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The adoption of digital technologies is now increasing within the global container shipping industry as new technologies prove themselves to offer greater visibility, overcoming the current challenges of poor data, information silos and high costs being faced by the industry. The ‘New Technologies to Optimise the Container Logistics Market’ Forum will take place at Intermodal Asia 2018, exploring the progress made so far and looking to the future for platform collaboration and digitisation in container logistics. Given the continued slowdown in the global economy, technology has become an important driver for growth and for many traditional industry players, the message is to either upgrade to compete effectively or risk being left behind.
“Technology is a two-edged sword” explains Abhineet Kaul, Director of Public Sector & Government Consulting at Frost & Sullivan, who will chair the forum. “While it has disrupted the way in which we interact with each other, it has created opportunities for efficiencies and new business model.”
Keynote speaker Mr. Douglas Owen, Secretary General of Bureau International des Containers (BIC) will present an update on the non-profit data service ‘BoxTech Global Container Database’. The fast-growing database, which already includes the technical characteristics of more than 30% of the global container fleet, is continually evolving to meet the needs of the shipping industry. The session will give an overview of a number of new functions which will help shippers save time and enable equipment owners to register container sales and flag units with exception alerts.
“BoxTech is a platform for a modern industry. It allows container owners and operators to register their container assets, providing a much-needed single-source of data for carriers and shippers, terminals and depots, banks and investors, and of course, tech and other solution providers” explains Owen. “We feel BoxTech has an important role to play as the industry turns increasingly to digitalization as a way to become more efficient.”
Digital technology opens the door for carriers to strengthen their direct relationships with end customers, further reducing their costs and allowing them to pursue new revenue streams beyond traditional shipping services. Mr. Johannes Schlingmeier and Mr. Christian Roeloff, Managing Directors of Container xChange will present a session entitled ‘Trust your network: how big data and the power of the crowd helps businesses find trusted partners’, giving background on how the xChange vetting and rating process works and how companies can make best use of this in their daily processes. The session will also provide a deep insight into how “trust” is created in networks such as xChange and how this can be used most efficiently in container logistics.“
One of the key challenges all companies in container shipping and logistics face in their day-to-day operations is the significant cost of repositioning of empty containers: about $300-500m for a mid-sized global ocean carrier and $15-20bn for the industry as a whole” states Roeloffs. “One third of this cost can be addressed by balancing out liner-specific imbalances through the exchange of equipment between companies.”
As more companies start introducing new technologies to their operations, there are still many questions in need of answers. Not only is it vital that other parties collaborate in order for these technologies to function optimally, the handling of the vast amounts of data is also something to be considered.“
Whilst we’re still somewhat behind other industries in deploying data analytics and digitalization, shipping is slowly opening to embrace technology and (collaborative) data-driven business models” explains Schlingmeier. “A key challenge will be to figure out which steps of the value chain can be digitized most effectively by which type of technology.”
Mr. Glenn Liao, Managing Director – Asia at Catapult - An Accelya Group Company, will discuss ‘Digitizing freight rates in one centralised platform to improve visibility throughout the supply chain’. Based on the simple idea that ‘global freight rate management and getting an accurate quote shouldn’t be so difficult’, Catapult offer solutions that have reinvented how the global shipping industry manages freight rates and contracts through a variety of products. In addition, Nidhi Gupta, Co-Founder and Director, Portcast will also present the session ‘Strengthening container logistics through Internet of Things, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence’.
As well as the opportunity to attend the two-day conference, visitors to Intermodal Asia 2018 will have the opportunity to meet a number of global and local technology solution providers within the three-day exhibition, including: BIC, CIMC Intelligent Technology, DAI, East China Normal University, Emerson Climate Technologies, Global Smart Container Alliance (GSCA), ISO Tank, Jiangsu RRO Network Technology, Nexiot, Nuctech, Pacific Lines, Shen Joint Technology, Traxens, Unipool Supply Chain Management and Wuchangwang.