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GT Podcast – Episode 130 – LOGISTICS PLUS: Growth and Excellence Through Determination

GT Podcast - Episode 130 - Logistics Plus Cover Art featuring Jim Berlin

GT Podcast – Episode 130 – LOGISTICS PLUS: Growth and Excellence Through Determination

On this episode of GT Podcast’s Logistically Speaking we are speaking to Logistics Plus Founder and CEO, Jim Berlin.  Today we will learn how a small one-client, three-person company has grown to over 1200 employees in more than 50 countries worldwide, why this company has made it a personal mission to help in the efforts to help rebuild Ukraine, and what in the world do donuts have to do with success in logistics.  You won’t want to miss this one!

For more information on Logistics Plus, visit

Check out more of our GT Podcast – Logistically Speaking Series and more here!

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Port of Baltimore Expands Shipping Access with New Temporary Channel

In the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, the Port of Baltimore has taken a significant step forward by opening a third temporary channel, providing crucial access for vessels amidst ongoing debris removal efforts.

The newly opened channel, situated northeast of the collapsed bridge, serves as a lifeline for “commercially essential vessels” during salvage operations and bridge reconstruction. With dimensions boasting a depth of 20 feet, horizontal clearance of 300 feet, and vertical clearance of 135 feet, this route significantly widens the accessibility for a diverse range of vessels to reach the port.

Coast Guard and Port Captain David O’Connell underscored the importance of this development, emphasizing its capacity to restore approximately 15 percent of the port’s pre-collapse commercial activity.

This initiative follows the opening of the first temporary channel on April 1, soon after the bridge incident in early March. Officials are actively working towards the establishment of a fourth channel by month’s end, aiming to fully restore maritime traffic at the Port of Baltimore.

Meanwhile, efforts to clear debris from the vessel responsible for the bridge collision, the Dali, continue. Despite challenges, workers have successfully removed around 1,300 tonnes of steel using massive cranes. Tragically, the incident has claimed the lives of six roadwork crew members, with recovery efforts ongoing for the remaining two.

The comprehensive debris removal process remains critical, particularly for the safe return of the Dali to the port. As the port navigates these challenges, the opening of the new temporary channel marks a significant milestone in maintaining vital shipping operations amidst ongoing recovery efforts.

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GT Podcast – Episode 129 – The Port Authority of NY & NJ – The Port That’s Doing Alot and Doing it Right

Welcome to another episode of “Logistically Speaking,” the podcast that delves deep into the pulse of global trade and logistics.  Today, we’re excited to welcome a very special guest, Bethann Rooney, the Port Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, one of the busiest and most significant ports in the United States.

In this episode, we will uncover why the Port of NYNJ stands out as a powerhouse in the global port community. Bethann will share her insights on how the port not only handles immense logistical challenges but does so with exceptional efficiency and innovation. We’ll explore the strategies that make this port a model of success, emphasizing sustainability and forward-thinking management.

Moreover, we’ll dive into a unique ecological concern—can a small marine organism actually threaten the accessibility of big container ships? This might sound minor, but it has the potential to create major ripples in global shipping logistics.

Stay tuned as we navigate through these fascinating topics, offering you a behind-the-scenes look at the complexities and triumphs of running one of the world’s most influential ports.

For more information on the Port Authority of NY & NJ, visit

Check out more of our GT Podcast – Logistically Speaking Series and more here!

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Chinese Crane Manufacturer Denies Cybersecurity Concerns Raised by US Officials

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) has vehemently denied allegations of potential cybersecurity risks associated with its cranes, following scrutiny from US congressional committees. The Chinese state-owned company refuted claims and emphasized its adherence to international standards and relevant regulations, as reported by Reuters.

ZPMC highlighted that its cranes have been extensively deployed in ports worldwide, including those across the United States. The House of Representatives security panels specifically examined ZPMC’s installation of Swiss engineering group ABB’s equipment onto US-bound ship-to-shore cranes. ABB executives were summoned to public hearings in January to address concerns about their collaboration with ZPMC.

In response, ABB clarified that it had supplied equipment to various crane manufacturers, including Chinese firms, who then directly sold the cranes to US ports. ZPMC addressed the concerns raised by the Homeland Security and Strategic Competition committees, emphasizing that their cranes do not pose any cybersecurity risk to ports.

The issue of cyberattacks and industrial espionage between the US and China, two of the world’s largest economies, is not uncommon. However, ZPMC dismissed the allegations, asserting its commitment to compliance and transparency in its operations.

ZPMC, listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, boasts a significant presence in the global market, with a fleet of more than 20 transportation vessels, solidifying its position as one of the world’s leading port machinery manufacturers. Meanwhile, ABB, which derives a considerable portion of its sales from China, stands as a key player in the engineering industry, with the US market being its primary source of revenue.

In light of recent concerns, the Biden Administration has announced plans to issue an Executive Order aimed at enhancing port cybersecurity in the United States, underscoring the importance of safeguarding critical infrastructure against potential threats.


TikTok is Seeking to Scale its Logistics 

The growth of TikTok has been nothing short of extraordinary. The viral video-sharing platform boasts 150 million users in the US alone, and ByteDance (the Chinese parent company) is now looking to replicate’s logistics success in a bid to compete directly in the larger e-commerce space. 

During Amazon’s early days partnerships with FedEx and United Parcel Service enabled the e-commerce giant to scale using trusted, expert carriers. Amazon ultimately reached the point where a network of Amazon-specific distribution centers and their own fleet was feasible. Today, Amazon alone represents 40% of the US e-commerce market. 

The e-commerce space is crowded and analysts believe TikTok’s move to provide their own logistics services could result in a similar development path as Amazon. Currently, TikTok relies on third-party sellers for fulfillment services but the emergence of TikTok Shop is what ByteDance believes will attract more users coupled with an efficient and reliable delivery service. Newegg and ShipBob, two prominent logistics providers, are in talks with TikTok to handle the storage, picking, packing, and shipping of orders. Private delivery networks will then manage deliveries. 

The ultimate success of TikTok Shop, however, will depend solely on the shopping experience. The app is already wildly successful in its algorithm’s ability to target video feeds per user and this has naturally given rise to content creators and similar influencers. With TikTok Shop, users can watch the modeled product and then click a link to purchase, similar to TV home-shopping channels like HSN or QVC. 

An unquestionable challenge will be keeping up with inventory once a product goes viral. This is common with well-known influencers and a surge in orders can easily collapse even the most mature supply chains. Another hurdle will be payments. It is infrequent for customers to enter credit card information into social-media apps. This will evolve over time but there will always be a percentage that will not feel comfortable with this model. Lastly, the regulatory hurdles loom for TikTok. There is still a contingent intent on severely restricting to outright banning TikTok in the US. Geo-political events could accelerate legislative positions.  


Lucas Systems and Carnegie Mellon University Collaborate to Revolutionize Logistics Packaging and Sustainability

Lucas Systems, a distribution center technology provider, has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to conduct research that could have a substantial impact on both environmental sustainability and commercial efficiency within the logistics industry.

The research focuses on developing innovative methods to reduce waste in distribution centers and transportation by optimizing the packing and packaging of multiple items in a single order. If successful, the outcomes of this research could bring about significant environmental and commercial benefits for numerous companies in the logistics sector.

A March 2023 report by Statista revealed that the worldwide consumption of paper and cardboard has been steadily increasing by approximately 7% year over year for the past 60 years. Lucas Systems emphasizes that this represents a fivefold increase in paper and cardboard consumption since 1960.

As part of the collaborative project, master’s level students in CMU’s Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D) within the School of Computer Science will leverage 3D visualization frameworks, mobile application development, Core CS, and Web/Angular/JS environments. They will work alongside Lucas Systems’ data scientists and software engineers to address architecture, user interfaces, and optimization challenges specific to end-of-supply chain distribution.

This joint effort contributes to Lucas Systems’ ongoing development of intelligent software designed to assist warehouse workers in picking products for orders in the most environmentally friendly and financially efficient manner.

Mark McCleary, CTO of Lucas Systems, underscores the vast opportunities for the distribution industry to enhance sustainability by reducing waste. McCleary notes that consumers are increasingly aware of the excessive material waste generated with each shipment, and both consumers and the environment bear the costs of this waste.

With over 90% of items shipped in the U.S. packaged in cardboard, Lucas Systems’ collaboration with CMU holds the potential for a significant economic impact on the distribution industry.

Addressing such complex challenges requires a multifaceted approach, leveraging modern technologies and expertise. Travis Breaux, Director of the Master of Software Engineering programs and Associate Professor of Computer Science at CMU, expresses excitement about contributing to the critical challenge of improving packaging sustainability using the latest technologies.

Podcast cover art with Logistics Plus

GT Podcast – Episode 128 – LOGISTICS PLUS: An Innovative Leader and Top 3PL

In this episode of GT Podcast’s Logistically Speaking, we will talk with Yuriy Ostapyak, Chief Operating Officer of Logistics Plus.  We will learn how Logistics Plus has grown from a logistics company to a supply chain management company that offers highly specialized solutions for Fortune 50 companies in the realm of IT, IT infrastructure, and business intelligence.  You won’t want to miss this one!

For more information on Logistics Plus, visit

Check out more of our GT Podcast – Logistically Speaking Series and more here!

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E-Commerce Boom and Its Impact on Logistic Operations


The world of commerce has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, with the relentless rise of e-commerce. In this article, we delve into the profound implications this e-commerce boom has had on logistic operations. As online shopping becomes the norm, logistics has emerged as the unsung hero of the digital age, playing a pivotal role in ensuring goods reach consumers efficiently and on time.

The Challenges of E-Commerce Logistics

Last-Mile Delivery Complexities

In the realm of e-commerce, the final leg of delivery—the last mile—is often the most challenging. Navigating through congested urban areas and ensuring timely doorstep deliveries poses logistical puzzles that demand innovative solutions. Drone deliveries and autonomous vehicles are just a glimpse of the technologies reshaping the last mile.

Inventory Management in the Digital Age

E-commerce demands a level of inventory agility that traditional retail seldom does. Real-time inventory tracking and demand forecasting are now paramount. Warehouse automation and RFID technology are helping businesses stay ahead of the curve.

Seasonal Fluctuations and Demand Forecasting

Seasonal shopping peaks and unforeseen demand surges require logistics to adapt rapidly. Machine learning algorithms are being employed to analyze historical data and predict future buying patterns, enabling more agile supply chains.

Returns Management and Reverse Logistics

The convenience of online shopping has given rise to a corresponding surge in product returns. Efficient returns management and reverse logistics are now integral parts of e-commerce logistics, demanding sophisticated processes and infrastructure.

Technological Advancements in E-Commerce Logistics

Automation and Robotics in Warehousing

Warehouses are transforming into high-tech hubs. Automated robots are efficiently picking, packing, and even conducting inventory checks, reducing labor costs and enhancing accuracy.

Data Analytics for Demand Prediction

The power of big data is harnessed for predictive analytics. Algorithms crunch vast datasets to anticipate consumer preferences, allowing for proactive stock replenishment and optimized distribution.

Artificial Intelligence for Route Optimization

Logistics providers are harnessing AI to optimize delivery routes, considering factors like traffic, weather, and real-time demand fluctuations, ensuring quicker deliveries.

Blockchain for Supply Chain Transparency

Blockchain technology is elevating supply chain transparency to new heights. Consumers can trace the journey of their products from source to doorstep, fostering trust and integrity.

Sustainable Practices in E-Commerce Logistics

Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions

The environmental impact of e-commerce packaging has raised concerns. Biodegradable and recyclable materials are being embraced, reducing the carbon footprint of e-commerce logistics.

Green Transportation and Carbon Footprint Reduction

Logistics companies are adopting electric vehicles and exploring alternative fuels to reduce emissions. The focus on eco-friendly transportation is in line with growing sustainability expectations.

Sustainable Warehousing Practices

Energy-efficient warehouses with smart lighting and climate control systems are becoming the norm. Solar panels and rainwater harvesting further exemplify sustainable warehousing.

The Global Impact of E-Commerce Logistics

Cross-Border E-Commerce and International Shipping

E-commerce transcends borders, making international shipping an everyday occurrence. Navigating customs regulations and ensuring timely global deliveries are now integral aspects of logistics.

Customs and Trade Compliance Challenges

As e-commerce connects buyers and sellers worldwide, customs compliance becomes paramount. Navigating intricate trade regulations requires expertise and precision.

Supply Chain Resilience in a Globalized World

Global supply chains, while offering vast opportunities, are vulnerable to disruptions. Robust contingency plans and diversified sourcing are critical for supply chain resilience.

The Evolution of Fulfillment Centers

Multi-Channel Fulfillment Strategies

E-commerce businesses often operate on multiple platforms. Streamlined multi-channel fulfillment strategies are essential for efficiency and consistency.

Micro-Fulfillment Centers for Urban Efficiency

In urban centers, micro-fulfillment centers are emerging to meet the demand for swift deliveries. Compact, tech-savvy hubs are reducing last-mile delivery times.

Dark Stores and Their Role in E-Commerce Logistics

Dark stores, or retail locations solely dedicated to fulfilling online orders, are reshaping logistics. They facilitate faster picking and packing, reducing delivery times.

The Importance of Customer Experience in E-Commerce Logistics

Timely Delivery as a Competitive Advantage

In the era of e-commerce, timely delivery is a competitive differentiator. Logistics that fail to meet delivery promises risk customer dissatisfaction and attrition.

Personalization and Customer Expectations

E-commerce logistics isn’t just about delivering products; it’s about delivering experiences. Personalization and catering to unique customer expectations are crucial for brand loyalty. 

This becomes especially vital in the context of fashion products, such as stylish leather pants, suits, jackets, and the like. Personalization has the potential to significantly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty, as it enables customers to feel appreciated and recognized in a competitive digital marketplace

Managing Customer Communication

Effective communication throughout the delivery process, from order confirmation to tracking information, is vital in managing customer expectations and building trust.

E-Commerce Marketplaces and Their Influence on Logistics

The Dominance of Amazon and Its Logistics Network

Amazon’s logistical prowess has redefined e-commerce. Its vast network, including fulfillment centers and delivery services, has set new standards for speed and efficiency.

Emerging Marketplaces and Their Logistics Models

As e-commerce diversifies, new marketplaces emerge with distinct logistics models. Understanding these models is essential for businesses seeking to expand their reach.

Independent E-Commerce Retailers and Their Unique Challenges

Smaller e-commerce players face distinct logistic challenges. Balancing cost-effective logistics with customer expectations is a constant juggling act.

The Future of E-Commerce Logistics

Hyperlocal Delivery and Instant Gratification

Consumers are increasingly expecting hyperlocal deliveries and instant gratification. Hyper-local fulfillment centers and real-time delivery tracking are poised to meet these demands.

Integration of Augmented Reality in the Supply Chain

Augmented reality is revolutionizing logistics training, maintenance, and even order picking. Its integration promises greater efficiency and reduced errors.

Sustainability as a Key Driver of Innovation

Sustainability isn’t just a trend; it’s a driving force behind logistic innovation. Businesses that prioritize sustainability are poised to lead in the evolving e-commerce landscape.


Adapting to the E-Commerce Boom: Key Takeaways for Logistics

In closing, the e-commerce boom has fundamentally transformed logistics. To thrive in this digital age, logistics operations must adapt, innovate, and embrace sustainability. The future of logistics is intertwined with the continued growth of e-commerce, and those who navigate these changes effectively will emerge as the leaders of tomorrow’s supply chain landscape.



The Pros and Cons of Local Sourcing

The Pros and Cons of Local Sourcing

Local sourcing is the practice of contracting suppliers located within your country or even city. This term also applies to the suppliers in your home county. However, there is always considerable debate over whether to prioritize the local suppliers or cast your net wider. To help decide, it is wise to look at the pros and cons of local sourcing.

The pros of local sourcing

Local sourcing means faster and more predictable delivery times

The news of supply chain disruptions is prevalent. Also, planning for survival in the new normal the pandemic has left us with is complex. So, it is no wonder that perhaps the most significant advantage of local sourcing is its reliability. Considering that the distance your cargo would need to travel is vastly reduced, the problems it can run into are fewer as well. You would not need to worry about ports or airports closing down and leaving your goods stranded. And, with that increased reliability, it becomes much easier to handle the risk factors of high-profitability deals.

You can work with suppliers much more closely

Another of the advantages of local suppliers is that you can work with them more closely. When dealing with an international supplier a whole sea away, it is natural that you can have at most one or two meetings in person a year. On the other hand, a short trip is all that would take to reach and discuss business with a local supplier. Of course, this means that you can also get them to customize some of their services for you, particularly if you need certain parts that need to be custom produced for your needs or a similar demand.

You would not need to manage your warehouses as meticulously

When your supplier is just down the street or a city or two away, timing deliveries right becomes easier. It means that, instead of having huge shipments that take up lots of space and cause logistics problems, it is possible to have a string of smaller deliveries. And, with the reduced risk and delay factors that we have already discussed, you can also order them, so they arrive before you need to have them shipped out. In turn, this would ensure that your warehouse is kept busy but never overflows or has shipments clogging up space better used for something else. And you could even manage with much smaller warehouses.

You could more easily make last-minute orders

Making a last-minute order is not something you should turn into a habit. However, if any of your suppliers run into problems, or you have a sudden order of goods yourself, you would be able to resolve the situation much more easily. A quick trip or a phone call would allow you to check in with your partners and look for additional goods. And the proximity would make getting the goods to you a breeze, as well. In the end, this extra wiggle room would let you approach your business in a much more relaxed way than ordering goods from overseas. After all, a missing shipment in such cases might take weeks to make up for.

You would not need to deal with import taxes

It is impossible to avoid worrying about taxes when trying to import goods. For any legitimate business, it is not too difficult a hurdle to cross. However, it can be tough to manage when you are just starting, and they are cutting into your profits. That is why, especially for brand new businesses, local suppliers that allow them to bypass this expense are an excellent choice. There are plenty of rare and common U.S. customs clearance issues you would entirely avoid by choosing to go through a local supplier, too.

Enhancing Sustainability and Reducing Carbon Footprint

One of the most significant advantages of local sourcing is its positive impact on the environment. By reducing the distance that goods travel, you contribute to lower carbon emissions and minimize the ecological footprint of your supply chain. With growing awareness of environmental concerns and increasing consumer demands for sustainable practices, opting for local suppliers can significantly boost your company’s reputation and attract eco-conscious customers.

Fostering Community Growth and Support

When you source locally, you actively contribute to the growth of your community and support the local economy. By providing business to nearby suppliers, you help create job opportunities and stimulate economic development. This, in turn, can lead to increased consumer spending within the community, benefiting other businesses as well. Additionally, building strong relationships with local suppliers can foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among businesses, creating a supportive network for mutual growth.

The cons of local sourcing

The local supplier might grow over-dependent on your business

It might sound odd. But be it for the supplier or the business, over-dependence is not great. If a supplier starts to prioritize the demands of the company they rely on for the majority of their profits, it can seriously impact their competitiveness in the market. They can grow too specialized to grow their business, and it can be challenging to secure new contracts. There is also the matter of their new product development slowing or halting entirely. It means that they might eventually be left behind and lose their chief source of income as well. It would make demand planning for the buyers difficult as well if planning to branch out to new products.

Canceling a contract can incur a lot of backlash

Hiring local suppliers and helping the local economy is fantastic for PR. However, if you ever need to move on from those contracts, you would be facing an equal amount of backlash and ill-will. No matter how justified your decision might be. The public could still view it as abandoning those same businesses and economies you were lauded for helping.

You might not be able to obtain the best or latest products

Local suppliers might not be able to offer you top-of-the-line goods. They are likely solid and reliable manufacturers, yes. But with the world as a stage for your business, it is always possible to find someone producing better versions of the product you are interested in. So, you are more or less choosing between reliability versus quality. Of course, there are exceptions.

Local suppliers can be less efficient

Even though they are more reliable, local suppliers can have efficiency problems. They tend to be smaller and have a smaller production capacity. Of course, as you work together and prosper, they might expand their business and build more facilities. But then you run the risk of our first cons: their reliance on your purchases growing to the point they practically only cater to you.

It is hard to ensure objective supplier selection

You might, over time, develop a tight-knit bond with the local suppliers, especially if they have been there for you since the foundation of your company. That is natural. However, if your company is developing faster than they are, you might find yourself in need of new partners to keep up with the demand you are facing. At such a time, due to your friendship or perhaps fear of public backlash, it wouldn’t be easy to objectively select another supplier better suited to your needs.

Limited Access to Specialized Products

While local suppliers offer reliability, they may not always have the capacity or expertise to provide highly specialized or cutting-edge products. In industries where innovation is crucial, you might need to explore international options to access the latest advancements and unique offerings.

Higher Costs and Reduced Cost Competitiveness

Local sourcing might come with higher production and labor costs compared to countries with lower manufacturing expenses. This can affect the cost competitiveness of your products in the global market. As a result, careful cost-benefit analysis is essential to ensure that the benefits of local sourcing outweigh the potential price disadvantages.

Dependence on Regional Vulnerabilities

By relying heavily on local suppliers, your supply chain could be susceptible to regional vulnerabilities. Natural disasters, economic downturns, or political instability in the region could disrupt your supply chain and affect your operations. Diversifying your sourcing strategy can help mitigate these risks and ensure a more resilient supply chain.

Final word

Now you know the pros and cons of local sourcing, so it should be easier to make an informed decision. Whether you decide to pursue local or international suppliers, remember that your priority is always the development and future of your company.


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Time to Transform, is Now

The logistics industry is at a crossroads to either transform or to hold off acceleration. Companies should no longer hope that the old style of “Favors and Handshakes behind closed doors” in order to keep a business strong through these challenging times to continue.

The impacts from the pandemic and the war initiated by Russia on Ukraine had accelerated the slowing of the industry. Trade between countries continues to slow down immensely. Independent logistics companies need to start their own digitalization/process-automation transformations before it becomes too late to catch up with the evolution of the industry.

The way that a conventional company operates during the off hours has diminished the worker’s willingness to adapt to a digital working environment. Companies need to respond quickly to re-train their workforce in order to understand that emerging technological skills and tools are required to become more efficient, responsive and competitive against competitors with more resources. 

One of the critical problems that independent logistics companies face is relying too much on the manual workforce and the use of paper to run their operations, customer service, sales and marketing. As a result, each given task becomes slow and expensive. It requires time to give instruction and supervision which adds into the customers’ end cost.

Another challenging and difficult job is to figure out how to expand sales outside the home country. It takes time and money to find and to know new partners to work with. Most find an easier networking-route or participate as members of a Domestic or International Association. However, working with un-familiar company owners can create new delays in operation and conflicts of potential sales orders. 

Working in an off-line environment is still valid, however it is going to be difficult to out-bid against competitors who have an integrated business model. Most current companies are 2nd generation owners, with an inherited or purchased business that needs to immediately identify the right tools for the company to adopt in order to survive and prepare for more difficult times.

The technology world has evolved drastically. With the ability to automatically download digitized documents from anywhere with mobile devices, it has helped businesses better manage their distribution of resources and makes it easier to alternate the rotation of drivers and vehicles to arrange work schedules and to reduce bottlenecks of waiting for instruction. Drivers can download tasks directly into their mobile device instead of getting instructions directly from a supervisor, limiting overlapping job functions. 

Another key area that must be improved and integrated is the Customs Procedures, to inform shippers of import-export rules and regulations. Shippers should be alerted of shipment restrictions or documents requirements to import-export before proceeding to ship. Many shippers are caught after shipments have arrived in their destination country. Shippers have to pay excessive duty and penalty because of incomplete customs clearance documents and have to pay additional warehouse charges due to exceeded allowance storage days at seaport or airport-warehouses.

With better technology integration, shippers can enter their products HS/Customs-Code and the system will immediately advise about documents needed by customs at the origin and destination countries. Drivers will then be able to get clear instructions when picking up a shipment that requires additional documents such as: MSDS, Quarantine, Health certificate, etc. needed to be picked up together to speed up the customs process.

Rebalancing the logistics industry into a digital or platform business model requires a thorough coordination by technology developers to Digitize information and make it easier to store and share transmitted data.

We need to transform the conventional logistics information system to improve the trade-supply chain networks. With Digitalization of logistics functions, Operations, Customer service, Administration, Sales and Marketing become auto responsive in distributing information to the right person at the right time to improve decision making. The accelerated growth of Global and Regional market will require each one of us to respond not tomorrow, but today.