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CCS-UK IPStream Replacement

Date: Nov 01 2012
CCS-UK IPStream Replacement

Albacore are the biggest independent supplier of managed connections to UK port community systems and have been supplying fast reliable connections to CNS, MCP and Pentant since 2004.

For CCSUK we offer a fully managed CCS-UK VPN connection (Albacore CCS-UK Indirect) which is cheaper, more reliable and more versatile than the current IPStream.

Main features of Albacore CCS-UK Indirect:


  • Free setup and free engineering visit to configure the connection
  • 3G backup
  • 24/7 UK helpdesk
  • Enterprise level Cisco 887VA router with managed firewall
  • Out-of-band router access
  • Upgradable to provide Internet access, email, and remote access
  • Upgradable to provide CNS, MCP & Pentant access
  • Future proof – ready for latest fibre technologies


Please consult the Q&A below which should answer any questions you may have. If you need any more information on any aspect of the migration process or how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

CCS-UK Migration Programme: Questions and Answers.

Why do I need to change my CCS-UK connection? It seems to work OK as it is!

BT are withdrawing support for the “IPStream” service you currently use, as part of their plans to modernise their network in the UK. Before this migration, there was no choice but to have a direct connection from BT to allow CCS-UK customers access to CHIEF, but with this migration 2 methods of connection have been offered – Direct or Indirect. This means all CCS-UK customers must choose a Direct or Indirect connection before the end of February 2013, and migrate to this connection before IPStream is withdrawn in their area of the UK.

What are these Direct and Indirect connections all about?

A Direct connection is very much like the current IPStream connection. BT will arrange a new line to be installed at your premises, and they will configure the service at their end and send you a router box to plug in and connect to your network. BT then manage the connection. An Indirect connection allows you to connect to CCS-UK securely over the Internet, if you have the right hardware and the right type of Internet connection. Albacore are offering to provide this hardware and the correct type of Internet connection to you, saving you money over the BT Direct connection, and we can offer much more than just access to CCS-UK with our connection. For starters, we include an onsite engineering visit to install the router and check everything works at your site, and then 24/7 UK based telephone support after that.

Can’t I just do it over the Internet?

CCS-UK have understandably specified that connections into their network need to be secure. It takes a certain type of Internet connection and the creation of a VPN between that Internet connection and the CCS-UK system to make an Indirect connection work.

Can’t you just make it work on my existing Internet connection?

We probably could, but in order to properly support our connection, we provide enterprise class Cisco equipment, a dedicated phone line, and a business class Internet service on that phone line. This means we are in the best position to troubleshoot the connection in the unlikely event of a fault, and we’ve been providing exactly this type of managed connection for over 10 years – in short, we know what makes a stable and secure connection, and you benefit from our experience.

Who are Albacore?

Albacore have been providing IT services and supporting Freight and logistics industry systems for over 20 years. We are based in Southampton, but have a national onsite presence. We run a helpdesk staffed by knowledgeable engineers, and pride ourselves on doing our utmost to provide the fastest possible resolution to problems for our customers. We are associate members of BIFA, and founder members of the AFSS.

How much money can you save me?

We are pricing our Indirect connection at the same level as the current BT IPStream connection. That means you save up to £350pa on the pricing of the new BT Direct connection. Because we can offer other services on the same line as the Indirect CCS-UK connection, you can use us for Internet access and other Internet services as well, potentially saving your organisation more money.

Which connection method is more reliable?

The Albacore Indirect connection, because of its flexibility, has the potential to be more reliable. The BT Direct connection is supported end to end by BT, and you have access to their support team in case of problems. With an Albacore Indirect connection, the connection is provided and supported by Albacore from end to end, and you have access to our UK helpdesk in case of problems. We have better access to the hardware at your site than BT and can provide quicker out-of-band access to you in case of a prolonged outage, because we don’t rely on the standard BT SLA. We also have an onsite capability if required, and we have many years of experience of troubleshooting and fixing connections for customers in the freight industry.

What else can I do with an Albacore Indirect connection?

We can offer a number of optional services such as internet access, connections to CNS, MCP and Pentant, email services, domain names, managed and secure wireless access, redundant links, system support and maintenance, and our freight specific backup and connection testing software. Our connection can replace your existing broadband connection entirely.

How much is it?

An Albacore Indirect connection is £600pa if you pay annually. When you add on the £1000 that is paid to CCS-UK, that makes it cheaper than the current BT IPStream connection, and £350pa cheaper than the new BT Direct connection (BT price £1950pa). We can also set up a quarterly direct debit and the price for this is £155 per quarter, or £620pa, the same price as the existing BT IPStream connection, and still saving £330pa on the BT Direct connection. Both payment options include a free onsite engineering visit – you don’t get this with the BT Direct connection.

What do I need to get an Indirect connection?

Let us know that you intend to use an Albacore Indirect connection, and then return the CCS-UK Connection order form (pages 1 and 2 only), putting “TBA via Albacore” in the customer required by date (CRD). Apart from that, very little! We will arrange installation of provide a phone line, install a business class Internet service on that line, and visit to install our router and make your connection works with your entry software.

How do you know my connection is working?

We monitor all our managed connections from our office. This system has a dashboard that we can see in our office, and the monitoring system alerts us automatically when a connection is down or suffering degraded quality.

Why are you offering this service?

We have a considerable portfolio of existing customers who use Albacore managed connections to connect to CNS, MCP and Pentant. Now that customers of the CCS-UK system can employ this model via the Indirect connection, we can provide connectivity to all UK ports and airports, and offer better value and support than the BT Direct service.

What kind of DR provisions can you provide?

Should there be an extended outage on the managed connection, we have a variety of options available to us that are only available for Albacore Indirect customers. For example, we can provide a mobile internet backup capability, and we work pro-actively with our ISP to minimise the duration of outages. From our experience providing connections to the freight industry and supporting freight software solutions, the current BT IPStream connection is only as reliable as any broadband connection, and because the support offered can be inferior, this can lengthen outages should they occur.

What hardware do you provide?

We provide a Cisco 887VA router, as well as a dialup modem for out of band access to the router. This setup allows us to fix problems faster by finding out exactly where the connection is failing. This hardware can be supplied with a trailer socket to enable you to plug the equipment into a UPS if required.

Does the router have to be assigned a CCS-UK IP scheme?

We can configure the Indirect Albacore connection to match your existing network scheme. The direct connection doesn’t offer this.

I already use Albacore for my CNS/MCP/Pentant connectivity, what do I need to do?

Please contact us – we have special deals in place for existing customers.

How do I get more information or place an order?

Please call us on 023 8073 7100, or fill out the contact form on our website at www.albacore.co.uk; we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

CCS-UK Migration Programme: Glossary.

CCS-UK (Cargo Community System UK) – Computerised cargo processing system operating at the following UK airports: Aberdeen, Belfast (International and City) Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heathrow, Gatwick, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Prestwick and Stansted. Managed by BT Air Logistics Programme (ALP).

CNS (Community Network Services) – Southampton based CSP operating at the ports of Southampton, Tilbury, Manchester, Heathrow Courier operations, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds, Chatham, Reading, Ipswich, Belfast, Ramsgate, Cardiff & Newport, Shoreham, Poole, Hull, Immingham, Goole, King’s Lynn and Portsmouth. CNS operate the Compass system.

MCP (Maritime Cargo Processing) – Felixstowe based CSP operating at the ports of Bristol, Grangemouth and Tilbury, Liverpool, Medway Ports & Greenock, Aberdeen, Felixstowe, London Thamesport, Harwich and Ipswich & Immingham. MCP operate the Destin8 system.

CSP (Community System Provider) – A company authorised by HMRC to provide connectivity to the UK Customs system (CHIEF) and port or airport inventory services. Examples include CNS, MCP, Pentant and CCS-UK.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) – Secure tunnel created between 2 locations over the public internet to secure network traffic passing between those points.

CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) – HMRC central system where all UK Import and Export movements are processed.

BIFA (British International Freight Association) – Body representing the UK International freight services industry.

AFSS (Association of Freight Software Suppliers) – Body representing suppliers of software to the freight and transportation industry.

SLA – (Service Level Agreement) – Part of a service contract where the level of service is formally defined.

DR (Disaster Recovery) – A plan that covers the data, hardware and software critical for a business to restart operations in the event of a disaster.