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Tips and frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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This page presents Tips and Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQs). Some descriptions require a degree of technical knowledge of the operating system, for example, and/or the network on which BICS runs or is installed.

The tips and frequently asked questions are presented in list form and grouped by category. Click a question to display the answer. Click  , which is generally located in the right-hand margin, to return to the list of questions at the top of this page (the index shown below).

Tip: You can print the list or save it as a PDF to your computer using one of the printer icons on this screen.

The FAQs are grouped under the following topic headings:

RWS account:

  • You can request an RWS account via this registration page.
  • If you have forgotten the password of your RWS account, you can reset it via this page.

General:

Installation:

Starting up:

Configuration:

Using BICS:

Import/Export:

Updates in BICS:

Communication:

Known problems:

 

If you have any additional Tips of your own, or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the BICS Helpdesk at any time, or you can use the Comments form to pass on your message.

 


General.



What is BICS and what does it stand for?

BICS stands for "Binnenvaart Informatie en Communicatie Systeem", which means Inland Information and Communication System, and is a software program (for Windows and Linux) that is used by skippers of inland shipping vessels to notify their voyage and cargo information electronically to the relevant waterway authorities. BICS uses international standards for electronic reporting. As a result, BICS can also be used in other European countries. You comply fully with mandatory electronic reporting requirements when you use BICS.
More information about BICS can be found by clicking the "What is BICS?" menu option on this website.

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Why has a new BICS been introduced?

BICS version 5 is a completely new computer program that has been developed based on modern technology and the latest standards to ensure that the software will be able to handle future developments.  BICS version 5 replaces the old BICS version 4 and ERI-Net. The new BICS is based on Internet technology and offers various extra functions in addition to the familiar functionality. You operate BICS via your Internet browser. The software has been made more user-friendly and integration with other software packages has also been improved. The screens in BICS have been completely redesigned.  . BICS is now also available for certain Linux versions. Please also refer to the "What is BICS?" menu option on this website.

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What is new in BICS version 5?

BICS version 5 has been designed and built starting from a blank sheet of paper. Generally speaking, the following are the main new features compared to BICS version 4:

  • The software has been completely modernised, designed and rewritten in accordance with contemporary design standards.
  • You now operate BICS via your own (favourite) internet browser. As a result, BICS can be accessed and used via different computers and/or mobile devices.
  • BICS is suitable for different computer platforms and 64 bits operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
  • BICS can be used simultaneously by multiple users. Specific settings are possible for each user; i.e. the editable ships, language preference, etc.
  • BICS is easier to install in a network environment and can be accessed and operated via a tablet or any other suitable type of mobile device.
  • BICS now features a day and night mode.
  • The entry possibilities have been significantly upgraded to include features such as the use of favourites, easier and faster searching in selection lists, etc. For example, entering "WAAL" produces the following results: "WAALHAVEN", "ROTTERDAM WAALHAVEN". Or you can directly enter a code, e.g.: NLRTM for ROTTERDAM.
  • The procedure for updating BICS is now simpler and almost fully automatic (software, configuration and reference data).

  • Improved (technical) interfacing capabilities that allow BICS to interface more effectively with other (external) software packages, such as a stowage application. In addition to the familiar import/export interface, a link can also be established based on the SOAP access protocol (for more information please refer to the technical interface documentation). An interface for signal display is also possible, meaning that the external software can also use the same signal display details as BICS.

  • Notices to Skippers can no longer be received via BICS. These notifications, the BOS messages (Notices to Skippers and water level notices) have been removed from the program's functionality. You can access and download this waterway information more easily and in a more targeted manner via the following website: http://www.vaarweginformatie.nl.
  • The new BICS software package is future-proof and can also send additional electronic messages such as the Voyage Plan and Crew and Passenger Lists in addition to the ERINOT message.

For more information, click the "Wat is BICS?" menu option.

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How do I obtain a new version of BICS (how can I register for the new BICS software)?

The new BICS version is no longer distributed on CD-ROM. Applying for and distributing BICS is now handled 'online', via this website. You can download BICS from this website as soon as you have applied for BICS and have registered as a user.

You can apply for BICS in the following manner:

  • If you do not yet have a 7000 number, you request a new BICS account. You will receive your BICS account information in the response to your application. You require this information in order to install BICS.
  • You then download the BICS software package from this website.
  • Next, you install BICS in accordance with the instructions on this website.

Details of the complete application procedure are provided in the section entitled "Requesting BICS => the application procedure".

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What do I need for BICS - what are the minimum system requirements)?

In order to install and use the BICS software package, your PC must satisfy the following minimum system requirements:

  • Intel® processor
  • 2 GB internal memory (RAM), 4 Gb recommended..
  • 1 GB free disk space on the hard disk.
  • Operating system:
    • Windows 8, Windows 10
      (remark: BICS v5.5 or higher only works on 64 bits Operating systems).
    • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 6 with Linux kernel 2.6.32 or higher.
    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or higher
    • Mac OS-X 10.15 Catalina or higher
  • Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
  • Communication: secure POP3/SMTP via ports 465/995.
  • An Internet connection for downloading BICS, updating reference data and sending electronic messages.

You require administrator rights to install the BICS software package: 'administrator' (Windows) or 'root' (Linux). 

You require a recent web browser that supports HTML5 in order to use and operate BICS. For example:

  • Internet Explorer® (version 9 or higher, but version 11 or higher is strongly recommended)
  • Mozilla Firefox® (version 10 or higher)
  • Google Chrome™ (version 19 or higher)
  • Apple Safari (version 5 or higher)

Advanced installation: if you want to use BICS in a network environment with multiple users (multi-user environment, BICS installation acts as a server), additional requiremnets apply. The exact requirements depend on the number of users.

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How do I know which operating system and which version I have?

You can easily determine which operating system (type + version) you use by entering one of the following commands on your PC.

Windows:

  • Open a DOS box
     C:\> winver
  • Or "Windows => Start", type "winver" (without quotes) in the "Search programs and files" search box. 

    Windows opens a dialogue box displaying information about the Windows version.

Linux, Mac OS (execute commands in a terminal):

  • Use the GUI and open the "About" option (normally in (system) settings, option "About this Computer", "About this Mac").
     
  • Open a terminal (shell command terminal):
     $  uname -a

    Linux generates a rather cryptic output message in which you can find the kernel version number and type of your Linux software.

  • The command:
      Red Hat:  $   cat /etc/redhat-release
    displays additional information about the Red Hat release.
     
     Ubuntu:    $   lsb_release -a
    displays additional information about the Ubuntu release.
      
    Mac OS-X:  $   sw_vers
    displays additional information about the Mac OS-X release.

If you receive an error message, you have used the wrong command for your operating system. In that case, try the command for a different operating system.

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How do I know which version of BICS I have?

You can easily determine which version of BICS you are using by requesting this information in BICS.
You can request version information by starting up BICS and selecting the Help or Help->Info option.

The old BICS version 4 screens are shown below (you can find the version and version date in the information screen):
BICS version 4 (BICS Classic), start-up screen  BICS version 4 (BICS Classic), Info (About) screen  
BICS version 4 screens 

The following screen appears if you have the new BICS version 5 (you can see the version and version date on the left-hand side):
BICS version 5 Info (About) screen 
New BICS version 5 screen

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Is BICS suitable for mandatory electronic reporting?

BICS complies in all areas with the requirements for mandatory electronic reporting, as applicable for container ships on the Rhine and in the Netherlands. BICS sends the ERINOT message. This message complies with European standard EU- 64/2010 (ERINOT).

For more details, please refer to the section entitled "Mandatory electronic reporting".

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Frequently asked questions about mandatory electronic reporting?

Various questions relating to the introduction of mandatory electronic reporting have been collected together over time and grouped. Direct links to these publications have been included below. Various frequently asked questions about mandatory electronic reporting have been drawn up and/or collected together during the period leading up to and after the introduction of the mandatory electronic reporting regulation.

Rijkswaterstaat memorandum: Frequently asked questions and answers_electronic reporting_03.pdf.

The website of Bureau Telematica Binnenvaart presents a number of FAQs about mandatory electronic reporting. These FAQs have been compiled by the inland shipping sector organisations. Some examples:

  • What is a ‘container’ according to the mandatory electronic reporting regulation?
  • How can you report electronically when at the periphery of a mobile telephone network?
  • Is the skipper responsible for the correctness of the electronic report?
  • What are the skipper's responsibilities?
  • Do you also have to report electronically if you have received information in non-electronic form?
  • Have I still complied with mandatory electronic reporting if the notification, through no fault of my own, has not been received?
  • What should I do if my computer is non-operational?
  • Can I still embark on the voyage even if I am not yet able to report electronically?
  • What should I do if BICS is non-operational?
  • Can barge operators be obliged to deliver cargo information electronically?

Direct link to the frequently asked questions (mandatory electronic reporting FAQs section) on the website of Bureau Telematica Binnenvaart: www.binnenvaart.org.

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Where can I find Notices to Skippers, (the BOS messages)?

The new BICS program no longer offers a functionality for receiving the Notices to Skippers (BOS messages). Rijkswaterstaat publishes the Notices to Skippers and other waterway information on the following website http://www.vaarweginformatie.nl.

You can retrieve waterway information more easily and in a more targeted fashion on this website. You can determine which messages you wish to receive and for which area.

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Installing BICS.



How do I apply for BICS?

Details of the complete application procedure are provided in the section entitled "Requesting BICS => the application procedure".

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Where can I download BICS?

You can download BICS from this website via the "Downloaden BICS" menu option.

You require a BICS account in order to download and install BICS. You can apply for the account by clicking here: "Requesting BICS => the application procedure".

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How do I install BICS?

Detailed instructions for installing BICS can be found in the "BICS user manual".

Quick-start instructions are provided in the "Installation instruction Card" or in the website section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

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How do I install BICS in demonstration mode?

You can install BICS in demonstration mode for education or demonstration purposes. When installed in demo mode you can use the full functionality of BICS (no account needed), but you can NOT send (operational) messages to authorities.

If you want to use BICS to send in operational message you need to request an account, must de-install the demo version and reinstall BICS using your real account.

BICS account settings  BICS account demo settings
Configuring BICS in demonstration mode, using "Advanced input" screen and checking the demo option.

Quick-start installation instructions are provided in the "Installation instruction Card" or in the website section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

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How do I update my BICS?

After installation, BICS automatically checks whether updates (new BICS versions) are available. As soon as an update is available, it appears in the "Updates" pane at the bottom of the dashboard. Note that you must be logged on in BICS for this.

Example screen Update Reference Data (1st time, at initial start-up)
Example: BICS Update pane (showing an available update for BICS Software)

If a new version is available and you wish to install the update, check first whether you have a good Internet connection (the connection status on the left is shown as "Good connection". Next, click the “Download” button in the update screen.

If the new version is available and you wish to install it, click the Download button in the Updates screen (the connection status must be displayed as "Good connection"). After downloading, you can install the update by clicking the Install button (for further details refer to the "Update Installation Procedure" in the "Using BICS=>Installation" section).

 Note: it is up to you to regularly check whether updates are available (see update pane) and start them manually. You can only update BICS (the application) on the computer where you have installed BICS (computer on which the BICS server runs). If you use a central BICS server on which you have installed BICS, you cannot update the BICS Software on a client and you must ask the administrator responsible for the BICS server to process and execute the Software update.

The (update) installation procedure is described in detail in the section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

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How do I install BICS in a network?

The new BICS software installation procedure is the same regardless of whether the software is installed on a single workstation (single user) or in a network (multi-user).

Explanation: The old BICS version required different installation procedures for the skipper's version and the freight forwarder's version. The skipper's version was generally installed on board (single user) and the freight forwarder's version was generally installed in a network configuration.

If you want to use BICS in a network situation, e.g. via a tablet, you must set up permissions on the computer where BICS is installed in such a way that other users can access and use the BICS application on that computer via the corresponding IP address ( this involves configuring and setting up permissions in the Firewall).

The standard installation procedure for BICS is described in the section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

The procedure for subsequently configuring a BICS installation in a network situation is described in "How do I make BICS accessible on my own network?".
The procedure for starting up BICS in a network situation is described in "How do I start BICS up (in a network situation)?".

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How do I return to a previous version of BICS (rollback or recovery)?

If you want to return to a previous version of BICS, after an unsuccessful update for example, you can perform a "Rollback" (system restore).

 Note: you must physically start the system restore (rollback) on the computer where you have also installed BICS. Once performed, you cannot reverse a system restore.

After a rollback, the BICS application and the associated data will be returned to the (most recent) previous restore point. In other words, you will lose all new voyages and information that you have entered using the newly updated BICS version.

You can only perform a system restore if you have already updated the de BICS software on at least one occasion. You can easily determine whether a system restore is possible by checking whether a 'rollback' directory is present in the BICS installation directory, generally: "\BICS2\rollback" (rollback = system restore).

If a system restore is possible, you can start the restore process as follows:

  • Use your file management system to navigate to the 'rollback\bin' directory, generally: "\BICS2\rollback\bin".
  • To activate the process, execute the rollback command in the 'bin' directory ("rollback.bat" of script: "rollback"). you have to do this as administrator or root user.

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How do I remove the BICS software (de-install BICS)?

You can remove BICS from your computer by de-installing it via the "De-installation" program that comes with the software. This can generally be found in the directory called: "\BICS2\Uninstall\".

The de-installation procedure that you can use to remove BICS is described in more detail in "Removing BICS" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

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Starting BICS.



How do I start BICS up?

After installing BICS, you can start up and use the BICS program. You can do this in various ways, depending on the situation:

On the local computer:

  • In Windows using the shortcut on the desktop or via Start => BICS2.
  • Using your favourite browser by entering http://localhost(link is external) as the URL in the address bar in your browser (if you have installed BICS on a port other than port 80, you must indicate this in the URL, e.g.: http://localhost:82).

See also Starting up BICS in the section entitled "Using BICS => Installation".

In a network situation (e.g. access via a tablet):

  • You start up BICS by entering the IP address for the computer in the network; i.e. the BICS server on which BICS has been installed. You enter this as a URL in your browser's address bar: e.g. http://10.1.1.100:88(link is external) (port 88)
    (obviously, the computer on which you start BICS up must also be connected to the network in such a way that the BICS server is accessible)

See also the section entitled "Making BICS accessible in a network".

Remark: Under certain operating systems starting BICS does not work through the standard desktop shortcut or the Start menu. Use another browser (eg, Fire Fox) and enter the address: http: // localhost. Also see "Problems with starting BICS".

If required, you can create an extra "BICS start-up shortcut" or add the URL to the favourites in your favourite browser so that you always keep BICS conveniently "at hand".

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Starting BICS up for the first time and preparing the program for use.

After installing BICS, you must start up BICS first to perform a number of one-off actions before you can use the program to notify voyages.

Mandatory one-off actions:

In addition, we advise you to do the following immediately:

Starting up BICS for the first time and the actions that are required are described in detail in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I start and/or stop the BICS services?

BICS is based on a collection of 'services'. These are services or tasks that automatically start when the computer starts up and then continue to run in the background 

BICS consists of a 'visible' component, the user interface, which you use to operate BICS,t and  an 'invisible' component, which handles all kinds of processes in the background. Both are dependent on each other. You see the visible component in the web browser. The invisible component handles saving and accessing the information stored on the computer and sending the messages. The BICS services continue to run, even when you have exited the Internet browser, until you manually close them. Manual closing will seldom be required.

The BICS services are split technically into an Application server (service "bics2suite") and a Database server (service "bics2mysql"). The Application server handles all BICS functionality. The Database server handles saving and accessing the information stored in the BICS database for the Application server.

The section below describes how you can manually start and/or stop these BICS services. Stopping the services may be required in order to avoid unnecessary (expensive) data transmission or in cases where they make unnecessary use of computer capacity.

 Note: If the BICS services have been  stopped , BICS will obviously  no  longer  operate  and you will no longer be able to start BICS up via the shortcut or via your browser. You will have to start both services up again manually first.

The procedure for  manually starting and/or stopping the BICS services is as follows (commands are case-sensitive):

Windows (execute commands in the DOS box with  administrator rights):

  • Stopping the services:
     C:\> net stop "bics2suite"
     C:\> net stop "bics2mysql"
  • Starting the services:
     C:\> net start"bics2mysql"
     C:>\ net start "bics2suite"

In Windows, you can also start and stop the services using the "services.msc" application (start services.msc from a DOS box).  

Linux (execute commands in a terminal as the root user):

  • Stopping the services:
     $  service bics2suite stop
     $  service bics2mysql stop
  • Starting the services:
     $  service bics2mysql start
     $  service bics2suite start

Mac OS (Apple) (run commands in a terminal as root or via the sudo command):

  • Stopping the services:
     $  sudo launchctl unload -w /Applications/BICS2/current/bin/nl.rws.bics2suite.plist 
     
  • Starting the services:
     $  sudo launchctl load -w /Applications/BICS2/current/bin/nl.rws.bics2suite.plist 

(With "launchctl list | grep bics2" you can request the statusus of the BICS services)

For advanced users: You can also place these commands in a batch or script, which you must however always execute as an administrator or the root user.

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How do I create a "Start BICS" shortcut?

In Windows, you can create shortcuts for starting up applications. So you can also create extra shortcuts for starting up BICS. For example, for starting up BICS using a browser other than the standard browser that you normally use. This may be necessary if your standard browser is not compatible with BICS, e.g. in Windows XP, see also BICS does not start.

The procedure for creating a new shortcut in Windows is as follows:

  • Move your mouse to an empty position on the desktop.
  • Right-click with the mouse to open the context menu and click: "New => Shortcut", which opens the shortcut dialogue.
  • Click the Browse button and browse to the executable for the browser you require.
  • Highlight the executable program for the browser and click OK, following which the command and path for your browser are copied to the shortcut (NB: including the quotation marks).
    (For Chrome under Windows 7: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe")
    (For Firefox under Windows 7: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe")
  • Now add the URL for BICS to the shortcut, i.e.: "http://localhost".
    (For example: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" "http://localhost")
  • Give the shortcut a name, e.g.: "Start BICS" and save it.
  • Now you can use the shortcut to start BICS in the browser you have selected.

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Configuring BICS.


Changing incorrectly entered data after installation (BICS account, sender name, etc.)!

If you have entered incorrect data during the installation, you can correct it retrospectively. This relates to data such as: the BICS account number, password or the sender's details. You can make changes via "Change messages service account" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I create new users with limited rights?

You can create multiple users in BICS, each of whom has his/her own rights (authorisations) and settings. You can also edit these users again. To do so, you must have main user rights, known as 'bics2_administrator' rights.

A main user and main user group are created as standard during the BICS installation procedure. The main user is called "bics2" and the associated password is "bics2". The group of main users is called: "bics2_administrators". Users in this group have “administrator” rights and can change all of the settings in BICS.

You create a new group when logged on as the main user. This group is assigned the rights that you decide for the group. You then link new BICS users to the group. These extra users can log on using their own name. They have access to the functionalities that you have enabled for the group. 

For more details, please refer to the description for "Creating extra BICS users" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I set my ship as the standard default?

In BICS, you can configure a number of settings (preferences) for each user, including the standard ship.

Via "Settings => Preferences", you can select one of the previously specified ship's bodies in the "Standard ship's body" field. This ship's body is subsequently selected as the standard Ship's Body when creating a voyage.

For more details, please refer to the description for "Setting preferences" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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What is the difference between the Basic and Advanced display (mode)

BICS is future-proof, meaning amongst other things that provision has been made for notifying voyage plans and passenger lists. Two display modes have been created in BICS for this purpose.

The Basic Mode gives you access to all of the basic functions in BICS for creating and notifying a voyage. This mode is intended to allow compliance with mandatory electronic reporting requirements as a minimum. For the moment, most BICS users will only need to use the basic display mode.

The Advanced Mode gives you access to more advanced functionality in BICS, such as working with dossiers, creating a voyage plan and sending passenger lists. The Advanced Mode also offers facilities for traffic management support. If you wish, you can participate in (future) practical tests in the area of traffic management via the Advanced Mode.

The Advanced Mode offers the following additional functionality in comparison to the Basic Mode:

In BICS, you can set the basic and advanced display modes for each user. You can set the Preferences for the active user, such as the advanced and basic display mode described here, in the "Settings => User settings" screen. You can choose between: Basic and Advanced.
Wij raden u aan voor normaal gebruik van de basismodus (instelling) gebruik te maken.

More information about the Advanced Mode and entering voyages in this mode can be found in the "BICS Manual",in the chapter entitled "Advanced entry".

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How do I set the language in BICS?

In BICS, you can configure a number of settings (preferences) for each user, including the user Interface language.

The required language for the active user can be set via the "Settings => Language" option.

For more details, please refer to the description for "Setting preferences" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How can I set my personal (log-on) password?

In BICS, you can configure a number of settings (preferences) for each user, including the password for your personal log-on account.

You can set, edit your (personal) password for the active user via the "Settings => Account" option. 

For more details, please refer to the description for "Setting your personal password" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I configure my extra Other messages account?

The other messages account is used by BICS to send additional messages such as Transport documents and CNMI documents. 

After installation, you can configure your personal messages account (email) using the credentials for your own provider. To do so, go to: "Settings => System settings => Other messages account".

You enter the credentials for your own email provider here, such as your user name and the associated password. Please note that not all providers support sending email from an external source (= outside the provider's own ADSL/cable network) via their mail servers. If this is a problem, there are other public mail providers that do support this activity.

For more details, please refer to the description for "Setting up your own email account as the other messages account" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How can I retrospectively change the ports for the BICS services?

Retrospectively changing the ports for the BICS services may be required if you want the BICS services that have already been installed to operate on a different port within your network in order to avoid possible conflicts with other applications and/or settings in your network.

Normally, the BICS services are set to use the following ports during the standard installation procedure:

  • bics2suite: the BICS application server listens on port 80.
  • bics2mysql: the BICS database server listens on port 3306.

After installing BICS, you can (manually) change the ports used by the BICS services in the following manner:

  • Stop the BICS services (see "How do I start and/or stop the BICS services?"). 

Next, edit the BICS configuration file (location: "\BICS2\current\conf\bics2suite.properties") using a text editor. The following settings require editing:

  • "webServer.http.port=80", the designated port on which the BICS application server (http) listens.
  • "database.port=3306", the designated port on which the BICS database server listens (you generally do not have to edit this setting). 

Start the BICS services (see "How do I start and/or stop the BICS services?").

After changing the ports, you also have to update any shortcuts and the address for starting up BICS must also be entered accordingly in your browser's address bar (e.g.: http://localhost:88)

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How can I set up secure 'https' communication for my BICS server?

BICS offers you the possibility of creating a secure channel for communication between the browser and the BICS services ( 'https' transmission). Secure browser communication is to be recommended when the communication between the browser and the BICS server is channelled via  the public Internet (you use a BICS server that is made available/accessed via the public Internet). After installation, communication with the browser does NOT use a secure channel as standard (set to normal 'http' transmission).

In order to use a secure communication channel, you must proceed as follows:

Please refer to Appendix B in the BICS user manual for details of the (technical) steps that must be performed.

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How do I make BICS accessible on my own network?

The BICS application is based on a collection of services (services that run in the background). BICS consists of an Application server and a Database server. As a result, a single BICS installation can be accessed and used via different workstations within a network. You must however designate the relevant ports on which the BICS application server is active. Generally this is port 80 (http) or 443 (https), or a different port that has been specified during installation.

If you wish to use the BICS application within a network (e.g. on a tablet or a different computer within the on-board network), you must configure the Firewall on the computer where BICS is installed to allow http or https communication (TCP) from a source external to that computer to pass through to port 80 or 443 (or the other port on which the BICS services have been configured).

You configure/set up permissions for the Firewall by defining an "Inbound" rule for TCP data transmission to the desired port and thus allowing the data traffic from an external source through to the BICS application server.

The example below describes how to configure the standard Firewall in Windows 7 (you require a degree of technical knowledge in order to configure the file). The procedures for other operating systems or for other Firewalls may differ in detail but are basically similar.

In Windows 7, you can create an extra Firewall "Inbound" rule via a wizard (start the Wizard via Control panel => System => Firewall => Advanced settings => New rule):

  • Rule type = Port, for defining a rule for blocking or opening up a specific port
  • Protocol and Ports  =Specific Port: 80 (or a different port if the BICS application server 'listens' on a different port.
  • Action = Allow all = Allow all actions.
  • Profile = Domain and Private (the networks to which the rule applies).
  • Name = the user-specified name for the new rule (e.g.: "BICS2 application server"). 

After saving the settings, the rule will be added and the BICS service will then be accessible via the specified port.

You subsequently start BICS up by indicating the IP address for the computer on which BICS has been installed as a URL in your browser, e.g.: http://10.1.1.100:80

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Using BICS.



How can I enter and notify a voyage with BICS?

The procedure for entering and notifying a new voyage is not complicated and consists of the following steps:

  • After logging on in BICS, you click the "New voyage" button or you choose to import a voyage using the "Import voyage" button
  • The entry screen for a new voyage appears. This screen comprises the following sections: VoyageSailing Unit and Cargo (possibly including Container Matrix).
  • You can now enter the requested voyage information under `Voyage`
    (the boxes for mandatory fields are highlighted by thicker lines and must be populated).
  • Under "Sailing unit", you indicate the ship for which the voyage is notified.
  • If you have to comply with mandatory electronic reporting, you enter the container matrix information.
  • Now you can save the voyage.
    (BICS indicates any errors or mandatory fields that have not been populated. You must correct these errors first before the data can be successfully saved.) .

More information can be found in "Entering and notifying a voyage" in the section "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I manually approve or reject a voyage notification?

Once the voyage has been notified to the authority (the voyage status is "Busy notifying" or "Busy cancelling"), you can no longer edit the voyage. You can only edit the voyage again after successful transmission of the notification and (in some cases) receipt of a confirmation from the authority.

In a number of exceptional situations, for example if no confirmation is received, or if other problems arise, you can manually approve or reject the BICS notification (this option is only available if the message has been sent, i.e. the status is shown as "sent"). 

Note: this action may only be performed in consultation with the authority. In other words, you must always check whether or not the voyage notification has been received by the authority.

If you expect a confirmation but have not received it, you must contact the authority to check whether or not your notification has been received. The subsequent procedure is as follows:

Notification sent to multiple authorities: As soon as you are informed that the authority has indeed received the notification, you must select the ‘Manual confirmation’ option in the user interface.

If the notification has been sent to different authorities (as a CC copy message), you must always manually confirm the notification and then cancel it to ensure that the notification is cancelled correctly by all the authorities which did receive and process the message in the first instance.

Notification sent to one authority: If the notification has only been sent to one authority (no CC messages) and that authority indicates that the notification has not been received or processed, you select the ‘Manual rejection’ option.

The reports and the Transport document for a voyage state whether a message has been manually approved or rejected.

 Note: using these 'manual approval or rejection' functions is only permitted in emergencies and may not be used under normal circumstances.

More information about notification and the various statuses can be found in "Voyage notification" in de sectie "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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Viewing BICS log information in order to analyse errors.

In the log files, you can view all kinds of technical messages relating to BICS. This log information may be helpful when reporting problems to the Helpdesk, analysing and/or trying to resolve errors in BICS. For example, you can find communication errors, errors relating to importing data and system errors in the logs.

The BICS application registers different types of log information during use, such as:

  • Communication log: log information relating to communication, e.g. errors when sending/receiving messages via the RWS messages service and/or other configured messages services (mail servers). (The communication log can generally be found in the following directory: \BICS2\current\log\comm.)
  • Application log: system log containing information about application operation, e.g. errors when importing/exporting. (The application log can generally be found in the following directory: \BICS2\current\log\system.)
  • Update log: log information about updates, e.g. reference data updates and application updates. (The update log can generally be found in the following directory: \BICS2\current\log\update.)

You can also send the log files to the BICS Helpdesk (helpdesk@bics.nl (link sends email)). Please only send these files if the Helpdesk requests them. To send log files, go to "Help" and then click the "Send log file" for the desired log information.

More information on this topic can be found in "Sending log information" in de sectie "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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When must I re-notify a voyage?

If you cross over from one navigation area to another navigation area during a voyage (e.g. cross the border), you must always re-notify your voyage to the waterway manager for the new navigation area. This is not necessary on some routes, such as the Rhine, as the systems of the waterway managers in the different countries are linked to each other and your data is transferred automatically to the next waterway manager.

 Note: Voyage details are only automatically transferred between the linked waterway managers if you have given permission for forwarding your information in your BICS program (see the settings in the "Messages service account" screen for the ERINOT, PAXLST, etc. messages)

If the two authorities are not linked, or if your message is not automatically forwarded, you must 're-notify' the voyage to the authority for the next navigation area.

The procedure for re-notifying a voyage to a different waterway manager/authority is as follows:

  • Go to the Voyage that you wish to re-notify and expand it.
  • Click the "Re-notify" button to open the Re-notification dialogue.
  • Enter the "1st reporting point" for the navigation area in question in the field (if necessary, use the magnifying glass to search for the correct reporting point).
  • If required, enter the information for additional message recipients (CC addresses: these additional recipients receive a copy of the message after it has been sent).
  • Click the "Notify" button in the Re-notification dialogue to send the message to the new authority.

 Note: after successful re-notification, all changes are sent to the new waterway manager/authority that is associated with the newly entered 1st reporting point. You can then no longer communicate changes to the previous waterway manager/authority.

The above procedure is also described in more detail in the Voyage re-notification section in the "BICS user manual".

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Notifying voyages in border areas (i.e. Belgium, the Netherlands)!

Rijkswaterstaat acknowledges the problems associated with notifying voyages between the Netherlands and Belgium (the information is not always exchanged consistently) and is discussing possible solutions with the various partners and parties involved in Belgium. However, a definitive solution is unlikely in the short term. Rijkswaterstaat will announce further progress in this area via the BICS website: www.bics.nl and/or via Bureau Telematica Binnenvaart (BTB).

The following temporary solution (i.e. a practical workaround) can be used: voyages of this type can be notified twice (once upon departure and a second time when you cross the border) using the "Re-notification" option in BICS, as explained in detail in the section entitled "When must I re-notify a voyage?". 

The re-notification procedure is also described in more detail in the "Voyage re-notification" section in the "BICS user manual".

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How can I edit, cancel and/or close a voyage that has been entered and/or notified?

A voyage that has been previously entered can only be edited if the voyage:

  • has not yet been notified (still appears with "Planned" as its status),
  • has been notified and/or a reply has been received (status is "Notified" or "Not notified").

See also the section on notifying a voyage and the associated statuses

If the voyage status still appears as "Busy notifying", you cannot edit the voyage (see also "BICS voyage has frozen" ). Note: if you change a voyage that has been previously notified, you must notify this change again (send change message).

Example screen Voyage with notified as its status (ability to change, cancel, re-notify)
Example: The starting point for editing a voyage (select change, cancel notification or close)

If you wish to change or close a voyage, proceed as follows:

  • Open the voyage you want to change or close , in the Dashboard in order to be able to edit it.
  • In the expanded voyage display select the "close" button to close the voyage. The voyage will be moved from the "Active & planned" tab to the "Closed" tab and is no longer editable.
  • In the expanded voyage display select the "Change" button and enter your changes. After saving your changes, you must then send the changes to the same waterway manager to which you sent your original notification. You do so by clicking the "Notify changes" button.
     Note: After a voyage has been notified, a "Re-notification" button also appears; this button may not be used for communicating changes. The "Re-notification" button is used to notify the voyage again to a different waterway manager/authority (see also "When must I re-notify").
  • After successfully sending the change and/or receiving the reply, the voyage appears in the corresponding status display, just like a new voyage that has been notified (see also Voyage notification).

To cancel a voyage, you proceed as follows:

  • Open the voyage you want to cancel in the Dashboard in order to be able to cancel it.
  • In the expanded voyage display, select the "Notify cancellation" button.
  • After successfully sending the cancellation and/or receiving the reply, the voyage appears in the corresponding status display (see also Voyage notification).

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Why do voyages automatically disappear from the "Planned & Active" summary?

Automatic voyage closure is one of the new functions in BICS. Whenever possible, BICS tries to automatically close voyages that have been notified previously when a new voyage is notified for the ship in question. This keeps the summary of active voyages in BICS both brief and easy to review. Once closed, the voyage can be referenced on the "Closed voyages" tab. 

To sum up: because voyages for the same ship are closed automatically as far as possible when notifying a new voyage, they automatically disappear from the summary in BICS. You can reference the voyages that have "disappeared" via the "Closed" tab in the BICS summery.

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How can I notify empty voyages (without cargo)?

Even if you are not transporting cargo (i.e. sailing empty), you can still report electronically using BICS so that you are expected at the traffic control stations.

The procedure for notifying empty voyages is the same as that for entering and notifying a new voyage. The only difference is that you do not enter any cargo lines for that voyage. Notification is exactly the same in all other respects (see also "Entering and notifying a voyage with BICS").

 Note: for notifying voyages when empty of ADN goods, ADN regulations still require you to enter this (hazardous) cargo as a cargo line with a tonnage value of 0.

Notifying a single empty ship:

  • Select the "New voyage" button in the dashboard and enter the requested voyage details.
  • Because you are not transporting cargo, you can immediately save and notify the voyage (see "Voyage notification") after entering the voyage details.

Notifying an empty vessel combination:

  • Select the "New voyage" button in the dashboard and enter the requested voyage details.
    In the "Sailing unit" section you select combination and make sure that all ship's bodies and/or barges for the voyage are specified in the combination..
    You enter the correct (up-to-date) dimension for the combination.
  • Because you are not transporting cargo, you can immediately save and notify the voyage (see "Voyage notification") after entering the voyage details.

Notifying "empty of" (a hazardous cargo):

  • Select the "New voyage" button in the dashboard and enter the requested voyage details via the voyage entry screen.
  • Because you are "empty of" (a hazardous cargo), you must still enter the hazardous (ADN) cargo of which you are empty with a weight of 0 tonnes, tick the "Empty of" checkbox. This is required as an explicit indication of the type of hazardous cargo residues that are still present on board ("empty of" may also require signal display in some cases).
  • After saving the voyage, you can notify it. (See "Voyage notification")

A detailed description of how you can enter and notify a voyage is provided in "Entering and notifying a voyage" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I search and make a selection from the BICS (drop-down) selection lists?

As far as possible, BICS uses standardised reference data that can be selected via selection lists (such as locations, goods) when entering information. When you type a number of letters or digits in the selection field, BICS looks for corresponding lines.

BICS always looks in both the description (name of a location or goods description) and in the code (location code or goods code, such as the UN number). If you happen to know the UN number, you can enter this directly in the hazardous substance selection list field.

Once you have found the correct description or code, click it with the mouse to select it. You can also use the cursor keys to scroll through the list and select the correct entry by pressing "enter".

If you want to perform an advanced search, click the magnifying glass to display the advanced search window. You can use the sliders to navigate through the results.

A number of examples are shown below:

  • Select the relevant data entry field (in the figure below, this is the name of the hazardous substance) and click it to display the associated option list.
    Example screen Goods selection
    Start by typing a number of characters in the field. The matching hazardous substances where the name of the substance or substance code includes the text you have entered. You see this list change as you type in additional characters.
    In the example screen shown above, you could have also entered "1401" (the hazardous substance code) instead of the name "CALCIU" in order to find and select this substance (this mechanism for selecting information based on a name/description code applies to all selection lists).
  • Select the desired substance from the list by clicking it with the mouse or by highlighting it and pressing the 'enter' key. Note that you can exit the field without selecting anything by pressing the 'tab' key.

 Some handy tips for searching and selecting:

  • You can clear the complete search box in one go and enter new search terms by clicking the 'x' in the search box (this appears when you hover the mouse above the search box).
  • If the displayed information is too long (e.g. the substance names in the example above) and not all of the text can be displayed, BICS will display a tooltip containing the full text when you highlight the text in the item using the mouse.
  • You can specify the hazardous substance that you are looking for by typing multiple search terms separated by a space in the search box, as shown in this example. This reduces the number of search results. The search terms are used in an 'AND' expression, meaning that all of the words must appear in the result.
  • You connect the search terms with underscores (the '_' symbol), to look for search results where the terms are separated from each other by spaces. The underscores mean that the search term you have entered is seen as a single word (e.g.: "RATE,_SOLUTION" produces "BARIUM CHLORATE, SOLUTION" and "CALCIUM CHLORIDE, SOLUTION IN WATER".
  • You can mark items found in the selection lists as favourites by clicking the item with the mouse and then clicking the favourites icon (star) on the right-hand side of the selection list. Favourites always appear at the top of the selection lists.
    Example screen Marking items as favourites
  • You can perform advanced and detailed searches on fields that you specify using the Advanced search dialogue. This is activated via the magnifying glass on the right-hand side of the data entry field .

The above procedure is also described in more detail in the "Search mechanism" section in the "BICS user manual".

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What are favourites and how do I use them?

In BICS, you can create and use favourites for Voyages, Ships (sailing units), Goods and Locations. For example, your favourites may be the combination of details or reference data that you regularly use when entering and notifying voyages.

You mark a specific combination of data as a favourite via "Create favourite" button in the associated entry screen. You can manage your favourites via "Administrative data => Favourites". 

Clicking the button with a star-shaped icon allows you to mark a specific item of reference data in the selection list as a "favourite". These favourites are placed at the top of the selection lists when you conduct searches in the data entry fields (see Selection lists).

A detailed explanation is provided in the "Managing favourites" section in the "BICS manual".

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Selecting hazardous substances in accordance with ADN regulations (Table A versus Table C).

The ADN regulations relating to transporting hazardous substances include two tables:

The information summarised in ADN 3.2 Table A applies to transporting hazardous substances in cargo ships.

The information summarised in ADN 3.2 Table C applies to transporting hazardous substances in tankers.

This distinction between transportation in cargo ships or tankers requires consideration when determining the correct transport conditions, determining the signal display and reporting the correct substance names. BICS takes this into consideration when entering hazardous substances. The software displays the hazardous substances and the associated data from the correct ADN table based on the type of ship.

This means that only the substances in Table A will be displayed for cargo ships and that only the substances in Table C will appear for tankers. If required, the advanced search functionality (the magnifying glass) can be used to make a selection from the complete list of all hazardous substances. Using this facility allows you to search the total hazardous substance list based on the search criteria (values) you have entered.

The screen below shows an example of how this filtering mechanism works when selecting hazardous substances in the user interface (in this case based on a cargo ship, i.e. Table A substances):
Example: Selection of hazardous substances 
Example: Selection of hazardous substances.

When importing a voyage (via BICS import format or as an XML file), the hazardous substances are also retrieved based on the type of ship. This means that the ship's body must have been defined within BICS, or that the ship type is passed in the import file.

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BICS automatically calculates a number of values and enters them for you. For example, the total length and width of a combination (sailing unit). However, you can change this information; when you change this information, the calculated values are crossed out in the display (to indicate that you have changed the values).

For example: 110.00 versus 90.50 => means that the user has overwritten 90.50 with a value of the 110.00 and that the latter value will be used by BICS.

You may encounter crossed-out values in the following areas in BICS:

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How can I quickly view the voyage and cargo data that I have entered and/or notified?

The transport document provides a comprehensive summary of the voyage that you have entered and/or notified (including cargo information and message communication). You can retrieve this document as a PDF and open it with a PDF-reader (for printing via the PDF reader program) or email it.

You can retrieve and view the Transport document from the (expanded) voyage screen, as described in "Viewing voyage, cargo information" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How can I print or email the voyage and cargo data that I have entered and/or notified?

The Transport Document is the easiest way of transferring the complete information for a voyage to another involved party. The Transport document is a PDF document that contains the complete information for a voyage. Having retrieved this PDF document, you can email it to the other party e.g. your charterer.

You can retrieve, print and email the Transport document from the (expanded) voyage screen, as described in "Viewing voyage, cargo information" in de sectie "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How can I export, remove and/or archive my voyages?

You can obviously remove voyages when you no longer need them. Doing so removes all of the related information from BICS. You should consider exporting the voyage using the export function (for archiving purposes) before removing a voyage. You can only remove a "Planned" or "Closed" voyage. You can close a voyage if its status is "Notified" or "Not notified" (see also "How can I edit, cancel and/or close a voyage that has been entered and/or notified?"). You can also archive voyages in BICS in the Advanced Mode.

Example screen Voyage status closed (removal, archiving possible)
Example: The starting point from the "Closed" tab for editing a voyage (i.e. copying, exporting, removing it)

To export a voyage, you proceed as follows:

  • Open the voyage you want to export in the Dashboard.
  • In the expanded voyage display, select the "Export" button and select either "ASCII" or "XML". If you wish to archive your information (externally), we recommend you to use the XML (export) format.
  • (The export file is now created in the download directory in your browser, generally the Download folder for the user).
  • Copy the export file to your own archive directory on your computer.

Exporting a voyage is possible regardless of the voyage's status. This feature allows you to make a back-up copy of your entries at any time.

To remove a voyage, you proceed as follows:

Example screen Working with folders in BICS (Advanced Mode)
Example: The starting point from the "Folders" tab for archiving voyages (Advanced Mode)

In the Advanced Mode in BICS, you can also archive voyages within BICS itself (see Differences between the Basic and Advanced modes). Here again, you can only archive "Closed" voyages. The archive functionality allows you to create personal folders and store the voyages within BICS. Obviously, you can export and/or remove the archived voyages later on.

  • The main difference between archiving in BICS and archiving via exporting is that:
  • On the tab called "Folders, archived", create a new folder using the "New folder" button.
  • Click the folder called "Not archived" to open it and then click the voyage you want to archive.
  • Click the “Move dossier” button.
  • Select the folder to which you want to move the dossier in order to archive this voyage.

(For further information, refer to "Folder structure management" in the BICS Manual".)

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Import and Export.



How can I import information (manually) in BICS?

BICS allows you to import voyages from external software packages (e.g. a stowage program or a navigation program). The availability of an interface like this avoids having to retype the information from the external program in BICS.

BICS offers a facility for automatically interfacing with the external program so that you only have to add information to the voyage in BICS and then notify it.

The other option is a manual procedure; an export file is created in the external program, which you then manually import into BICS and process further as if you had entered a voyage. Make sure that you know the location to which the external program writes the export files; you need to specify this directory in BICS in the (manual) Import dialogue.

Please contact your supplier for more information about interfacing options and how external programs collaborate with BICS. If you have any specific questions about BICS, please do not hesitate to contact the BICS Helpdesk.

In BICS, you can (manually) import voyage information in the following parts of the program:

After selecting the import activity, the following dialogue appears in which you can select the file you wish to import and the format for the import file.

Example of BICS import dialogue for importing voyages 
Example: Import dialogue.

After activating the "Import" procedure, the specified file is imported in the chosen format. If an error occurs, an error message appears and you are prompted to correct the file first. Information will only be stored in BICS if no errors have occurred.

Note:

  • in order to import new voyages, the import file must satisfy the specifications for a new voyage; e.g. the dossier number in the import file must be set to 0, amongst other things.
  • If you wish to import information into an existing voyage, the import file must satisfy the specifications for an existing voyage and the dossier number in the import file must match the dossier in question.

(Generally, the external program that creates the import file offers provisions for satisfying these conditions.)

If errors arise during the import procedure, you can find tips on this topic in "Import errors are present in the log" en "Import error messages due to missing ship's body data". If you have any problems, please contact the BICS Helpdesk.

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Import procedures do not work on all tablets!

A tablet differs from a normal computer in many ways. This means that some tablets (e.g. an Apple iPad) are unable to access external files (for importing), meaning that the import function does not operate correctly.

However, you can use the normal manual import and main functionalities in BICS on your tablet via an HTML-5 compatible browser (see "How do I make BICS accessible on my own network" for details of how to make your BICS installation accessible for use on your tablet).

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Import errors are present in the system.log file!

If an error occurs when importing voyage, cargo information (via the .rei or .xml files), the user is informed and the (technical) details such as the error messages will be recorded in the system.log file.

Example screen Import errors 
Example: Import errors (see \BICS2\current\log\system\system.log).

The system.log file containing import error messages can be found in the following directory on the computer where BICS is installed: "\BICS2\current\log\system\". The messages in the log file are technical in nature, but may help you and/or the Helpdesk to analyse the problem and resolve it.

You can open the system.log file using any text editor. You can find import error messages by looking for lines after the date/time that start with:

"INFO  fileimport.SpaImportController      Exception occured during ASCII import: BicsAsciiException{undefined value, lineNr=1, fieldNr=8, lineIndicator=A}"

The error message indicates the line (lineNr=) and field (fieldNr=) where an error was detected. You can try to rectify the error in the source import file, or you can send this error message and the import file to the party that delivered the file (or to the supplier of the associated application that interfaces with BICS). If you have any problems, please contact the BICS Helpdesk.

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Import error messages for hazardous substances, triggered by the lack of essential ship's body information!

When a voyage is imported with one or more hazardous substances, the import file may be rejected. One cause of this error is that the ship type for the ship's body in which the load is transported is not known. BICS uses the ship's body to determine which ADN table is to be used.

The reason for this is that when importing voyage and hazardous cargo information (via BICS import .rei and .xml files), the ship type is required in order to identify the correct hazardous substance (see also "Selecting hazardous substances").

The solution means that the Ship's body (ship or barge) with the associated ship type must be known within BICS or that the ship's body type must be passed in the import file.

You can avoid this problem, or resolve this problem by creating the ship's bodies which are used in the import file in BICS (one-off procedure) and making additions as necessary (see "Creating ship's bodies" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start menu")

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How do I export a voyage?

You can export voyages that you have entered in a number of formats. You can save the voyage data as a file on your computer or external (back-up) hard disk for archiving or re-use (via Import).

The procedure for exporting voyages has already been described in "How can I export, remove and/or archive my voyages?".

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Updates in BICS.



The automatic Update function in BICS (explanation).

There are three kinds of updates within BICS; the program itself (software update), configuration data and reference data. The status of these different updates is shown in the BICS Dashboard display:

Example screen Update Reference Data (first time, at initial start-up)
Example: BICS Update pane (showing available updates)

BICS regularly checks whether updates are available. When an update is available, this is displayed in the same screen (Update pane) and a button for installing the update appears in the "Action" column.

In the case of Configuration data and Reference data, you use the "Update" button to carry out this task. After successful installation of the update, a new version or date will appear in the "current version" column.

You can only install software updates on the computer where you originally installed the BICS software (the BICS server). The procedure for this can be found under  "Start installation update" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Installing BICS".

Note: checking for updates and downloading updates may only be carried out when the connection status is displayed as "Good connection" and updating is only possible if you have adequate rights.

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Forcing a complete new download of the Reference data (update)!

BICS offers a facility for a complete new download of the Reference data. A (complete new) download of the Reference data may be required in special cases if you have not performed certain Updates. This option ensures that you always have access to the most recent reference data in BICS after the update.

Example screen System settings 
Example: System settings (forced Reference data update via Advanced settings)

The procedure for the forced Reference data update is as follows:

  • Activate the Advanced settings via "Settings => System settings => Advanced settings => Change" (see the above screen).
  • Activate the "Reference data update task: complete update" option":
  • Example screen Forcing Reference data updates 
    (This option is not available if a recent reference data update has been processed)
  • Make sure that communication is possible and that the connection level is displayed as "Good connection".
  • A forced reference data update is now performed (requires between 5 and 15 minutes).

 

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Communication.



How does BICS communicate (data transmission)?

The BICS software consists of a number of components; primarily the two "services" that run in the background on your computer. You use your browser to connect to these services in order to enter and notify your voyages.

These BICS services communicate periodically in the background (when the computer is on, even if you are not logged on) with Rijkswaterstaat systems to determine the quality of the connection, whether updates are available and whether there are any confirmations for your voyage notifications. 

The current status of the connection is normally determined at regular intervals (setting "Automatically detect connection level") and indicated by Voorbeeldscherm Verbinding handmatig instellen , which you can find at the top left of the BICS dashboard screen. The frequency and scope of operation are based on the connection level.

If required, you can also set the connection level manually. For example: if you want to avoid communication (unnecessary data transmission), you can manually change the status of the connection (see "Switch off data transmission in BICS!").

The meaning of the indicator and how you can set the connection status manually is described in detail in "Manually setting data communication" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How do I limit data traffic (switch off data transmission in BICS)?

BICS regularly performs a background check to determine the quality of your Internet connection and whether updates are available. When sailing in an area with poor network coverage, or in order to reduce international roaming costs, you can manually set the connection to "Bad connection". When this setting applies, BICS will no longer perform measurements and check for updates. However, no messages can be sent either.

Proceed as follows to implement this setting:

  • Click the connection level indicator (icon at the top left:  Example screen Manually setting connection).
  • Select the "Bad connection" option (= no communication)
  • Click "Save" (connection level will change to "Bad connection).

Note: do not forget to set the connection level back to "Automatic detection" or "Good connection" when you want to use BICS or when you want to notify a voyage.

The procedure for manually setting communication and the various options are described in detail in "Manually setting data communication" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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What statuses are assigned to a voyage in BICS (how can I see whether it has been notified and confirmed)?

The procedure for submitting (notifying) a voyage has been described in the section entitled "Notifying and submitting a voyage" (menu, Using BICS => Quick start guide).

A voyage has been notified if its status is shown as "Notified", as is the case in the example below:
Example screen Voyage notified
The sequential status changes that are assigned when notifying a voyage are shown in this diagram diagram and can be summarised as follows:

  • A voyage is assigned "Planned" as its status after it has been entered.
  • A voyage is assigned "Busy notifying" as its status after it has been sent.
    • When a voyage has been sent successfully, a date and time appear in the Sent field.
    • When a notified voyage has been confirmed, a date and time appear in the Answer field.

  • A voyage is assigned "Notified" as its status when:
    • An answer (confirmation) has been received in the situation where the (receiving) authority's system is capable of sending back an answer in confirmation. (Whether or not the receiving system is capable of sending answers is automatically configured for you in BICS).
    • The message has been sent in the situation where the (receiving) authority's system does not send back an answer.

  • A voyage is assigned "Not notified" as its status when:
    • A negative answer (rejection) is received.
    • The voyage message cannot be sent successfully or delivered to the authority.

You can view information about your communication for each voyage (summary of all of the messages sent for each voyage) by printing the Transport document. The procedure for printing a Transport document is described in "Viewing voyage and cargo data (printing)" (menu "Using BICS => Quick start guide").

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How do I send log information from BICS (e.g. to the BICS Helpdesk)?

If problems arise when using BICS, you can always contact the BICS Helpdesk for support.

If you are subject to mandatory reporting and you are unable to comply with the requirements for mandatory electronic reporting with BICS, you can request support from the BICS Helpdesk 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (outside the stated business hours, only for emergencies relating to mandatory electronic reporting in combination with BICS).

In some cases, the Helpdesk will ask you to send BICS log information (log files). The procedure is as follows:

  • Click the "Help" button in the BICS dashboard display.
  • Click "Send log file" for the log file that you want to send
  • Enter the email address to which you want to send the file.
  • Click Send email 

(Please only do so if the Helpdesk asks you to send log information)

The procedure for sending log information (by email) is also described in detail in "Sending log information" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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Busy downloading/updating or notifying, but nothing seems to be happening?

When download problems arise (during updates) or it appears that BICS is not doing anything, or if no messages are sent, BICS may have lost connection with the Internet. In that situation, BICS tries continuously to establish a connection and may appear to 'have frozen'.

If this happens, check whether your Internet connection is operational and whether the connection status is displayed as "Good connection" in BICS. See also  "Voyage has frozen and can no longer be edited".

More information about manually changing the connection level is provided in "Viewing voyage, cargo information (printing)" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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How can I request a summary (as proof) of my communication in BICS (the list of outgoing messages)?

When problems arise with voyage notification and you require a summary of your voyage, including all of the message traffic, your best course of action is to print a Transport document. To do so, proceed as follows:

  • Open the voyage in the BICS dashboard.
  • Click the “Print” button.
  • This generates a PDF containing all of the information (which may also be displayed).

More information about printing is provided in "Viewing voyage, cargo information (printing)" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

If necessary, for example if you wish to demonstrate that you have tried to send a message, you can also send the communication log file, see "Sending log information" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide". 

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Known problems.



I am unable to install BICS (unexpected error and/or the installation process freezes).

Proceed as follows if you cannot install BICS successfully, or the installation procedure stops at the end each time, or an unexpected error arises:

  • Make sure that the system complies with the minimum system requirements (is the operating system supported?).
  • Make sure that no other applications, browsers or file management systems are open during installation (all applications).
  • If you use a virus scanner, make sure that it is not blocking the installation process and, if necessary, instruct the virus scanner to trust the BICS installation program.
  • Restart the computer and try again.

If the installation problem has still not been solved after performing these actions, please contact the BICS Helpdesk.

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Files are/remain in use, which prevents you from installing, reinstalling or de-installing BICS

If problems arise with files that are in use when (re-)installing or de-installing BICS, we advise you to restart the computer and try again.

In addition, you must also close all other (open) programs (Internet browsers, file management programs, editors, etc.) and BICS (all users must log off) in order to avoid a situation where specific components are in use/busy during the installation procedure.

If this does not help, you can try manually STOPPING the BICS services.

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BICS can no longer be started or displays an empty screen!

If problems arise when starting up BICS and you see an error message or an empty screen in your browser, the cause may be as follows:

  • There may be problems with the BICS services, which are not running (any more), i.e. you have stopped them and not restarted them, or they have failed in some way.
  • In that case, try to restart the computer or start the BICS services up again manually.
  • You are using a browser that is not supported (e.g. Internet Explorer 8 in Windows XP, which does not support HTML 5, see also the minimum system requirements).
  • If this is the case, try to install a different browser such as: Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
  • BICS has needlessly opened an additional (new) tag in your browser.
  • Check whether an extra empty new tab has been opened in your browser. This is sometimes caused by actions in BICS in combination with certain browsers (e.g. installing an Update). If so, you can close the empty tab in your browser and continue the procedure in the original tab

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A voyage (the dossier) has frozen and can no longer be edited!

If problems arise with a voyage which prevent it from being edited in BICS, it has somehow got caught in an (unintended) loop. Probably due to communication problems or errors, which make it impossible to deliver the message that has been sent. The voyage is unable to progress past the "Busy notifying" status and is effectively frozen. As a result, you are unable to notify any following voyages for the same ship, because the previous voyage cannot be closed automatically.

When caused by communication errors, you can resolve this frozen voyage problem as follows:

  • Make sure that the BICS application is able to communicate or set the connection level manually to "Good connection".
  • After the communication has been set in this way, BICS will attempt to force message sending regardless of whether it is possible or not.
  • If the message can now be sent successfully, the voyage's status will change to "notified" or you can manually confirm or reject the voyage.
  • If the message cannot be sent successfully after a pre-set number of attempts, the message will be assigned "rejected" as its status and the voyage status becomes "not notified".
  • Forcing BICS to communicate may lead to a time-out and the voyage will return to an editable state.
  • After the message has or has not been delivered, the voyage becomes accessible again (editable) and you can correct the voyage, notify it again or close it and remove it.

For more details, please refer to "Manually setting data communication" in the section entitled "Using BICS => Quick start guide".

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I am unable to send a voyage notification (electronic notification), what should I do?.

A voyage message has only been sent to the selected authority when a date and time appear in the Sent field, as shown below:
Example screen Voyage notified
If a date and time appear in the Answer field, this means that you have also received confirmation of your notification from the waterway manager or authority in question (note: not all waterway managers/authorities send back answers).
The section entitled "Notifying a voyage" (menu, "Using BICS => Quick start guide") provides a detailed explanation of the statuses sequence in combination with sending messages.

If you are not able to send a specific voyage, you can proceed as follows:

  • Check the connection level (communication) in BICS; is this shown as "Good connection"? If not, set the connection manually to "Good connection" (see the section on manually setting data communication).
  • Check the communication error messages that are passed back after the message has been sent by BICS. These error messages appear in the expanded voyage screen
    Example screen Message rejected.
    or you can look for the most recent error messages in the BICS communication log file in the "\BICS2\current\log\comm\" directory.
    Some possible faults:
    • There is no (mobile) connection to the Internet: Check whether you can use the Internet in the normal manner; if not, the connection to the Internet is down. Mobile Internet may have failed temporarily, or there may be no service. Try again later.
    • The messages service cannot be accessed: The messages service mail server may be temporarily unavailable. Try again later.
    • Authentication failed: Your Messages service account details (user name, password) have been set incorrectly. Reconfigure your Messages service account (see "Changing Messages service account").
    • Connection refused: Messages cannot be delivered to the specified messages service for technical reasons. Reconfigure your Messages service account. If the problem continues, please contact the BICS Helpdesk.

  • Check your virus scanner settings. Communication may be blocked by your virus scanner; see "Problems with virus scanners".
  • You can try restarting the computer and checking whether the communication connection status is shown as "Good connection" (set manually if necessary).

    After restarting, try to notify the 'problem' voyage again. .

  • You can enter a copy of the voyage and try to notify that copy. To do so, simply copy the 'problem' voyage using the Copy button in the expanded voyage screen.

Refer to the tip entitled "Frequently asked questions about mandatory electronic reporting" for extra information about what to do if you are unable to comply with mandatory electronic reporting).

Refer to the tip entitled "How can I request a summary (as proof) of my communication in BICS" for details of how you can demonstrate that you have at least attempted to send messages using BICS.

If you are subject to mandatory reporting and you are unable to comply with the requirements for mandatory electronic reporting with BICS, you can request support from the BICS Helpdesk 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (outside the stated business hours, only for emergencies relating to mandatory electronic reporting in combination with BICS).

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Problems with virus scanners that block installation of/communication with BICS!

Some virus scanners may block installation of BICS or prevent communication (sending messages).

If the virus scanner blocks installation of BICS, you can generally indicate that the BICS installation file can be trusted in the virus scanner. Or you can temporarily disable the virus scanner when installing BICS.

If the virus scanner blocks communication, you generally have to instruct the virus scanner that communication with BICS can be trusted. If you are not able to resolve this problem, please contact the Helpdesk for further assistance.

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Problems starting BICS under Windows XP or Windows 10!

It is possible that BICS not start using the default shortcut or the Start menu. This usually has to do with the fact that the default browser does not support BICS or has certain restrictions / protections.

The following issues are known:

  • BICS is not working with Windows XP, not with the Internet Explorer, because the outdated IE version 8 is not suitable for BICS.
  • Under Windows 10 it may occur that BICS does not start with the (new) standard "Edge" browser, because there are restrictions for accessing the address http://localhost

Microsoft Edge (browser) runs with network isolation by default for security reasons (localhost acces is restricted).

To enable localhost access use the configuration URL: "about:flags" in the Edge browser and set the option 'Allow localhost loopback'.

Or to enable loopback and localhost access run the following command from an elevated shell if you have 10158 or newer:
   CheckNetIsolation LoopbackExempt -a -n=Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe
or this one if you have an older version (using the Spartan browser):
  CheckNetIsolation LoopbackExempt -a -n=Microsoft.Windows.Spartan_cw5n1h2txyewy
You can enable localhost loopback support using about:flags in the URL.

We recommend you if BICS does not start with the default browser, try using an alternative browser, such as: Mozila Firefox or Google Chrome.

If you are unable to start using alternative methods BICS, then you should contact the Helpdesk for further assistance.

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