Shipping and Logistics Needs Protection from Cyber Threat After Costly Attacks

Following the extremely costly cyber attacks on the Maersk, Clarkson and COSCO operations this year the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) has gathered together some heavy hitting stakeholders from the legal and logistics sectors to help in drafting its first ever cyber security clause for the benefit of ship owners and other related freight and shipping interests.

Inga Froysa of chartering specialist Klaveness, Oslo is leading a team which includes Navig8 ship management, marine insurance experts the UK P&I Club and international lawyers HFW. The aim is to produce a clause able to deal with cyber security risks and incidents that might affect the ability of one of the parties to perform their contractual obligations. It will necessitate the parties having plans and procedures in place capable of protecting computer systems and data and of responding immediately to any cyber intrusions.

An affected party will have to inform others immediately to enable them to take counter-measures and it will be drafted to cover a range of stakeholders, not just ship operators but inclusive of a range of third-party service providers, such as brokers and agents. The liability of the parties to each other for claims is limited to an amount agreed during negotiations. A sum of $100,000 will apply if no other amount is inserted.

The range of the clause is twofold, firstly it is aimed at raising the awareness of cyber risks among owners, charterers and brokers. Its main purpose is to ensure contracted parties are prepared for a cyber-incident, have suitable protective and reactive measures and can mitigate any damage swiftly. The new clause is due to be published in May 2019.

In the early stages of development, the drafting team discussed if the clause should also address payment fraud. It was concluded that the risk of this increasingly common fraud is probably best dealt with at a procedural level by companies tightening up their internal payment procedures to require verification of any changes to payment details.

The HFW legal team working on the clause is led by senior associate William MacLachlan and also includes partners Elinor Dautlich and Toby Stephens and associate Henry Clack. William MacLachlan observed:

“As the shipping industry wrestles with how to respond to the cyber threat, this clause aims to lay down a benchmark for cyber security measures and explicitly address the question of liability for a cyber security incident. We are pleased to have been able to support BIMCO, the other members of the drafting sub-committee and the shipping community generally on this important and topical point, and look forward to seeing how it is taken up and implemented by the industry.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

The rail industry positions itself within refrigerated transport

There is increasing pressure both from the political sphere and from the shippers themselves to favor rail transport and intermodality, a trend that also has been reflected in refrigerated transport.

Statistical records indicate that the presence of the railroad in the transport of goods in Spain is purely testimonial, both in terms of volumes transported and the modal share.

The National Institute of Statistics calculated that last year private operators and Renfe transported a total of 27,914,502 tons, 5.3% more than in 2016. This number is still far from the record obtained in 2015, when the rail transport of goods in the country reached its maximum historical level, both of which are tiny when compared to the volumes that this mode moves in other European countries.

Specifically, last year, 1,915,972 tons of agricultural and livestock products were transported by rail, 9.1% less than in 2016, as well as 370,172 tons of food products. These numbers are small, but they show an annual growth of 63.7%.

Likewise, the rail transport of food products has grown in Spain by 39% annually in 2016, 19% in 2015 and 3% in 2014.

In 2010, 211,238 tons of foodstuffs were transported and in 2017, as mentioned above, 370,172 tons were reached, showing a significant increase of 75.24%, although the quantities are small and favour spectacular growth.

Similarly, in 2010 the railway moved 1,477,257 tons of agricultural and livestock products, which means that between that year and 2017 there has also been an increase of 29.7%.

Both statistics, despite their small volumes, have their importance, especially when compared with the downward trend of other products and the rail way itself.

To the scarce infrastructure existing in Spain, the low commercial speed of this way is united and a series of circumstances turn this transport mode into one with many complexities, and one dominated by the presence of a hegemonic public railway operator that conditions the operation of an entire sector .

However, in recent years, both politicians and shippers have turned their eyes towards this transport means, in which they have seen more efficiency and, above all, less pollution, despite the significant external costs that comes with it.

Customers have begun to believe that rail transport is suitable for certain goods and certain traffic, which in any case exceeds 500 kilometers, in which they can offer economies of scale equal to or higher than those of road freight transport, but without the flexibility that, in any case, trucks provide.

In any case, the idea exists among politicians and customers, to ensure that road and rail are complementary.

In this context is the recovery of the Silk Road that the Chinese Government is making and with which it intends to create a large railway corridor that connects China with the Iberian Peninsula through the entire European continent and with what is to be achieved. an annual capacity of three million containers, compared to the 500,000 that currently move between China and Europe per year.

Simultaneously some railway companies have begun to operate in some traffic while waiting for the European freight corridors to become a reality and allow an effective intermodality.

Source: Cadena de Suminstro

The Evolution of Maritime Blockchain

The market for blockchain-based solutions, especially with regard to container shipping and the global supply chain, has become highly competitive.

This PTI Insight will explore the range of options available to businesses operating within the maritime sector, and how industry leaders are staking their own claim in the quest for an optimal platform to transfer documentation, data, and ultimately reconfigure trading practices themselves.

An Overview

While Maersk and IBM’sTradeLens platform has garnered the most headlines in recent months, promising to deliver more efficient and secure global trade, major companies are not the only players dictating the progress of the technological development.

Start-up organisations, such as CargoX, are providing neutral solutions for businesses of any size, allowing shippers, freight-forwarders and logistics companies to benefit from the more reliable and trustworthy trade networks facilitated by blockchain.

Leading ports and terminals, which play a pivotal role in the global supply chain, are also joining the wave of new companies integrating blockchain into their business operations.

This includes the Port of Veracruz in Mexico, which is inaugurating a blockchain project to improve the safety and security of freight transportation. It is not the only centre of trade taking this step.

The Major Players

It is not surprising that the most prominent members of the shipping community want to shape the future of the industry.

The aforementioned Maersk and IBM clearly harbour an intention to lead the way on blockchain. Not only has Maersk secured the cooperation of 94 ‘early adopters’, but 234 marine gateways around the world have also agreed to use the platform, which will offer real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data.

Although this solution has received massive support, other leading carriers, terminal operators and supply chain specialists have shown they are prepared to challenge the status quo.

In November 2018, news of a nine-party consortium to develop blockchain, including COSCO, CMA CGM, DP World and PSA International, emerged from Shanghai.

While this assembly of companies has not yet formulated a product to contend with the TradeLens service, such a powerful union of influential maritime leaders could represent the first serious challenge to Maersk and IBM’s potential blockchain dominance.

A Start-Up Challenger

Despite the sheer scale of Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens initiative, and the possible implications of a multi-party blockchain consortium, there are companies independent of those major players attempting to secure their position in the blockchain marketplace.

One of those businesses is CargoX, a Slovenia-based company specializing in the ‘Smart Bill of Lading’. In November 2018, it officially launched the Smart B/L platform, which is described as “the first open and neutral blockchain platform in the shipping industry for real-world commercial use”.

CargoX has emphasized the difference between its platform and TradeLens, which “relies on a private blockchain infrastructure” that is “much more prone to manipulation”.

As for a nine-party blockchain consortium, CargoX has suggested that “decision-making processes” could “run much slower than expected”.

So what are the benefits of an alternative platform like Smart B/L? According to CargoX, which highlights how “the real-time market is becoming more and more dynamic”, its own blockchain service is “simple to use” and can be adapted to “virtually any workflow or process”.

The company, a prominent member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), has also offered a vision of the future: “In five to ten years, most maritime shipping documentation will be provided through blockchain technology, just like people switched from sending paper letters to sending email for important, business-critical messaging”.

Ports and Blockchain

As the future of logistics and trade curves towards the digital, including the rising prominence of blockchain platforms, ports and terminals are aiming to adapt to this new landscape.

For many of these vital supply chain nodes, Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens has proven the most attractive proposition, with Valenciaport, the Port of Montreal and multiple APM Terminals locations recently connecting to the solution.

According to Valenciaport, “the developers of TradeLens have indicated that the information contained in this system grows at the rate of one million daily data shipments”, underlining the vast distribution capabilities of the service.

On the other hand, some ports are taking it upon themselves to develop viable blockchain solutions.

Working alongside Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO, the Port of Rotterdam is trying to leverage blockchain technology to boost transparency and efficiency.

A pilot project, set to commence in January 2019, involves the multi-modal transport of a container from a factory in Asia to the Netherlands, testing the three companies’ cooperative network and forming the basis for “an open, independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers”.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration, Sanghun Lee of Samsung SDS revealed that “for the first time in the rather short history of this technology, we can have different blockchains operating together”.

Future Developments

As Nadia Hewett of the World Economic Forum suggested at PTI’s recent Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference (SPSCT) 2018, “blockchain within the supply chain is a solution still managed by IT teams”. So why must the rest of the industry become more aware of this technology?

Oliver Haines, Vice President of BiTA Europe, has revealed that “widespread adoption will not be driven by one or two platforms alone no matter how big the companies involved are, particularly with the industry being so fragmented”.

Instead, as Haines asserts, the industry must collaborate to “drive forward standards and best practices which will, in turn, maximise benefits.”

BiTA, the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, has also expressed its delight that “major international shipping companies” are deciding to leverage blockchain technology as an essential part of their logistics operations, although the speed of progress remains uncertain.

Whether a uniform solution develops sooner or later, Haines predicts that “the market will go through significant changes”, bringing about “more transparency, trust and efficiency than ever before.”

Source: Port Technology

Terminal Drones: Game-Changing or Hot Air?

Drone technology could be vitally important to the evolution of smart ports and terminals, but they also present a number of challenges in terms of safety and security.

This insight delves into their utility within the port and terminal sector, and questions how valid they are in such an arena.

According to EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, “…drones are a key part of the future of aviation and will become part of our daily lives”, yet for some ports and terminals, drones are already a part of daily operations.

Drones in Ports and Terminals:

After testing their ability in filming site operations, monitoring traffic flows and observing unsafe behaviour, APM Terminals introduced the technology at its facilities in San Antonio, Texas and Santiago, Chile.

They are not the only ones to make this leap.

Today, drones are in operation across multiple ports, terminals and maritime facilities around the world; some have been put to use surveying Israel’s new Gulf Port in Haifa, while others have been tested at the Port of Singapore as a method of delivering small loads.

While the drones in the aforementioned ports have been used for surveying and observation, Abu Dhabi Ports’ drone devices have formed the basis of its surveillance and security measures at the Khalifa Port and KIZAD facilities, enabling the company to “instantly check even difficult to access locations from various perspectives, without putting any employees in danger.”

However, it should be noted that port operators are not the only maritime players testing and implementing drones for a variety of purposes.

Drones as Cargo Movers:

Wilhelmsen, a provider of smart shipping solutions, is currently developing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, and predicts that drone deliveries could reduce shore-to-ship costs by 90%.

According to Marius Johansen, Commercial Vice President at Wilhelmsen, the rapid of progress of drone technology is also driving the development of “key technological solutions such as ship localization and precision landing, payload release systems, and light and reliable 4G/LTE communication.”

Could the introduction of drones to the maritime sector therefore be considered a catalyst for change?

In April 2018, logistics provider GEODIS teamed up with DELTA DRONE to develop “a completely automated solution for inventory management using unmanned drones”, the very first of its kind.

The same quadcopter drones implemented by Abu Dhabi Ports were used again by these two companies, who were able to combine the surveillance capabilities of drones with geo-location technology, allowing the unmanned devices to navigate a warehouse and perform administrative tasks.

The development of drones is also being supported by massive companies like Allianz, which has encouraged shippers to use the technology more effectively for a range of monitoring purposes.

According to maritime surveyors, drones are able to assess vessel damage, undertake search and rescue operations and assess environmental pollution.

On the other hand, Allianz has also stressed “the importance of striking the correct balance between human interaction and technological enterprise to prevent standards falling.

Standards:

Key “standards” that need to be considered, when deciding how to implement drones within ports and terminals, are safety and security.

With these concerns in mind, could the emerging technology be a double-edged sword for the maritime sector?

The Port of Rotterdam has highlighted the “less sympathetic ends” to which drones could be used, including “reconnaissance for criminal activities” and “espionage”; as well as ensuring the security of ports, the technology also poses a potential threat.

It is for this reason that ports like Rotterdam have imposed strict rules and regulations on the use of drones, prohibiting private operators from flying over port areas without a special permit or permission.

Standardization was a key topic of discussion at this year’s Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies Conference.

For now, maritime authorities can establish restrictions to protect the integrity of their operations.

However, as drone technology continues to advance, will major players be able to maintain the same levels of security?

As with all technological developments across the industry, the future remains uncertain.

Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism.

Future Outlook:

In March 2018, design consultants PriestmanGoode revealed their vision for the future of drones, the technology’s capacity to innovate change and create revolutionary solutions set to extend beyond ports and terminals.

The Dragonfly delivery concept imagines a world in which cities and commercial centres can be relieved of congestion by drones, the devices passing between buildings as they proceed towards their destination.

While this kind of futuristic landscape might seem a lifetime away, the rapid progress of drone devices is ready to change the way global trade operates, including the operations of increasingly automated ports and terminals.

The challenge now, for those key maritime players, is keeping pace with technological developments, ensuring that safety measures are sophisticated and prepared for the risks presented by such a flexible technology.

Source: Port Technology

EU to invest nearly €700 million in sustainable and innovative transport

The European Commission has proposed to invest €695.1 million in 49 key projects to develop sustainable and innovative transport infrastructure in Europe across all transport modes. Selected projects will provide infrastructure enabling greater use of alternative fuels and electric cars, modernise Europe’s air traffic management, and further develop waterborne and rail transport.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Our investment plan for Europe is delivering: today we are proposing to invest €700 million in 49 key transport projects through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). These projects are concentrated on the strategic sections of Europe’s transport network to ensure the highest EU added-value and impact. This will allow us to further accelerate our transition to low-emission mobility across Europe, and firmly deliver on the EU’s agenda for jobs and growth. We expect it to unlock a total of €2.4 billion of public and private co-financing.”

The largest part of the funding will be devoted to modernising European air traffic management (ATM – €290.3 million), developing innovative projects and new technologies for transport (€209.5 million), as well as upgrading the railway network, maritime connections, and ports and inland waterways (€103.6 million). In supporting the selected projects, the Commission is firmly delivering on the objectives outlined in its Clean Mobility package.

Over €250 million of CEF funding will be invested in 26 projects dedicated to developing new technologies in transport notably promoting alternative fuels, such as:

  • greening the maritime transport link between Swinoujscie port in Poland and Ystad port in Sweden;
  • deploying hydrogen public transport infrastructure in Denmark, the UK and Latvia;
  • building a network of bio-liquefied natural gas stations on roads connecting southern Spain and eastern Poland, via France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany;
  • developing zero-emission public transport services for Amsterdam airport, as well as electrifying urban and regional bus routes in Croatia, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The selected projects will also contribute to the establishment of a Single European Sky via modernising European air traffic management in 23 EU Member States and Serbia, the upgrading of the Ampsin-Neuville lock complex on the Middle Meuse river in Belgium, and the upgrading of the maritime ports of HaminaKotka and Leixões.

An additional €450 million is made available to finance alternative fuel infrastructure through the InnovFin Energy Demo Projects (EDP) and CEF Debt Instrument. They are managed by the European Investment Bank.

Background

All proposed projects were selected for funding via two competitive calls for proposals, open to projects in all EU Member States:

The 2017 CEF Transport Blending call launched on 8 February 2017, takes an innovative approach, making available an indicative budget of €1.35 billion of EU grants, to be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Promotional Banks or private sector investors. Some 69 applications, requesting a total of €1 billion in co-funding, were received by the second deadline. Of these, 35 projects were selected, totalling €404,8 million. Previously, 39 projects had been selected for funding, totalling € 1 billion in CEF Blending funding.

The CEF Transport SESAR call launched on 6 October 2017 aims to modernise ATM in Europe and provide a high performing ATM infrastructure that will enable the safe, efficient and environmentally friendly operation and development of air transport. The CEF Transport SESAR call was open for project proposals on the deployment of new and mature technologies and practices that support harmonised ATM systems and standards in Europe. Some 33 applications requesting €406.9 million were received, out of which 14 projects were selected, totalling €290.3 million.

The EU’s financial contribution comes in the form of grants, with different co-financing rates depending on the project type. Under the CEF programme, €23.2 billion is available for grants from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in EU Member States. Since 2014, the first CEF programming year, there have been four yearly waves of calls. In total, CEF has so far supported 641 projects with a total amount of €22.3 billion.

Next steps

Following EU Member States approval of the proposal, the Commission will adopt a formal decision in the coming weeks. The Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) will then sign the grants with the project beneficiaries by January 2019.

Source: DG-MOVE

Artificial intelligence: Ports are beginning to take up positions

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an affordable technology, although it is only slowly being introduced into the business sector. Thus far, it has primarily been used to improve sales prediction techniques, but its potential applications are infinite and include lowering maintenance costs, improving product quality, planning manufacturing and increasing service level. In the sphere of transport, AI opens up a host of possibilities. Will the ports take advantage of them?

Today, the ports of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Singapore have already started to develop AI tools to improve predictions of maritime and land transport operations. Specifically, Hamburg has created a decision-making support system based on a predictive model of the behaviour of land transport. The model takes historical data, and using deep learning techniques and neural networks, it offers detailed predictions of the times when lorries should reach terminals. Based on this, the system notifies the lorry drivers of the terminal entrance times, and it gives the terminals a dynamic forecast of the workload they will have according to the changes in the surrounding conditions (road and access route saturation, real ship arrival time, degree of terminal saturation, etc.).

HOW DOES DEEP LEARNING WORK?

Deep learning and neural networks are two of the machine-learning methods which have come to the fore the most in recent years. They are inspired by the way neural networks work in the brain. They transform the entry values, layer by layer, until the value of the variables that they are trying to predict is found. Even though the results of neural networks are quite satisfactory, they need vast amounts of data to learn, and learning times are long (days or even weeks). Natural language processing, image pattern recognition and voice processing are the main success stories of deep learning. Thus, the evolution of data collection and management has to include the following levels: recording, analysing, simulating, predicting and finally recommending. Based on that, new-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain. And this does not only include lorries, since the same transport logistics that it applied on motorways can also be applied to any means of transport (railway, maritime or river).

New-generation ports are expected to apply predictive and prescriptive analysis techniques as tools to support decision-making when planning the transport of the actors in the port-logistics chain.
The digital transformation in the port and the logistics chain entails huge amounts of data, many of them in real time. The competitiveness of future ports will largely depend on their ability to make use of this information. With AI tools that enable them to take advantage of the potentiality of this vast trove of data, the decisions taken by the managers will be higher quality, shared and generated more quickly, so they will likely optimise the time, cost and reliability of the operations in port-logistics environments. In a complementary fashion, all of this will end up leading to more flexible, real-time operations management. AI has reached the world of transport, and it is here to stay. The ports which realised its benefits and potentiality to change the sector first will unquestionably see operational efficiency gains compared to their competitors. Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data (Port Community Systems, Port Management Systems and Terminal Operating Systems, among other systems) will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence.

Ports that already have advanced systems that allow them to gather a significant amount of data will be the best poised to successfully incorporate the tools offered by artificial intelligence

THE ORIGINS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Even though it seems like a recent concept, the origins of artificial intelligence date back to the Greeks. Aristotle (384-322 BC) was the first to determine a set of rules that partly describes the way the mind works to reach rational conclusions, and Ctesibius of Alexandria (285-222 BC) built the first self-controlled machine, a water-flow regulator (rational, but without the ability to reason). John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon coined the term artificial intelligence at the Dartmouth Workshop (USA) in 1956 to refer to the “science and inventiveness of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent calculation programmes”. Where these three scientists missed the mark was in their prediction of when the first smart machines would arrive. They trusted that by the 1970s we would be surrounded by artificial intelligence. However, the majority of tech companies did not decide to make significant investments in this field until the 1990s and 2000s, in a bid to improve the processing and analytical capacity of the vast amounts of data which were being generated in the new digital world. In fact, AI was definitively enshrined in 1997, when IBM demonstrated that an IT system was capable of beating a human at chess. And it wasn’t just any human; it was the world champion, Garry Kasparov. The supercomputer was called Deep Blue, and it marked the turning point when industrial technology and society at large became aware of the real importance and possibilities of artificial intelligence.

Source: PierNext 

Port Digitalisation

Three Considerations for Smart Port Collaboration

Ports that want to become ‘smart’ need to use technologies that automatically adapt to changing situations.

However, for that to happen, there has to be a change in attitude when it comes to collaboration, which is dependent on key players — who may be in competition with one another — agreeing on methods of creating more visibility throughout the supply chain.

Here are three arguments from authors of technical papers in the Edition 78 of the Port Technology Journal that show how and why the attitude to such practices may be changing.

1# Digital Tools for Next Generation Workers: Adam Yaron, CEO, FAST Applications

The next generation of people entering the profession have the expertise to use the latest online platforms and tools, which focus on process and managing costs and look to automate and streamline processes, build intermodal relationships, improve customer satisfaction, and maximize opportunities for cost savings.

A digital freight forwarder must offer a range of digital services to the 21st-century customers.

The next step is to create a social supply chain management where strong alliances can be created by networking and sharing data with freight partners online (agents, customers, suppliers, carriers, etc.), which in turn creates a stronger bond and connection to compete as a group.

2# Port Community Connectivity: Chris Collins, Chief Operating Officer, Containerchain

Major port centres including Antwerp, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Rotterdam, Singapore and others, plus shipping line and global terminal operators looking to get more embedded in the supply chain ‘beyond the gate’, are embarking on digital initiatives to capture, harvest, pool and share more data in more collaborative, real-time ways, with maritime and landside logistics stakeholders.

Singapore has recently provided two significant examples of this strategic direction under its National Trade Platform – with plans to connect over 10,000 of its existing registered users to a single independent Transport Integrated Platform (TRIP) that has already connected a large majority of the landside containerized supply chain, and in doing so, delivered significant operational and economic benefits to its stakeholders.

Balancing out platform competition and collaboration, international and localized solutions, closed and open offerings and free market choice against regulatory oversight is a very difficult challenge, but not one that can be avoided if we all want to reap the benefits of digital collaboration.

3# Working as One: Derek Kober, VP Marketing, Navis

The first step to tackle the fundamental lack of visibility in the industry and achieve joint success among key stakeholders is the broader sharing of critical shipment information across the supply chain.

In Navis’ report, surveyed executives echoed this sentiment, reporting the following:

• Agree on the need for stakeholders to operate with a common set of data (97% important; 85% very important)

• Believe the adoption of new technologies is crucial to enabling real-time collaboration (98% important; over 50% very important)

• Believe they will see substantial improvement in operational performance once real-time collaboration is achieved (one-third predict gains over 75%; over half expect gains of at least 50%)

Both voice and data communications are vital to the future of smart port operations.

Automation, collaboration and safety at ports and terminals are all dependent on digital, connected systems that allow mission-critical practices.

Source: Port Technology

ESPO calls for more ambition on the harmonisation of data – European Maritime Single Window

ESPO welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment (COM2018 278 final). For European ports though, reducing the administrative burden in maritime transport and facilitating trade is a top priority. ESPO wants more ambition on the harmonisation of data definitions and data sets, while maintaining the existing reporting systems. This would further reduce the administrative burden and would facilitate trade. This is the guiding principle of ESPO’s position paper in response to the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment which was published on 17 May.

For European ports, the first priority should be to simplify administrative procedures by ensuring that the same data sets can be reported to each competent authority in the same way. In this context, ESPO welcomes the establishment of a harmonised data set. However, there is still work to be conducted to define the data set in detail – both data elements and data definitions. At the same time, ESPO agrees with the proposal to allow Member States to introduce or amend data requirements as in some cases ports might need to ask additional data to respond to exceptional circumstances. In that respect, this flexibility should also be extended to individual competent authorities.

ESPO in particular welcomes that the proposal builds upon the existing National Single Windows, while also allowing the reporting to be carried out through the Port Community Systems (PCS). The proposal rightly acknowledges the well functioning of PCS’s and the investments already made. European ports highlight that any solution should be technology neutral and should focus on data harmonisation.

Furthermore, a governance mechanism for the National Single Window should be established giving it the competence to store and redistribute data to the respective authorities. Otherwise, the proposal would not result in trade facilitation and simplification, but would just shift the burden from the ship side to the competent authorities.

Finally, ESPO considers the “reporting once principle” a valid means to achieve the objectives of the proposal, provided that it covers the re-use of data that do not change between subsequent port calls and takes into consideration the limited amount of data to be reused between authorities at a given port call.

“We appreciate that the proposal acknowledges to a large extent and builds upon the current reporting environment in maritime transport. Across the sector there is a strong wish to simplify and reduce the administrative barriers. We can however not ignore the mandatory reporting obligations shipping, ports and other authorities need to comply with by national, European and international law. We believe that working on harmonised data standards is the only way forward to make the reporting more efficient. Common standards are far more important than harmonised systems. Technology is moving fast. We need a legislative framework that allows the use of already well functioning systems and the uptake of new technologies. A reporting environment should not undermine the ongoing digitalisation processes, and encourage the uptake of new solutions in a technology neutral way,” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

The proposal is currently being discussed in the Council and the European Parliament. MEP Deirdre Clune (Ireland/PPE) has been appointed as rapporteur in the Transport committee. ESPO looks forward to working with the Parliament’s rapporteurs and the shadow rapporteurs, the Austrian Presidency, the Council and the Commission in view of achieving a new and efficient legislative framework that would further reduce the administrative burden in maritime transport and facilitate trade.

Source: ESPO Press Release

More Ports becoming “LNG ready”

Developments in bunkering infrastructure are enabling more ports to call themselves ‘LNG ready’ allowing them to better cater for the increase in LNG fuelled ships.

Propelled by the advancement of LNG as a ship fuel and its role in helping the maritime industry move closer to zero-emissions shipping, ports including Hamburg and Busan have committed to introducing bunkering infrastructure and facilities on a long-term basis.

Green technology will be a major focus at the upcoming SMM exhibition, where “the Green Route will guide visitors to exhibition stands relevant for green technologies in all 13 exhibition halls,” said Claus Ulrich Selbach, business unit director – Maritime and Technology Fairs & Exhibitions at Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.

“Hall A5 will again be dedicated exclusively to green propulsion, and at the global maritime environmental congress (gmec) international experts will gather to share their views. This event should not leave any questions unanswered,” he added.

LNG technology

Technology solutions such as Becker Marine Systems’ LNG PowerPac, currently in use at the Port of Hamburg, demonstrate that LNG can be effectively used to supply electricity to ships at berth, aiding the progress of cold ironing, another green power solution tipped to significantly reduce emissions.

The environment in the context of sustainability will also be another key focus at the exhibition, with discussion set for many of the subject-specific conferences, as well as at the global maritime environmental congress (gmec) on 5 September.

Under the motto ‘Compliance – Control – Champions’, all panel discussions will revolve around current and future challenges resulting from tighter environmental regulations.

Source: Green Port

Blockchain Solution for Shipping has Ports, Container Lines, Forwarding Agents and Customs On Board

However Not All Are So Enthusiastic About Who Handles Their Data

DENMARK – US – WORLDWIDE – Having initially announced their collaboration on a blockchain technology project two year’s ago, partners in the arrangement AP Möller Maersk and IBM, have finally go round to christening it, TradeLens, and since formally launching the ‘joint collaboration’ as they call it, at the beginning of this year, it seems they have been busily signing up interested parties, from port operators to logistics agencies, customs authorities and even rival ocean container freight carriers.

So far ninety four different organisations have put their faith in the project which is being marketed as a neutral platform which, having been trialled up to this point, is intended to become commercially viable by the end of the year. To emphasise this is not a joint venture in the true sense of the term each of the two founding partners will retain the revenue from the operations which they sign up.

Whilst TradeLens is what is becoming the classic model for a blockchain project within the industry, and based on the well proven Linux open source operating system coupled with Linux developed Hyperledger technology, similarly open sourced, doubtless not everybody will be comfortable with the management strategy. Maersk and IBM say the system establishes a single view of a transaction en route whilst maintaining security enabling participants to establish the exact status of a consignment.

The information is as detailed as possible, with sensors checking and relaying geographical, temperature and mass information remotely whilst establishing customs status, document and data specifics etc. The delays inherent in current systems could be seen immediately by all interested parties and Maersk and IBM claim delays reduced on trial shipments amounted to up to 40% time savings, with consequent cost reductions.

Obviously with Maersk and subsidiaries Hamburg Süd and APM Terminals involved the amount of data which has been processed since trials began is huge. Over 150 million shipping activities have been recorded on the platform in the one year period and the partners now say this has grown to approaching one million events every day.The system has received praise from some of its earliest participants which include freight forwarders and logistics specialists Damco, Agility and Ceva. Xavier Urbain, CEO of Ceva Logistics commented recently:

“We see great potential in TradeLens because it provides real-time access to all parties involved in the supply chain. It’s a big step in building a global market standard for blockchain solutions.”

However not everyone who is a possible stakeholder is quite so enthusiastic at handing over all their confidential data to a potential rival, particularly in the light of the cyber attackswe have seen against major players, including Maersk, in the industry of late. Both CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd have expressed reservations about TradeLens in its current form with Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen commenting:

”Technically the solution could be a good platform, but it will require a governance that makes it an industry platform and not just a platform for Maersk and IBM. And this is the weakness we’re currently seeing in many of these initiatives, as each individual project claims to offer an industry platform that they themselves control. This is self-contradictory, without a joint solution, we’re going to waste a lot of money, and that would benefit no one.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide.