In the shipping and cargo industry, boat operators are responsible for recording cargo information by hand on paper, which leaves copious room for mistakes and illegible marks that make data entry even more inaccurate. These reports are then submitted to the Waterbourne Commerce Statistics Center through a process that restricts storage and recall capabilities due to a lack of standardization in data recording and entry.
With GeoPort, boat captains are able to move from tracking paper and deciphering illegible writing to more efficient and qualitative efforts of data analysis on reliable information. The information being recording and transferred no longer has to be determined by human error but by accurate, digitized responses that leave no room for debate. In addition, supervisors and reviewers are able to access GeoPort at any time to see vessel, cargo, port and captain information, meaning reports could be issued within hours of the data submission.
The current VOR system was promoted in association with the Harbor Maintenance Tax Act of 1986. The Act used reporting cargo as tonnage to allow an ad valorem tax assessment on the estimated value of the cargo. The collected funds were to be allocated through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for operation and maintenance (O&M) of the federally authorized channels within the waters of the United States. While all VOR reports are processed by the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (WCSC), there is no accountability during the review period for up to two years after the data was collected.
Due to a lack of VOR reporting standards and accuracy as well as the budget cap, the HMT has accrued well past the funds needed for harbor maintenance, resulting in an untouchable surplus. And the budget revisions as put in place by the Water Resources Development Act of 2014 isn't enough.
In Louisiana alone, GeoPort could make accountable the $250 million per year infrastructure obligation the state of Louisiana is owed through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Using GeoPort's capabilities to capture data timely and accurately will in turn procure appropriate funding through the intended law. In addition, GeoPort has been vetted by the Army Corp of Engineers to ensure the software meets all requirements for deployment and data collection criteria. The only barrier now is to enact and enforce data collection through GeoPort.