Maritime-based Supply Chains Leadership Group

On 26-27th November GS1 led a workshop on the challenges for maritime-based supply chains and how improved information and data exchange standards could help overcoming them. Participants included global shippers, carriers, ports, IT vendors and others. Maritime is responsible for 2/3 of all cargo carried by any mode anywhere in the world. Customers are expecting to know where their goods are regardsless of transport mode. Reliability & predictability of services is key. However there still is a lot of manual processes to capture necessary data and data fragmentations is paramount esp. at intermodal synchronization points. Big data, analytics, AI, machine learning, IoT: All these new developments are promising improvements, but we are not there yet. More than ever quality of service of carriers and LSPs is under pressure since carrier price levels appear to be the best indicator of the shipments' reliability - not hurricanes and strikes.

A recent study from the International Transport Forum showed the Maritime Mode handles two thirds of all transportation (measured in tonne-kilometres). The same report also showed that transportation would triple by 2050. At the same time Supply Chains are becoming more and more demanding (driven by Consumer and Customer expectation), which means traditional siloed approaches to organising Supply Chains are no longer able to deal with the complexities and current demands of the Customers for transportation and supply chain services. Some large shippers have started to set up their own end-to-end Supply Chains mostly because they feel current Supply Chains (including the Maritime one) are not serving them well enough.

The main challenges identified in many studies and reports lie in the lack of synchronisation of activities of the various stakeholders throughout the Supply Chain and in particular in the “hand-over” points (ports, terminals, cross-docks, warehouses) within the Supply Chain. The industry has widely recognised these challenges. Several initiatives have emerged that intend to address those challenges. International Taskforce Port Call Optimization has addressed and is continuing to address improving the processes around vessels calling upon ports. Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is starting to look at the Supply Chain for intermodal container cargo flows. Those initiatives have stated their commitment to adopt global open standards as foundation for the improvements they intend to deliver.

So far, there is no initiative to connect all these threads for improvements for parts of the Logistics Networks that rely on the Maritime Mode and weave them into a strong and attractive cloth. GS1 has organized a workshop on 26 & 27 November in Brussels to bring together all stakeholders in the end-to-end Supply Chain. The main aim is to determine the interest of the stakeholders to set up and participate in a Leadership Group that will set direction and coordinate the development of global open standards that all stakeholders across the Supply Chain may commonly use. The Leadership Group should be a fair representation of all stakeholders in the Maritime Supply Chains. Think of Beneficial Cargo Owners, freight forwarders, shipping lines, port authorities, hinterland operators such as road hauliers, rail cargo operators, inland waterway operators, short sea operators, inland terminals and warehousing operations as well as solution providers (e.g. for AIS, PCS, Supply Chain Visibility and so on).

Logit One is happy to contribute to this initiative and make logistics more efficient and reliable.


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