliability of container release; the tedious paper process is replaced and will no longer be the stumbling block in efficiency improvement.
How does eRO service protect data confidentiality and uphold accountability of platform users in relation to their system activities?
eRO is a neutral platform which adopts the principle of least privilege in system design. Data are securely segregated, with access only granted to those users who have legitimate purpose. eRO is only a tool for members of the port community – including liners, consignees and their agents, freight forwarders, trucking companies, terminal operators and depot operators - to implement digitization for import containers. The system does NOT have the capability to generate and execute a transaction decision automatically on behalf of any user. All users are responsible for their own system activities executed by themselves on eRO platform. Such responsibility must be acknowledged by eRO users during service registration. Playing the role of a neutral platform, OnePort Limited (OnePort) cautiously keeps user data confidential. Should there be any need to disclose information, it will only be done through proper legal procedures.
Is there service charge for using the service?
There is no service charge applied to users during the trial period. However, there will be service charge applied for using value-added services after the trial period is over. The service is charged at cost recovery basis shared among stakeholders of the port community. With this cost sharing approach, OnePort is able to provide low cost, but yet effective solution to the industry for maximizing their operations efficiency and productivity.
How are customers protected from unexpected rising cost of using the service in future?
Based on cost recovery principle, the service charge will only be inflation-adjusted in accordance to the Hong Kong CPI (Consumer Price Index). The cost projection for using the service, therefore, is very transparent to the customers.