Some shipping sectors still slow to recognize advances in ocean cargo technology

Despite the global cargo shipping industry’s major economic challenges, many survey respondents anticipated a turnaround in the next two years.

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Synchronizing the ocean supply chain for terminals and carriers was put in spotlight at Navis World 2017 staged in San Francisco earlier this year.

Navis, a part of Cargotec Corporation, told logistics managers charged with keeping abreast of the latest changes in automation. But in a subsequent report released this week, analysts say that some sectors of the industry continue to resist.

This is worsened by the industry’s aging and inflexible IT systems, which are key impediments to improving visibility and collaboration. Some 54 percent of respondents said the industry being “slow to change” was one the biggest roadblocks to improving collaboration, while 49 percent cited the cost and complexity of legacy systems.

At the same time, many in the industry believe that change is coming. Some 46 percent of respondents said their companies were either investing significantly in new technologies or significantly increasing those investments.

“We are seeing accelerating technology innovation and upgrades as terminals and carriers alike embrace the age of digitization,” said Benoit de la Tour, President of Navis and Head of the Software Business at Kalmar. “Last year alone, 43 terminals completed the implementation or upgrade of our N4 terminal system, more than double the amount of the previous year.  And we are seeing strong uptake this year, along with a more positive outlook in third-party research and media reports from some of the leading companies in the container shipping industry.”

Other key findings include:

·      Some 90 percent of shippers and consignees say there’s a need to improve visibility in the ocean supply chain. 

·      Eighty-five percent of shippers and consignees rate the industry as either “slow to change” (70 percent) or “far behind the curve” (15 percent) when it comes to innovation and next generation technology adoption. 

·      Just 12 percent of respondents said their partners were “very effective” at collaborating and sharing data, although 38 percent said their partners were improving and 32 percent said they were “somewhat effective.”

·      Respondents said the top five most promising technologies for the maritime industry are: data analytics, automation, the Internet of Things, new software management solutions and cloud solutions.

Despite the global cargo shipping industry’s major economic challenges, many survey respondents anticipated a turnaround in the next two years. 27 percent expected “some improvement” or “significant improvement” in profitability, while 35 percent expected “stabilization, but lack of profitability” over that period.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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