Ports & Terminals

NAVIS President Urges Terminals and Carriers to Increase Digitization

Benoit de la Tour, president of maritime software provider Navis, urged port and terminal operation participants at the Navis World 2017 conference in San Francisco to prepare for a major investment in digitization by ocean carriers and global terminal operators. In his opening remarks on March 28th, de la Tour said Navis has anticipated the growth in digitization and is positioning its new XVELA cloud-based system as the next generation in terminal and ocean carrier digitization. He said this will improve terminal operations and speed information sharing between terminals and carriers. He noted that a recent survey of Navis customers found that 59% of respondents still find that there is “poor coordination among supply chain participants.” He said a major cause is that terminal operators and ocean carriers have still not sufficiently embraced “digitization.” The Navis survey found that 72% of respondents amongst terminal and ocean carrier representatives believe their industries “still lag behind in digitization.” De la Tour noted problems in vessel stowage programs where “containers are still not where they are supposed to be.” He said that waste is costing the maritime industry $17 billion a year and includes vessel performance issues, inefficiencies in company housekeeping, container management, berth window planning and visibility of container locations. Arthur Touzot, stowage system consultant for ATSea Consulting, told AJOT that the XVELA cloud technology could be “a game changer” for carriers and terminal operators because it will allow for improved integration of vessel stowage and terminal operations systems information that will improve planning and reduce mistakes and miscommunications. Touzot, who previously worked at ocean carrier CMA, says new 18,000 TEU ships will soon be arriving at U.S. ports and this will not only force major upgrades in cargo-handling but also in data processing and systems integration. De la Tour noted that the emergence of industry disrupters such as Amazon, Über and AirBnb are the result of their improved analytics that saves time and money. Amplifying on de la Tour’s presentation was futurist Chris Surdak author of “Data Crush”. Surdak told Navis conference participants that leading edge businesses are moving away from the traditional analog culture of bureaucracy and measured responses to a digital culture of instant communication that has helped build the businesses of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Über and others. In this world, data analytics is helping new companies anticipate and effectively crowd source customers and sales, Surdak said. Amazon has led the way with peer reviews and recommendations based on past purchase history as well as with its parcel tracking capability which provides consumer customers with detailed progress reports. Surdak said that new agile e-commerce companies are beating out brick and mortar retailers by leapfrogging over the incrementalism of analog corporations who seek slow gradual improvements based on rigid bureaucratic organization and mindsets. Surdak noted that new digital companies look at past performance as a means to avoid mistakes while analog companies look at the past to define the present and future. Surdak suggested that new digital disrupters in freight transportation may challenge the maritime industry by embracing smaller, fast delivery ocean going vessels to speed up the shipment of imports and exports. Here again, Amazon has been pushing the transportation envelope by acquiring drones, trucking and aircraft and there are reports that Amazon may be looking at investing in new ships.
Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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