Improving Ocean Shipping: Blockchain Reaction

Blockchain technology is capturing interest across the supply chain, and the maritime industry is no exception. Nine ocean carriers and terminal operators are so interested that they recently formed a consortium to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology.

Participants in the consortium include CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, and Yang Ming as well as terminal operators DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International Ltd., and Shanghai International Port.

“The new platform, an ecosystem for the shipping community, will connect all shareholders including ocean carriers, terminal operators, customs authorities, shippers, and logistics providers to realize collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain,” according to a Yang Ming spokesman.

These goals are similar to the expectations expressed by Maersk and Kuehne + Nagel, early adopters of blockchain technology.

In January 2018, A. P. Moller-Maersk and IBM announced plans to pursue blockchain solutions. Then in August 2018, the two companies collaborated to create TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled shipping solution.

Ninety-four organizations are actively involved or have agreed to participate in the TradeLens ecosystem, including 20 port and terminal operators accounting for approximately 234 marine gateways worldwide, Additionally, customs authorities, freight forwarders, and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) have joined.

Freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel participates in a blockchain consortium consisting of consultancy Accenture, ocean carrier APL, and shipper AB InBev.

In its most basic form, blockchain is “shared ledger technology” enabling a single, shared, tamper-proof ledger, according to IBM. Once recorded, transactions cannot be altered. Anticipated benefits include less paper processing, increased transaction time speed, and improved efficiencies.

Although it is often used as a single technology, there are two different types of blockchain: public and private. Some of the most commonly known public blockchains are the cryptocurrency ones used for bitcoin transactions. Because these are completely transparent, participants are concerned about dealing with sensitive information, such as commercial contracts.

CARING ABOUT SHARING

Sharing the exact details of contracts and transactions is problematic for freight forwarders, ocean carriers, and shippers. These various stakeholders may collaborate with each other, but not with their competitors. This level of transparency may be an issue with supply chain strategy increasingly becoming a competitive advantage for companies and freight forwarders seeking differentiation in a crowded and fragmented market.

While a consistent wave of ocean carrier consolidation has occurred in the past few years, the remaining players still compete for volume. Empty containers do not generate revenue.

Private blockchains allow users different permission levels, so access can be restricted, and information can be encrypted to adapt to users’ needs.

Transporting goods internationally can become complex, both in terms of physical distribution and cross-border data exchange. Documents related to hazardous cargo, invoicing, cargo release, and other required customs information are vital to the actual movement of goods.

One missing or inaccurate form can keep freight from being delivered. Unlike domestic U.S.-based transportation, global shippers cannot immediately contact a provider and have a new truck dispatched within moments or hours to avert the supply chain implications of a missed or delayed delivery.

One reason the maritime industry is embracing blockchain is to “reform document processes of shipping management,” says a Yang Ming spokesman. The first prototype of GSBN allows shippers to digitize their documents and proceed to automatically exchange data with relevant supply chain parties. This simplifies the complicated documentation process and expedites the delivery of goods.

THE BUSINESS CASE

“Blockchain might not be able to solve, cure, or save everything as the hype suggests, but there are certainly applications where the business case makes sense,” says Adrian Gonzalez, president of Adelante SCM and a supply chain technology analyst. “It makes sense in global trade because of the many different parties, documents, regulations, and financial transactions involved.”

HOW BLOCKCHAIN IS USED IN OCEAN FREIGHT

Kuehne + Nagel’s first blockchain activities date back to 2016, when the concept received board-level support and it began case identification workshop.

“Our approach is to work with customers and business partners on real-world use cases in open and collaborative consortia,” says Inge Ole Ottemoller, senior IT https://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/improving-ocean-shipping-blockchain-reaction/consultant and blockchain expert for Kuehne + Nagel. “Using new technologies such as blockchain is an element of business strategy to continuously improve our processes as well as the business model.”

Fast forward to 2019, and Kuehne + Nagel states there is much work still to be done to achieve the promise of blockchain technology. “Blockchain has the potential to enable further digitalization of existing processes,” Ottemoller notes. “But the technology is still at a very early stage.” .

“With the experience already gained, the technology used at the present time does not yet have the maturity for productive use in extensive, complex applications,” he adds. “In particular, the requirements for maintainability and automated operation are hardly met.”

However, some successes have come from its blockchain consortium, which has focused on one central document in ocean freight: the bill of lading. “The consortium already developed a proof-of-concept for an electronic bill of lading use case from export and import to a common blockchain-based ledger,” reports Kuehne + Nagel.

This group effort “demonstrated how the application of blockchain for issuing and exchanging bills of lading can unleash huge efficiencies for the industry due to seamless and tamper-proof data integration,” says Ottemoller. “The need for printed shipping documents is rendered obsolete.”

Maersk also reports benefits from its adoption of blockchain technology, and specifically, the TradeLens application.

The platform has captured more than 154 million shipping events, including arrival times of vessels and container “gate-in,” and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices, and bills of lading. In the past, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems shared some of this data in the supply chain.

The TradeLens platform has already proven to be effective. One example Maersk reports is a 40 percent reduction in transit times to ship packaging materials to a production line, avoiding thousands of dollars in costs.

The GSBN consortium hopes to achieve these types of real-world supply chain enhancements. “We are always willing to try innovative technologies to keep up with the digital transformation of the shipping industry in collaboration with others,” says a Yang Ming spokesman.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN

The blockchain “revolution” has also lured new players to the market, such as CargoX, a company that created a neutral, open, independent platform available to ocean carriers and other stakeholders. While other consortiums may be limited in the ability to expand or onboard new carriers, “Our platform solves these issues, as it is based on a neutral, open, public Ethereum blockchain network,” notes Stefan Kukman, founder and CEO of CargoX.

Although public, the CargoX platform is secure because the transparency it provides, “only relates to the transparency of time-stamps of certain transactions,” Kukman says. “What is being translated is completely invisible, as the content of the documents and data fields is encrypted and secured from unauthorized viewing.”

Recently, CargoX customer ShipChain completed a successful blockchain-based pilot shipping initiative with Perdue Farms. During the pilot, ShipChain tracked Perdue fleet data and recorded it in the Ethereum blockchain.

Early adopters such as Kuehne + Nagel remain optimistic about the future of blockchain and the maritime industry. The freight forwarder is using the application in the areas of workflow, trade finance, provenance, and visibility.

THE RIGHT DIRECTION

“The development points in the right direction, so it can be assumed that the technology will reach the required level of maturity in the future,” says Ottemoller. “Thanks to the project experience already gained, Kuehne + Nagel is in a position to have an educated judgement on the state of play for this new technology.”

The many companies adopting blockchain platforms share a common vision of the technology’s benefits to the supply chain, and the ocean freight sector specifically. These include:

  • Reduced paper-based processes
  • Reduced waiting time
  • Faster transit times
  • Transparency across processes and company boundaries

QUESTIONS AND MORE QUESTIONS

As additional new entities enter the same space with unique platforms, however, reaching these goals may be a challenge for shippers.

With providers ranging from ocean carriers to freight forwarders to software companies offering different options for blockchain platforms and consortiums, how does a shipper that does not want to work with only one provider deal with the challenge of enabling integration and interoperability between those platforms? With multiple groups working to establish global shipping standards, which standards will ultimately benefit shippers most?

Gonzalez also raises another area of potential concern: Can any technology, new or dated, overcome bad data? “It’s important to note that blockchain doesn’t erase the fact that supply chains still suffer from crappy data,” Gonzalez cautions. “It doesn’t erase the integration challenge of aggregating, cleansing, and linking together data that is spread out across many different applications.

“Some were built in the 1970s, across many companies and countries, some with limited or no IT capabilities and stored in many different formats, including email and faxes,” he adds. “In short, blockchain by itself does not solve the problem of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ data quality problems, but it is a distributed ledger that is better encrypted and traceable.”

DIGITALIZATION AGENDA

Other issues beyond the scope of blockchain alone need to be resolved to improve efficiency in the ocean freight industry. “Digitalization and blockchain are not synonyms,” notes Kukman. “They are tightly connected because the shipping industry is lagging behind in its digital processing.

“But blockchain implementation is just a part of the whole digitalization agenda,” he adds. “And digitalization as such is inevitable—it is time that the paper processing machinery is transformed into modern, trustworthy digital solutions.”

Whether using a CargoX platform or another application for blockchain, the ocean freight industry must embrace technology to “deal with the problems that arise from the snail’s pace of transferring paper documents,” Kukman states. Paper documents can be damaged, lost, or even forged or stolen.

“Those ocean carriers that don’t embrace digitalization will start losing their market share,” predicts Kukman. “Global trade relies on digital data and new services, and this reliance will just get stronger. The carriers that decide to adopt blockchain know what the advantages are.”

End customers will have the greatest benefit in knowing where existing documents, transactions and goods are located, as well as whose turn it is to make the next step in the process,” Kukman adds.

Additional benefits for end users are likely to be realized in the area of forecasting. “The CargoX platform provides new ways of analyzing past business events to support forecasting loads and volume, identifying throughput bottlenecks, and other issues,” Kukman says.

One of the biggest impediments to blockchain and other forms of digitalization is the fact that many companies still rely on paper processes because “that’s the way it has always been done.” That kind of thinking is what will determine winners from losers in the future because, says Kukman, “We don’t ride horses for transportation anymore, do we?”

Source: Inbound Logistics

How Smart Start-Ups Are Changing Maritime

The role of smart start-ups in driving the development of the maritime sector should not be understated, especially with regard to intelligent applications powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

As highlighted by a recent competition to form the world’s first digital shipping company, launched by IoT specialist Loginno, there is a demand for companies who can bring new solutions to the table.

The Start-Up Space

Of the multitude of start-ups vying for opportunities within the space of IoT and Big Data, many are part of projects designed to leverage their potential for industry-shifting innovation.

These initiatives are often supported by major companies, and in February 2019 satellite communications provider Inmarsat revealed its partnership with two start-up programmes focused on IoT and the optimization of data.

The need for “fresh perspectives”, as argued by Inmarsat’s Senior Director of Digital Incubation Ali Grey, can be served best by new businesses currently breaking into the sector and shaking its very foundation.

IoT is widely viewed as a key pivot for the industry and target for those wishing to instigate serious change; ABI Research has predicted that IoT applications will be able to track over 500 million different assets by 2023, highlighting its potential.

Solutions for Ports

If IoT is tipped to make waves across the global economy, what kind of impact is this movement likely to have on ports, and what role will be played by start-up organizations?

Maciej Kranz of Cisco Systems describes digitization, and especially IoT, as “powerful enablers that forward-thinking port operators are using in order to improve efficiencies”: the benefits of implementing IoT applications to support cargo-handling processes are various.

One of the areas in which IoT can be leveraged most usefully is the management of port traffic, as the data collected from ships, containers and other vehicles entering and exiting ports can produce a holistic overview of cargo movement that provides a transparent and visible basis for optimization.

IoT is also a technology which complements other advanced systems used by port and terminal operators, functioning alongside automated equipment and TOS systems to allow more effective communication between machines and humans, or even machines and other machines.

Although major companies will often be enlisted to oversee the implementation of advanced technologies, which have to be integrated into port operations without causing serious disruption, start-ups will play an important part in delivering new solutions.

Speaking about the position occupied by start-ups at Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies 2018, former Managing Director of Port XL Mare Straetmans emphasized the necessity for collaboration between corporations and emerging businesses.

The Future of IoT Innovation

While start-ups are important components of the rapidly growing IoT ecosystem, development is also being driven by academic bodies and government groups exploring its applications for a broad range of industries, including container shipping.

Autonomous shipping, which is quickly transforming from a futuristic fantasy into a reality, is a good example of the technical platform provided by IoT solutions.

A joint-venture involving the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute and Aalto Universityis seeking to deploy IoT-powered sensor technology as means of ensuring the safe navigation of autonomous vessels, an innovation which is already being trialled.

However, educational bodies and public institutions are also choosing to collaborate with start-ups on groundbreaking projects like this, with solution provider Fleetrange contributing to this initiative by developing techniques for autonomous navigation.

It is evident then that the insight provided by these young, energetic and, above all else, innovative companies, as well as their ability to cut through the noise of the industry, is fostering an environment that is adapting to evolving demands and becoming increasingly modern. It seems likely that success will follow.

Source: Port Technology

European ports welcome agreement on the European Maritime Single Window environment

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the agreement reached on 7 February between the Parliament and the Council on the new regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe). With the new framework, which will repeal the current Reporting Formalities Directive, important steps are made towards reducing administrative burden and increasing the attractiveness of maritime transport. It provides for the creation of a EMSWe dataset, harmonised National Single Windows and the application of the reporting-only-once principle.

We see the agreement as a real breakthrough on this very technical but important matter for the maritime and logistics sector. The outcome provides clear engagements towards administrative simplification and a more efficient supply chain. We are very happy that the new framework is recognizing the bottom-up efforts and investments already made and underway by European ports towards creating a one-stop shop for both the reporting formalities and all other services rendered to stakeholders in the logistics chain. The agreement is thus fully compliant with the ambitious digitalisation agenda of many European ports. We would like to thank and congratulate the Parliament – in particular, the rapporteur, Deirdre Clune and the shadow rapporteurs -, the Romanian Presidency and the Commission for their constructive approach in reaching an agreement”, says Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO.

ESPO supports the following decisions:

  • Ensuring that the same data sets can be reported in the same way: For European ports, the first priority is to simplify administrative procedures by ensuring that the same data sets can be reported to each competent authority in the same way. ESPO therefore welcomes the emphasis in the new regulation on ensuring that the same data sets can be reported to each National Single Window in the same way by creating a EMSWe maximum dataset. The need to take into account the work carried out at international level is fully backed by ESPO.
  • Asking additional data remain possible in exceptional circumstances: ESPO is very pleased to see that the final text is giving the possibility to Member States to ask in the event of exceptional circumstances, for additional data, for a limited period of time, without having to ask the permission of the Commission.
  • Respect for the existing reporting systems: Moreover, European ports very much support the fact that the new regulation is building on the existing reporting systems, the National Single Windows and Port Community Systems (PCS). It is of paramount importance that ports and shipping lines who are currently working with a PCS as a one-stop-shop for both the reporting formalities and all other services rendered to stakeholders in the logistics chain will be able to continue to do so in the future.
  • Technological neutrality: ESPO is happy to see that technological neutrality is explicitly referred to as the basis for the European Maritime Single Window environment and agrees that the Commission should closely follow the latest technological developments, when providing updates to the reporting interface modules for the National Single Windows.
  • Providing the National Single Windows with a governance dimension: Finally, ESPO also welcomes the new provisions in the agreement on requiring Member States to designate a competent national authority for the National Single Windows with a clear legal mandate. This provides the National Single Window with a governance dimension, giving it the competence to store and redistribute data to the respective authorities.

The agreement reached must now be further formalised by the Council and the Parliament and is expected to apply as from 2025 (six years after the entry into force).

Source: European Sea Ports Organisation Press Release

Barcelona Remains Europe’s Fastest Growing Port

The Port of Barcelona achieved record results in 2018 across all main traffic indicators, solidifying its position as a key facilitator of export activity.

During the financial year 2018, Barcelona handled 67.7 million tonnes of cargo, representing a 10% increase on the port’s total volume for 2017.

According to a statement, the record-breaking volumes were largely driven by a 15% year-on-year increase in container traffic, Barcelona moving 3.4 million TEU during 2018.

Read a Port Technology technical paper by Olaf Merk, International Transport Forum, to understand demand-driven port development.

This rise in container volume underlines Barcelona’s status as the fastest growing port in Europe, as it comes on top of a 32.5% increase already achieved during 2017.

The results also confirm an increase in intermodality, with the significant growth marked in rail transport helping to boost sustainability of the logistics chains passing through the Port of Barcelona.

China has consolidated its role as Barcelona’s main trading partner, with 25% of the containers passing through the port either beginning or ending their journey in the Far East.

“Motorways of the Sea”, regular lines connecting Barcelona with various destinations in Italy and North Africa, progressed in 2018 as well, diverting approximately 150,000 trucks from the road to the “maritime mode”, a more sustainable option.

In economic terms, the port achieved a net turnover of nearly US$198 million, up 4% from the previous year.

The Dawning of 5G

As the digitization of industry and the global economy continues, a necessity for reliable, faster and more secure networks to connect businesses and the global supply chain continues to grow.

It is no surprise then that major companies and service providers, such as IBM and Vodafone, are forming joint-venture initiatives to test and develop a 5G ecosystem which, according to President of Mobile Networks with Nokia, Tommi Uitto, can generate new potential for automated operations and artificial intelligence.

While the worldwide implications of 5G technology are myriad, with leading companies Nokia and China Mobile seeking to create a more open and interoperable form of architecture for high-speed networks, its application to the ports and terminals sector could be game-changing.

As Dr. Yvo Saanen, Founder of simulation specialists TBA Group explains above, there is a need to connect a port’s assets, machines and people to systems, thereby increasing the safety and efficiency of cargo-handling operations.

The ability of 5G to optimize operations and “transmit data safely within milliseconds” is already being trialled as part of the Wireless for Verticals (WIVE) research project, one of many initiatives demonstrating the technology’s value as a catalyst for improved performance.

Faster and Smarter Networks

It would be easy to focus on the speed of 5G alone, especially when the development of this technology is likely to produce much shorter network response times for a wide variety of industries, including the logistics and port sectors.

However, as the University of Surrey’s world-leading 5G Innovation Centre underlines, the next evolution of connectivity is more significant than catering to the individual needs of everyday consumers: 5G is as much about “machine-to-machine” as it is “people-to-people”.

The flexibility of 5G networks, to “evolve, adapt and grow” is vital to the progress and implementation of this next technological phase which will allow applications to perform the “bandwidth-heavy” tasks demanded in the future.

Other benefits of 5G, as explored by key industry players like Nokia, include its prediction capabilities, security and reliability, positioning the technology as a crucial foundation for the development of machine learning tools.

Marc Rouanne, the ex-President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, once stated that “AI and machine learning will enable a myriad of new service opportunities”, in addition to reducing end user costs and minimizing the consumption of energy.

Revolutionizing Ports

Like a whole host of other industries seeking to ride the wave of digitization, businesses in the maritime sector, such as service providers, are hoping to leverage 5G to their collective benefit.

Kalmar, a provider of lifting solutions, is already trialling 5G applications and building a “technology road map” that will make the next stage of connectivity part of the “industrial standard of the future”.

Forecasting the revolutionary potential of 5G, Kalmar’s Director of Automation Research Pekka Yli-Paunu has predicted that “advances in connectivity give us the opportunity to develop the next generation of remote control that may utilise not only video, but audio and haptics as well”.

In addition to this, major ports are conducting their own 5G trials, testing its capability to drive advancement in other areas and provide a bedrock for smarter, more efficient operations.

The Port of Hamburg has already hailed the success of their project, with intermediate results indicating that “5G enables new types of mobile applications for the Hamburg Port Authority’s business”.

Looking ahead, Hamburg has isolated “5G network slicing” as an area that will have a particular impact on operations, laying the “foundation for new IoT applications” and “business models” that will boost the competitiveness of the entire port industry.

Unlocking the Potential

The cooperation of key players from multiple industrial and technological fields is currently forming an access point to 5G for businesses in all sectors.

Nokia has emphasized their work with “a lot of partners in the ports and terminals space, such as Konecranes, to enable the development of a connected ecosystem,” with the company “well positioned to understand the applications and savings made possible by mission-critical wireless technologies”.

According to Nokia’s statistics, ports and harbours make up a significant proportion of its vertical enterprise customers, all of which are currently deploying private LTE networks for their operational campus needs.

In the case of ports like HaminaKotka (located in Finland) the focus of “operational needs” once again shifts to connectivity, correlating to the intelligent machine Dr. Yvo Saanen imagines in his assessment of 5G.

Based on the sound situational awareness of container handling, warehouse logistics, and port security which machine-to-machine and machine-to-person connectivity offers, operations can be improved across multiple areas, from safety and efficiency to environmental performance and cost-effectiveness.

The extent of 5G’s potential impact on ports and terminals is still uncertain, but as operators and service providers search for smarter solutions, and ways to leverage automated technologies, the key word for the future is connectivity.

Source: Port Technology

Portugal Launches Huge Maritime Smart Tech Plan

The Portuguese government has announced an initiative aimed at accelerating the creation of smart tech start-ups in the shipping and ports sectors, according to a statement.

Named ‘Bluetech Accelerator – Ports & Shipping 4.0’, the programme is being led by the Minister of the Sea of Portugal and is designed to make the country a world leader in smart technology innovation.

The government has said it has already established a coalition of stakeholders, including shipping groups Portline Group and ETE Group, the ports of Sines and Leixoes and digital and robotics companies Inmarsat and Tekever to identify and finance start-ups in the smart technology and shipping industry.

The chosen start-ups will be announced in the last quarter of 2019, and the government has said it expects other stakeholders in the maritime and port sector to join the initiative.

Speaking about the initiative, Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, said: “The Portuguese port system must be seen as the front line of the implementation of the blue economy based on the operational, energy and environmental innovation of maritime industries, promoting the emergence of new companies.

A recent Port Technology technical paper looked at smart investment in the maritime sector.

“This objective will be possible through the creation of a network of Port Tech Clusters, platforms for accelerating the technological and business innovation of sustainable blue port-based businesses.

“From here will be created new companies that will constitute and reinforce the Port Tech Cluster 4.0, innovation network that will be installed in the national port system focused on the application of industry 4.0 to the maritime-port sector”.

The Port of Sines, a key participant in the scheme, signed an agreement last week with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company to develop a new, next-gen container terminal, a story PTI covered.

Source: Port Technology

Driverless wagon ready to hit the track in the Netherlands

Autonomous single wagons that access whatever train path is accessible: that is the future of rail freight. These wagons will make rail as flexible as road, believes Paul van Bers, Innovation Project Manager at Container shift2rail. The wagons are already there, but some challenges remain. Van Bers will present this innovation at the Freight and Terminal Forum, taking place from 26-28 March in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

It was in 2012 when van Bers stood at an airport, looking at the luggage belt. Thousands of luggage pieces are thrown on this belt every day, and find their way to the right destination. The sorting is done behind the scenes. “I suddenly realised that this is the future of rail, this is how individual containers should be arranged and distributed to end up on the right track. It is a first-mile rather than a last-mile service.”

Autonomous wagon

Van Bers gathered a group of people equally enthousiastic about the idea and applied for a subsidy in the Netherlands, where he lives. “I received 100 thousand Euro to realise the concept.” Two years later, the wagon was there, ready to hit the tracks. RWTH Aachen University had built an automated unit. The software was provided by Container shift2rail.

“The software makes this wagon autonomous. It is a smart wagon, it can improvise and react. It can operate alongside the traffic management system of a network, as it is able to observe when a train path is available. As such, it does not need to request a train path in advance.”

Flexible modality

It is this last asset that makes the wagon an ideal unit to compete with the road, explained van Bers. “Rail is a non-flexible modality; when an operator wants to carry out a train journey, it must first check train path availability and then request access many days in advance. A truck on the other hand can depart when required. This autonomous wagon can do the same.

“Currently, the sector is focussing on longer trains, to be able to carry more cargo in one journey. That is a good solution for the transport of bulk, which usually requires several wagons for the same cargo. But containers are like people; they all have a different origin and various destinations. If these can be moved individually and immediately when required, rail truly becomes a more flexible modality.”

Hurdles

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of hurdles on the way, van Bers admits. Today, seven years later, the wagon is still not on track. To begin with, the software system that allows the wagon to spot available train paths – the Supervisory Route Control System (SRCS) must be marketed. Moreover, the concept should be embraced by the industry. “We need to gain trust from train operators, so they are interested in using this rolling stock”, the innovator noted.

The introduction of the wagon could be phased out in three stages, he explains. For this, the company has considered specific locations in the Netherlands, such as the Maasvlate II at the Port of Rotterdam. Here, the wagon could be used for inter-terminal transport. In the same premise, the wagon could serve as feeder to the Rail Service Center (RSC).

“Eventually, we should create extended gate terminals to access the hinterland rail network. For example, the Betuweroute in the Netherlands could have a dedicated entry point for the autonomous wagons, in so it does not clash with the regular traffic. In this way, large terminals will experience a smoother flow of goods to the hinterland, or the other way around.”

Freight and Terminal Conference

Paul van Bers will provide a workshop about the innovative concept at the Freight and Terminal Forum, which takes place from 26-28 March 2019 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Registration for this large-scale event is already open.

Source: Railfreight.com

Morocco: Booming Tangier Med

2018 was what we can call a full year for Tangier Med and its businesses, while the opening of the Tanger Med 2 port in 2019 will add more possibilities for the treatment and processing of containers.

With a total processed volume equivalent to 317 billion dirhams (28.9 billion euros) in 2018, the port Tanger Med has exceeded that of Durban, South Africa, to become the first African platform.

More than 139 billion dirhams of exported goods passed through Tangier Med, representing more than 50% of all of Moroccan exports. For the leaders of the platform, Tangier Med would be the “first export port serving the competitiveness of the Moroccan economy.”

In tonnage handled, the volume processed last year exceeded 52.2 million tonnes, signifying a 2% increase over 2017. In both terminals of the port, more than 3.4 million of TEUs were treated, an evolution of 5% compared to the year 2017. In comparison with its beginnings, in 2007, the port Tanger Med has seen an increase of 15.7%. This rise is justified, according to the port managers, by the performance and productivity of the container terminals, the harbor master’s office and the piloting for the management of port operations.

Vehicle Activity Increase

In terms of passengers, traffic remains stable in comparison with 2017, with more than 2.8 million people. TIR (International Road Transport) traffic grew by 14%, compared to the previous year, reaching a total traffic of 326,773 TIR units. This increase is mainly due to exports of industrial and agri-food products.

The vehicle business also continued its upward pace. In 2018, 479,321 cars passed through Tangier Med, 11% more than the year before. On the terminal dedicated to Renault, the manufacturer has exported 383,715 vehicles, of which 91% came from the Tangier factory. The Tanger Med executives look forward to 2019, which will mark the start of exports of Peugeot vehicles, manufactured at the Kenitra plant.

Solid bulk traffic in 2018, for its part, was down 18% from the previous year, mainly due to lower cereal imports. Liquid bulk experienced a similar trend, falling by 21% from 2017, with a total of less than 6 million tonnes of processed hydrocarbons.

Digitisation, the nerve of war

More than 13,000 ships and boats docked at Tanger Med port in 2018 from 186 ports and 77 countries. Djibouti, Guatemala, Ireland, Bahrain and Madagascar are the countries with which the Moroccan port provided a first direct sea connection last year. The port has mainly enabled Morocco to establish its policy of proximity with African countries and increasing trade with Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire or Ghana.

Occupying an extremely strategic geographical location, Port Tanger Med has established itself over the years as a gateway to the Kingdom of Morocco. Its leaders are happy to have thought about digitisation and the implementation of an IT infrastructure, which has become the nerve of the war of activity, saving a lot of time. According to the operators with whom we could speak, the port of Tangier seduces with its fluidity.

Automation forces Spain to introduce structural changes in logistics

The transport and logistics sectors are currently in the process of automation. In the coming decades it will undergo deeper transformations, which will test the reaction capacities of countries such as Spain. “We must be creative in changing our way of thinking. There is a lot of work to be done in the short term, in short electoral cycles, by survey, and there are structural changes that must be applied in the medium and long term, “says Inprous CEO and president of Pimec Logística, Ignasi Sayol.

For his part Miquel Serracanta, the founder of the consulting firm Solutions & Decisions, put the emphasis on how the increase in competition “has caused a very important fall in prices both in the trunk and in capillary transport”, so that the carriers that have increased in size have started to search for synergies and efficiencies in their supply chains in parallel. For this reason, he considers that it is necessary to prepare for changes such as the electric and autonomous vehicles, since “they will substantially modify our environment in the next ten years”.

Globally, transformations will involve changes in jobs and new trends will be developed that will improve the efficiency of deliveries. Although technological advances will be inevitable, they will occur gradually and will vary according to the region. These are some of the results published in the new report prepared by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU).

Evolution vs Revolution

Although the report foresees that the automation of global transport is more “evolutionary” than “revolutionary”, Sayol affirms that “the irruption of technology in logistics will radically change the way we do things”. Gradual changes are expected in transport patterns that will affect the different regions of the world. According to Serracanta, autonomous vehicles “will not arrive for another five or ten years and will do so progressively, coexisting therefore, with difficulties, with vehicles driven by humans.”

The partner founder of Solutions & Decisions foresees that automation will make roads safer and that fewer accidents and traffic jams will occur, “with which the reliability of compliance with deliveries will increase”.

Sayol points out that logistics 4.0 will be an opportunity for developing countries, “because they can implement it without the mortgages that exist in developed countries.”

“Automation will probably reduce the differences between developed and developing countries in the medium and long term, once the latter can be added to the technology train,” says Serracanta. However, it considers that in the short term it is possible to increase them, especially in terms of road and rail transport: “Those who are in the process of development may not be able to start this road yet due to previous pending issues, as indispensable basic infrastructures”.
Worldwide, it is expected that transportation routes will also change if situations such as a hypothetical stagnation of China or the growth of Mexico are consolidated. If confirmed these trends, directly affect the GDP of the countries. However, this forecast does not apply to long-distance maritime transport, which will continue to be the main means in terms of scale and volume of goods transported. In contrast, a reduction in road transport is expected both in the EU and in the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as growth in the maritime sector, because “it is still in an early stage of transformation,” according to the study.
The Impact of Automation on employment
Automation will impact the transport sector through the destruction, displacement and creation of jobs. Workers will be affected differently according to their level of skill and preparation, with the least educated being the most affected. This will require the retraining of professionals such as cargo agents and crane operators so that they can work complementarily with this technology, notes the report of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU). However, despite the high levels of automation, human resources will still be necessary, especially in cases where people provide additional value.
“The challenge will be twofold, for the companies that have them on staff and for the worker himself, who must improve his own employability with additional training if he does not want to lose possibilities in his current and future position,” says Serracanta. “The repetitive tasks and added low value are the first at risk of being replaced by robots, and workers who today are the first to be recycled.” In fact, today automated metro lines are already operating, such as the one that connects the city of Barcelona with its airport, or the one that connects the two passenger terminals of the Frankfurt airport in Germany.
Logistics 4.0
In addition to the automation of vehicles, infrastructures and processes, the new logistics 4.0 will allow technologies such as Big Data or artificial intelligence to be progressively applied to know what the client wants, anticipate demand and position stocks at the suitable point. “It sounds like science fiction, but it’s already a reality,” says Sayol.
The CEO of Inprous also includes the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain in this group, which “will enable the creation of dis-intermediated and efficient marketplaces that allow for optimisation and secures the available transport resources”. Finally, “more complex technologies to apply in reality” will exist, including platooning. “Here the time horizon of implementation is more difficult to get right, as it is subject to the legislation of each country and investments in infrastructure that inevitably must be made,” he explains.
According to Serracanta, this automation and logistics 4.0 will also allow for the “reduction of consumption and fuelling of large trucks, because they are more efficient than humans, with which there will be less CO2 emissions and the environment will appreciate it”. Thus, an evolution is foreseen in the logistics transport sector that will bring economic benefits and that will entail new regulations, a greater technological preparation and the development of new skills and dynamics in the labor market.
Source: El Mercantil

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