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PHILIS Reaches Major Milestone

Posted by East Suffolk Communications Team on 2 May 2019 | Comments

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The hi-tech system developed by the Council’s Port Health service in Felixstowe has reached a major milestone – handling its one millionth job at the port.

The Port Health Interactive Live Information System (PHILIS) developed by Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority for handling imports at the Port of Felixstowe, the largest container port in the UK.

PHILIS is the IT system developed in house by Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority, part of East Suffolk Council, which went live in September 2009.

Now, as it approaches its tenth year in operation, the system has handled its 1,000,000th job passing through the Port of Felixstowe.

The cutting-edge technology was developed in-house by a small team for a fraction of the cost it would have taken to ‘buy in’ a system. 

And, not only is the system still going strong in Felixstowe, it now handles over 85% of all imports coming into the UK from outside Europe.

“PHILIS has been a great success. Our Port Health team developed cutting-edge bespoke technology, which has been adopted nationwide to make handling huge amounts of imports faster and more efficient, saving time for our staff but also helping speed up the import process that our country depends upon," explained Phil Gore, head of East Suffolk Council’s Environmental Services and Port Health.

“The trust and confidence we placed in our in-house development team has been vindicated, as not only is the system still going strong here, it has also be licensed to other major ports in the UK providing an income for the Council. PHILIS has evolved and developed over the years, and the team that developed the original PHILIS continue to be part of its future.”

In addition to benefiting the Port Health service at Felixstowe, the software has now been licenced to all of the major sea ports: Port of London Authority, Mersey and ABP Southampton - Port of Southampton. During 2016/17, the system has also been developed by the team to manage animal welfare requirements at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre - HARC.

The commercial success of PHILIS supports the councils' aim of financial self-sufficiency. As well as enabling Port Health to deliver a quicker, more effective and efficient service, PHILIS has meant that increases in workload over the last nine years have been met without the need to increase the size of the team.

The system now:

  • Manages 85% of food imported into the UK from outside of the EU
  • Supports 100 users operating from 4 Port Health Authorities and HARC
  • Handles over 3 million containers a year through the 4 ports
  • Has delivered at least a 20% saving in officer time at Felixstowe
  • Scans around 1 million documents a year
  • Generates income for the Council through licence fees 

A specially-commissioned film about PHILIS has been produced by local company, Bruizer, and can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOhxoV_QMWY&t=30s

To learn more about Port Health see: http://www.porthealth.eu/