At last The Port of Felixstowe’s often maligned VBS system (vehicle booking system) is being upgraded and will be renamed the CBS (Container Booking System).

VBS is a real-time web based system provided by the Port of Felixstowe for hauliers to select a time to deliver or collect containers.  The Port can then manage customer demand providing faster turnaround, which is at its essence the key success KPI for ports.

However such is the demand for the key slots the system became a target for ways to rig the system. VBS was also plagued by ‘openings’ in the way it was used. for example, it encouraged some hauliers to secure as many bookings as they could, irrespective of their actual need.

Those without such resources to ‘game’ the system would often stay up through the night clocking in every hour to grab a slot.

The Port of Felixstowe faces stiff competition from other ports for operational efficiency. The VBS system plays a huge part in this efficiency of the Port of Felixstowe as container ships get bigger, turnaround times need to keep pace. Boxes on and off the Port is a fundamental part of the process that shippers measure.

The introduction of the new Container Booking System (CBS) system seeks to improve on the old with a raft of new features and data analysis.

It appears this is the beginning of a much improved system using a new platform and integrating into the ports forthcoming AI based Veronica Atlas system. We’re hoping it can also provide a fairer system for both small and large hauliers alike as Felixstowe moves through what appears to be a transition phase..

The Felixstowe Port Users Association (FPUA) recently held a meeting regarding the upgrade from VBS to CBS and we enclose the notes here VBS to CBS_21062024_v3

We will provide more news on the Container Booking System (CBS) as we get nearer to the proposed implementation date of 1st October 2024.