Tag Archives: maritime

Supply chain decarbonisation needs partnerships to create a reaction

This discussion of a recent UNCTAD paper by Mikael Lind and Wolfgang Lehmacher sheds light on the complex problems facing shipping in the path to decarbonization. It spawned a whole chain of searches for me, to find out more about what some visionaries in the field are saying.

Admittedly seeing the future is fraught with risk. Scenario analysis gives one a sort of lay of the land. The article shows clearly how partnerships are essential since the problem is bigger than any one firm or country.

read the article, and follow some of the links; you’ll be rewarded with a view of the problems the maritime industry faces to decarbonize.

Nick Savvides 20/09/2022

Supply chain decarbonisation needs partnerships to create a reaction – The Loadstar

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary

This article gives both sides of a discussion on the importance and readiness of the maritime and shipping industries for an electronic bill of lading.

One point made in the article by forwarders is that in the present market, changes are occurring so frequently that the bills of lading have to change frequently. The changes are happening because the congestion and resilience or lack of it currently in many supply chains is forcing frequent revisions of transport plans. That forces eBL revision, since the exactness of the details of transport is essential in building a valid eBL.

But it’s always been the case that digitalization or automation requires a change in the manual or human procedures surrounding the creation of information. Those who are naysayers need to face up to the fact that a ‘draft’ eBL needs to become the standard of creation of an order for transport. That’s true if you’re a carrier, a shipper, a forwarder, ora 3PL.

It means that every system for booking shipments needs to transition to use of the eBL as THE document defining the offer. No participant will be able to afford to have their own forms for creating or ordering a shipment. That is going to be a challenge for the myriad systems brokers and shippers use. Each of them must be forced to include the eBL structure in their system, and make it the ONLY way orders are drafted and contracted for.

That’s not quite as bad as it seems. Once the system has the ability to draft the eBL for a shipment, many of them can be prepared in advance. For instance for a customer that regularly books shipments of specific goods, the eBL can be prepared in advance as a draft, and only needs human and system interaction for approval. We know from many years of practice implementing systems that draft information can be tuned by the computer to match most of the required patterns for most shipments, so

Brokers who are concerned about constant churning of eBL information can take heart; using pre-prepared standard eBLs will eliminate 80% of the job or so; the exceptions are a lot fewer than they think.

What that also means, however, is the job of booking an order changes. The customer service agent has a lot less paperwork to do, and that may in her view reduce her ‘importance’ to the shipper and the process. They lose status and the opportunity they had in the past to influence and relate to the shipper. That might be their fear.

However, they should not fear. It’s well understood from previous system implementations in many areas from payrolls to HR to ERP and many more areas, for at least 4 decades. The job changes, and opens up many more opportunities for sales reps to be of actual use to their clients by removing the burden of paperwork. And the change is from a repetitive operation to an exception handling process.

Shipping sales rep may well become a job that requires a different type of person from the incumbents; but that should not be a reason to avoid doing it. It means retraining incumbents or encouraging them to move on to a job they are more comfortable in.

The eBL standard development and acceptance process will be key over the next few years. The faster it can happen, the better.

By Charlie Bartlett 04/08/2022

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary – The Loadstar

Port of LA leader calls for industrywide digital transformation

Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of LA, is calling on people to cooperate and share data on logistics activities. He wants to see a bold information transformation, for the maritime industry and also for on-shore logistics. He was put in charge of coronavirus-related logistics by the Mayor of Los Angeles, a very big job in addition to his own.

In the video you get to hear him directly.

He makes great claims for the Port of LA logistics information systems. But the port has needed to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. It’s taken much longer to get them to act than it had to. Scholars and also logistics participants such as forwarders, shippers, and NVOOCs (Non-vessel-owning ocean carriers, sort of freight forwarders for ocean cargoes) have been screaming for coordination of systems ever since the 2000’s. It’s just very hard to do without standards. And it takes forever to negotiate standards that don’t place some participants at a disadvantage.

The role of standards could be a lot like their role in the PC market. Used to be, when you bought a PC you had to buy the disk drive, and memory from the same vendor– it had to be compatible. Software also must be compatible with the operating system. Nowadays, these parts are made to standards, and you can go buy any replacement or upgrade memory or disk that are compatible, You can even replace your hard drive with a matching SSD that is transparent to the computer. The adoption of standards allowed computers to become affordable, software to work on all the hardware, and be useful for all. It’s called a network effect. The same is true for logistics software. To connect partners together they need to each conform to standards of data structure (schemas, we call them) and standards of transmission. Nowadays the buzzword for this is APIs, but the concept has had lots of names over the years. My favorite was ‘middleware’.

And the need to share has to be seen by the prospects as more important than preserving the confidentiality of their company data. That is perhaps the largest barrier. So participants have to see tangible economic benefits to sharing, and that is sometimes hard to get direct evidence of. Even the economic network effect is hard to justify economically with hard numbers.

Gene Seroka is a good leader, and for coronavirus, we hope he is able to pull together what’s needed for the job.

Kim Link-Wills, Senior EditorWednesday, September 16, 2020

Port of LA leader calls for industrywide digital transformation (with video) – FreightWaves