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Global Shipping Trends: What to Expect in 2020

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Global Shipping Trends: What to Expect in 2020

Now that the fireworks are over and New Year’s resolutions are set, it’s time to prepare for global shipping in 2020. And that means looking at ongoing trends and changing regulations. One thing’s for sure, freight forwarding never has a dull moment.

Recapping 2019’s top global shipping disruptors

Before we jump into expectations for this year, let’s set the stage by looking at some of the top events in 2019 that may have affected global shipping strategies around the world.

Geopolitical uncertainties

From the ongoing Brexit discussion to the China-U.S. trade war and the trade conflict between Japan and Korea, these and other disruptions caused serious challenges to the transportation industry.

Preparation for International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020

While the latest revisions didn’t go into effect until January 1, 2020, preparation for the changing IMO requirements was well underway in 2019. The requirement to reduce sulphur oxide emissions from 3.5% to 0.5% was a drastic change that will likely continue to affect shipping costs and capacity availability.

E-commerce expectations

With the growth of e-commerce and high-tech products flooding our markets, air freight is a go-to mode of transportation for many shippers—any time of year.

To best understand how these and other mode-specific changes will affect your 2020 shipping year, let’s break them down by service.

Ocean service in 2020

In the past, ocean shipping followed the basic law of supply and demand. When demand increased, rates went up. When demand decreased, rates dropped. This often occurred regardless of carrier profitability. But that is changing, which could reshape expectations for 2020.

Carriers controlling capacity

Today’s ocean carriers are quick to withdraw capacity when demand changes. By adjusting the amount of equipment available, ocean carriers are better able to ensure demand remains tight enough to protect their profits. This is a successful technique because there are fewer ocean carriers than in the past, allowing for a quicker reaction when supply and demand shifts.

Increasing carrier costs

While ocean carriers can control capacity to help ensure rates remain compensatory, we can still expect some level of imbalance due to the IMO 2020 mandate, which increases carrier costs.

Driver and drayage capacity shortages

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) went in effect on January 1, 2020, which limits the use of classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees by companies in the state. This may affect the availability of the number of dray carriers in the busiest ports. This, in turn, can drive drayage costs up.

Air service in 2020

Last July, we posted about ongoing uncertainty in the air freight market. The good news is that air freight service has stabilized a bit since then. While we’re predicting a somewhat stable air freight market for the year, this could obviously change if there is some catalyst that changes the speed products need to come to market.

Stable demand expectations

We expect demand for air freight to remain stable for the time being. Many organizations continue to focus on managing expenses and are looking for cost-effective, efficient options for delivering on short timelines without breaking the budget.

Capacity to hold steady

Capacity will also likely remain stable. Most new capacity is coming in the form of lower deck. Pure freighter capacity will continue to move based on market yields that make sense from a carrier standpoint. There may be some capacity growth in off-market locations, based on passenger demand.

Customs compliance in 2020

It’s always smart to have a customs compliance program that aligns with your business goals, which is especially true this year. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has several customs changes slated to take place in 2020, and now’s the time to prepare. If you haven’t reviewed your customs program recently, our customs compliance checklist may help.

CBP moving away from ITRAC data

According to CBP, they will be eliminating Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC) reports in favor of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system. If you don’t already have an ACE portal account, now is the time to get one to ensure all your customs data is available to you when you need it most.

CBP’s continued focus on compliance and enforcement

CBP will continue to scrutinize tariff classification and valuation in an increasing post-summary environment. As the United States Trade Representative (USTR) continues to provide exclusions, many importers will depend on brokers to submit refund requests via post summary corrections (PSCs) or protests. CBP often requires additional data and/or documentation to ensure that tariff classifications and valuations are correct. It is imperative that you maintain a high degree of confidence in your compliance program and can substantiate any post summary claims with CBP.

Increasing Importer Security Filing (ISF) penalties

Throughout 2019 we saw CBP issuing more ISF penalties for inaccurate and/or untimely submissions. This will likely continue and could become a growing issue in 2020.

Disruptors affecting the industry in 2020

While certain trends and regulations only directly affect a single mode or service, there are still plenty that affect freight forwarding in general. Looking at 2020, it’s probably safe to say that the following disruptors will continue to affect the year ahead.

Broadening of sourcing locations

While there may be an end in sight to some of the trade war uncertainties, the initiative to broaden sourcing locations beyond China will likely continue. Southeast Asia has already seen clear benefits of this and will likely continue to see manufacturing growth in 2020.

Switching sourcing strategies can also bring risks, including capacity availability, infrastructure support, and geopolitical stability. While China will continue to be the largest exporter into the United States, we simply cannot deny the trends that continue to show volume shrinkage from China.

Accelerated evolution of technology

Significant investment in technology and transportation platforms continues to accelerate across the industry. Beyond private equity groups, well-respected and established providers like C.H. Robinson are making investments that will reshape logistics. These growing technological investments will continue to create value across the supply chain.

While this opens new options for shippers and carriers alike, you may likely need to spend more time researching which technology option is the best fit for your own organization. After all, the right technology offers tailored, market-leading solutions that work for supply chain professionals and drive supply chain outcomes.

Prepare for the year ahead

Overall, 2020 will be a great year for strategizing. Continuous improvement efforts—including a close look at service levels and mode choices—will help reach your short- and long-term supply chain goals.

Looking for a provider that can help in the coming year? C.H. Robinson has a global suite of services backed by technology and people you can rely on that will make 2020 preparations smooth and effective. Connect with an expert today.

pulp

U.S. Pulp Market – Exports to China Fell 9.4% in 2018, U.S Companies Lost $78M

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. Pulp Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2025’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the pulp market in the U.S. amounted to $4.8B in 2018, going up by 9% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2014 with an increase of 19% against the previous year. In that year, the pulp market attained its peak level of $5.1B. From 2015 to 2018, the growth of the pulp market remained at a lower figure.

Pulp Production in the U.S.

In value terms, pulp production totaled $7.2B in 2018. Overall, pulp production, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014 with an increase of 8.9% year-to-year. In that year, pulp production reached its peak level of $7.7B. From 2015 to 2018, pulp production growth failed to regain its momentum.

Exports from the U.S.

In 2018, approx. 6M tonnes of pulp were exported from the U.S.; going down by -4.7% against the previous year. Over the period under review, pulp exports continue to indicate a mild shrinkage. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2015 with an increase of 3.1% against the previous year. Exports peaked at 6.4M tonnes in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, pulp exports amounted to $4.5B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +1.7% from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations being observed over the period under review. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 when exports increased by 11% against the previous year. In that year, pulp exports reached their peak and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Exports by Country

China (1.6M tonnes) was the main destination for pulp exports from the U.S., with a 26% share of total exports. Moreover, pulp exports to China exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, Japan (479K tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Italy (391K tonnes), with a 6.6% share.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume to China stood at -3.2%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: Japan (+3.1% per year) and Italy (-3.4% per year).

In value terms, China ($1.2B) remains the key foreign market for pulp exports from the U.S., comprising 26% of total pulp exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Japan ($410M), with a 9.1% share of total exports. It was followed by Italy, with a 6.3% share.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value to China amounted to +1.0%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: Japan (+6.9% per year) and Italy (-1.5% per year).

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average pulp export price amounted to $759 per tonne, going up by 16% against the previous year. Over the period from 2013 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.1%. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 an increase of 16% against the previous year. In that year, the average export prices for pulp reached their peak level and is likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Japan ($855 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Germany ($554 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to South Korea, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into the U.S.

In 2018, the amount of pulp imported into the U.S. totaled 2.5M tonnes, increasing by 4.2% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.5% from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2018 when imports increased by 4.2% year-to-year. In that year, pulp imports reached their peak and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, pulp imports totaled $1.5B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +4.8% over the period from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2018 with an increase of 23% year-to-year. In that year, pulp imports attained their peak and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Brazil (2.1M tonnes) constituted the largest pulp supplier to the U.S., accounting for a 85% share of total imports. Moreover, pulp imports from Brazil exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, Chile (248K tonnes), ninefold.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume from Brazil amounted to +1.7%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: Chile (+20.8% per year) and Sweden (+19.7% per year).

In value terms, Brazil ($1.4B) constituted the largest supplier of pulp to the U.S., comprising 90% of total pulp imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Chile ($75M), with a 4.8% share of total imports.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value from Brazil totaled +4.0%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: Chile (+16.9% per year) and Sweden (+14.9% per year).

Import Prices by Country

The average pulp import price stood at $619 per tonne in 2018, growing by 18% against the previous year. Over the period from 2013 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.2%. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2018 an increase of 18% y-o-y. In that year, the average import prices for pulp reached their peak level and is likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Brazil ($655 per tonne), while the price for Chile ($300 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Brazil, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced a decline.

Companies Mentioned in the Report

Profile Products, Domtar Industries, Georgia-Pacific Brewton, Woodland Pulp, Cascade Pacific Pulp, Northwest Capital Appreciation, Forest Resolute Products, American Paper Recycling, Cascades Tissue Group-Oregon, A Division of Cascades Holding US, Parsons & Whittemore, St Paper, Alabama River Cellulose, Buckeye Technologies, Brunswick Cellulose, Parsons & Whittemore Enterprises, Fibrek Inc., Port Townsend Holdings Company, Buckeye Mt. Holly, Lest Distributors, Southern Cellulose Products, DOMTAR A.W., Alabama River Group, GP Cellulose, Buckeye Florida Limited Partnership, Pratt Paper (ny), Fibrek Recycling U.S. , Cosmo Specialty Fibers, Ox Paperboard

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

returns

National Returns Day Anticipated with 26% Increase

‘Tis the season for giving and returns. UPS released information today confirming National Returns Day will return with a vengeance, as seen over the last seven years of year-on-year increases. According to the report, an estimated 1.9 million returns in the form of packages are expected. This number represents a 26 percent increase from last year’s National Returns Day.

“For retailers, a seamless returns process is essential to keeping and growing business,” said Kevin Warren, UPS chief marketing officer. “We proudly offer businesses of all sizes – from global players to small and medium-sized merchants – the sophisticated returns services that today’s consumers demand.”

As part of its Pulse of the Online Shopper study, UPS confirmed that the returning process plays a major role in their likelihood of using a retailer again. In fact, 73 percent of online shoppers confirmed the returns experience impacts potential business.

As e-commerce continues to establish its position in consumer patterns, UPS stays one step ahead of the trends by offering a plethora of fast, reliable, and convenient delivery (and return) options for consumer products. Among these options include the 14,000+ UPS Access Point® locations found at UPS Access Point® locations found at Michaels, Advance Auto, CVS Pharmacy and The UPS Store® locations and the 36,000 drop boxes for smaller packages.

Additionally, UPS customers have an added option of having a UPS driver come to them as long as a return label is ready to go. UPS boasts a network of over 4,800 locations fully equipped and ready to assist customers with all of their full-service packing, shipping and return needs.

SAL Heavy Lift

SAL Heavy Lift Represents First Shipping Company to Adopt Green Tech

Six SAL vessels were confirmed for permanent installation of the long-awaited FS MARINE+ hydrogen / methanol injection solution following the final validation stage, according to information released by SAL Heavy Lift earlier this month.

“We are proud to have SAL Heavy Lift GmbH as our customer, and help them to become the most innovative, efficient and sustainable shipping company within their field,” said Marc Sima, CEO of FUELSAVE GmbH. “With this system we are driving the clean fuel transition with a high impact solution.

“It can optimize the energy consumption and the environmental impact significantly irrespective of what fuel type you operate your vessel with. Thus, it is applicable with MDO, MGO, HFO, LSFO as well as LNG. We are looking forward together with SAL to take a lead in supporting the shipping industry in its efforts to become more environmentally sustainable.”

SAL and FUELSAVE GmbH were the forerunners behind the new emissions reduction technology alongside stakeholders EcoTune Marine, Classification Society DNV GL as RO for Antigua and Barbuda flag, Carl Baguhn, MAN Energy solutions, M.A.C. System Solutions, AVL, and the flag state administration of Germany.

The reduction and overall decrease in primary fuel consumption is the result of injecting hydrogen, oxygen, water, and methanol into specific air intake parts found in the main and auxiliary engines, according to SAL. This process is confirmed by the FS MARINE+ system and results in lower pollution and emissions.

Currently, the FS MARINE+ generator is reducing CO2 emissions by 10 percent, reducing SOx by 15 percent, and 40 percent less particle emissions.

“SAL has always been a frontrunner when it comes to innovation and we are dedicated to make shipping more efficient and cleaner by using technologies that creates a long-lasting effect,” added Sebastian Westphal, CTO of SAL Heavy Lift. “We have tested a prototype on a generator engine of our MV Annette over more than two years with very convincing results. The FS MARINE+ system not only achieved significant fuel savings, but also emission and air pollution reductions which was verified by 3rd parties both during field trials and in laboratory tests.”

Among the first vessels to be fitted with this system will be the MV Trina projected to occur during Q1 2020.

airfeight

Airfreight vs. Sea Freight – Which Works Better?

Airfreight vs. sea freight has become a burning dilemma for all those in need of this type of services. While both solutions come with a set of advantages and disadvantages, the final choice one makes will depend on a variety of factors. We are willing to share our knowledge and findings with you so that you can make the best possible decision regarding your shipment in the given circumstances. 

Airfreight vs sea freight – the costs can be a decisive factor

Undeniably, the amount of financial means necessary to afford airfreight services is considerably higher than that of sea freight. Moreover, the appearance of the largest cargo aircraft in the world announces great changes and improvements in this field. The Antonov An-225 could cause a further rise of the airfreight costs, but it will also guarantee higher quality. On the other hand, sea freight is much more affordable and, consequently, the number one choice of a vast majority of clients. Opting for sea freight provides clients with acceptable service but at a significantly lower price.

Time matters greatly!

Most often, clients want their shipment delivered as soon as possible, which can cause problems for those offering sea freight services. Not seldom do customs issues or hold-ups at ports cause serious delays. However, we must admit that a giant step forward is evident in this field. Firstly, high-quality, modern ships are much faster now than it was the case in the past. Secondly, there are some canal upgrades that can eliminate tedious and tiring delays on some routes. Finally, sea freight forwarders can guarantee delivery times, which is vital for business owners when it comes to organization.

The type of cargo affects the final choice on airfreight vs. sea freight dilemma

The type of cargo is one of the most important factors influencing the choice in the airfreight vs. sea fright dilemma. In this case, we must admit that sea fright seems like a much better solution since it has no limitations you have to be aware of. One of the crucial pros of the maritime shipping is that you can ship even the bulkiest and extremely heavy goods. Conversely, airfreight is limited in this discipline. Before you opt for this type of goods transportation, it is advisable to make sure that the type of your cargo is acceptable. In addition, there is a very long list of the items which are prohibited and those listed as hazardous materials. Depending on your final destination, the rules and laws may differ. Yet, getting sufficient information on the subject must still be the first step in the process.

Safety of your cargo is the top priority

Understandably, the safety of cargo is always the top priority. It is important to emphasize that air cargo has to be dealt with the utmost attention and in accordance with the regulations which are very strict and clear. All the crucial elements, including handling and securing your cargo as well as the proper storage, are defined by airport regulations. This is a great benefit and a guarantee that the safety of your goods will be at the maximal level. On the other hand, we cannot say that sea freight is a bad alternative either. In this case, the goods are transported in containers, but the human factor is crucial. Proper packing strategies are essential in order to decrease any chances of potential damage during transport. If this is not conducted appropriately, the chances are some of your goods might get seriously damaged or even cause further problems on the ship.

Do not forget about the accessibility of your goods

If we analyze the accessibility of your goods as one of the criteria, airfreight is a more favorable option by all means. The procedures are clear, cargo is in smaller volumes and there are no unnecessary waitings to receive your goods. Using sea freight for your cargo often results in additional costs due to heavy congestions in seaports. If your goods are not delivered at the arranged time, you are required to pay for detention and demurrage costs, which may be a heavy burden on your budget. However, we must not forget to mention an advantage sea freight offers comparing to airfreight. The accessibility to markets is much higher in case of sea freight. The reason is very simple. When unloaded from ships, containers can move further inland by using the services of intermodal shippers

Eco-friendly practices 

Finally, let us not forget about the environment when choosing between airfreight vs sea freight. Applying eco-friendly practices is becoming increasingly important, so it does not surprise this is one of the factors shippers base their decision on. According to this particular criterion, sea freight is a more reasonable option since it has a significantly better carbon footprint. Quite the opposite, airplanes are serious polluters and require special attention and measures to reduce their carbon footprint to minimal values.

Final words on airfreight vs sea freight dilemma

The decisions and choices you make concerning airfreight vs sea freight dilemma will depend on miscellaneous factors. It is of key importance to weigh the pros and cons of each of these options and then make your decision final.  A serious effort is required to negotiate the best shipping terms and only then can you expect to ship your goods completely fuss-free.

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Susan Daniels is a passionate copywriter who loves exploring home improvement ideas and real estate market. Lately, she has gained considerable knowledge in the types of moving services and the qualities of respectable moving companies such as DA Moving NYC, for example. She enjoys giving advice on the best places to live and exciting places to visit. Traveling makes her happy as well as reading good books.

market

Despite the Name, the Refrigerated Container Market is Red Hot, Spurring Industry Moves

The global shipping containers market is poised to experience significant market valuation and robust growth through 2025, according to industry research published last year. Sorry about the temperature mix you are about to withstand, but the hottest segment of that market in that study was refrigerated containers, a.k.a. reefer.

Be they 20-foot, 40-foot or even higher cubes, “reefer containers are projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the product type category during the forecast period,” which was 2017-2025 for Persistence Market Research. (See https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/market-research/shipping-containers-market.asp.)

The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the period is forecast by PMR to be 10.2 percent for the reefer segment, with the 20- and 40-foot sub segments expected to push the positive growth. It’s interesting to note that this factoid was part of a report that more prominently played up the predicted 8.6 percent CAGR for the dry container segment.

That said (or, more accurately, written), it is telling that PMR expects the overall container market to register a “robust” CAGR of 8.3 percent throughout the eight-year period, even with the forecast of a slowing global economy in 2020.

“The growth of the shipping containers at a global level is pushed by the growth in the economy, rising seaborne trade, increasing demand for highly efficient and superior capacity shipping containers, growth in sales of specialized shipping containers by department of defense and rising trend of increasing use of remote container management (RCM) solutions,” PMR finds.

There have been anecdotal indications of the reefer market’s continued growth. Universal Africa Lines (UAL), a conventional ocean transportation carrier that specializes in handling project cargo, breakbulk and containers, boasts a fleet of more than 4,000 containers including reefers, high cubes, open tops and flat racks with the ability to provide a multitude of shipping options including door-to-door service. Last summer, UAL announced its call at Port of Houston’s City Docks as part of its U.S. Gulf/Mexico to West Africa liner service.

Port of Houston was attractive to UAL due to the available dedicated laydown area for project cargoes and berth availability, both of which provided added flexibility to the carrier’s multipurpose fleet.

Cogoport, a leading digital freight logistics business in India, announced in July 2019 the launch of reefer cargo services to and from destinations around the globe. “We are meeting significant demand for reefer exports to North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and to those importing refrigerated cargoes–enabling SME [small-to-medium enterprise] shippers all over India to deliver better productivity, service and profitability when moving their perishable cargoes,” said Cogoport CEO and founder Purnendu Shekhar at the time.

India has experienced “rapid and sustained growth in refrigerated exports during the past decade with commodities like fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts, meat, pharmaceuticals and chemicals driving demand for reefer import and export services,” explained Shekhar’s company in a press release.

“We have had a great experience working with Cogoport, moving onions to different corners of the world–saving us time and budget,” says Ankit Begwani, CEO and founder of BegwaniGlobal. “Like many other SMEs, we are also seeing huge demand for shipping of perishable cargoes, not least for fruit and vegetable exports to Malaysia and Dubai. This requires high operational output, optimization of shipments and customer satisfaction for delivering goods on time. Every cent matters to every SME business, and Cogoport has demonstrated that it can help deliver that value with better rates, better margins and better visibility.”

The reefer demand is not going one way in India, where the rise of the middle class has created a greater desire for refrigerated imports, particularly from Germany, South Korea and Russia, according to the advisory from Cogoport, which is headquartered in Mumbai and has offices in Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

Perhaps the greatest indication of reefer’s rise comes in the form of technological advances that different industry players seem to announce almost daily.

Miramar, Florida-based Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), the largest wireless network operator at sea, and Globe Tracker, the fastest growing provider of global supply chain IoT visibility for cold-chain, announced their partnership in November to bring real-time reefer monitoring to Seaboard Marine, the largest marine cargo shipping line in Central, South America and the Caribbean.

Under the multi-year, multi-ship agreement, Seaboard Marine becomes the world’s first container ocean line to implement a truly portable, fully 24/7 monitored, 4G LTE based private cellular and integrated satellite communication network for containers on vessels. The innovation and expertise from WMS and Denmark-based Globe Tracker—whose North American headquarters are in Sarasota, Florida—results in “a novel vessel network that is seamless, interoperable, and provides end-to-end enhanced visibility and real-time connectivity, both in the cloud and on the vessel at sea,” according to the companies.

They add that Seaboard Marine also becomes the world’s first ocean line to implement full IoT visibility across their fleet of intermodal assets, including reefers, gensets, chassis and vessels—all on a single integrated easy to use platform.

“By IoT equipping our Controlled Atmosphere (CA) reefer fleet and other critical assets, we are well-positioned to provide more responsive cold chain services for our trade lanes, which facilitates complex processes such as USDA cold treatment,” noted Seaboard Marine Vice President Piero Buitano in the announcement.

“The vessel system also provides real-time alerts to crew technicians, so problems can be quickly detected and corrected, if necessary, thereby increasing temperature compliance,” added Frederick Urbina, Seaboard’s Refrigerated Services manager.

Noted Pramod Arora, WMS president and CEO, of Seaboard Marine: “They have been a valuable partner in pushing us to innovate first-to-market solutions that we are now deploying within their fleet. We look forward to continuing to partner with Seaboard Marine for future innovations.”

Globe Tracker had already started the partnering mojo in September, when it announced having teamed with Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based SeaCube Containers, a global leader in refrigerated shipping containers and gensets, to provide IoT-enabled gensets for Ocean Network Express (ONE), the sixth-largest shipping line in the world.

The cutting-edge GT technology provides cellular communication of operational parameters from gensets, including fuel level, battery voltage, events and alarms and even remote shut-off capability for certain genset brands.

“The growing demand for greater tracking, transparency, security, diagnostics and asset fleet management using smart technology will continue to be a key driver for leased solutions,” said Greg Tuthill, chief commercial officer at SeaCube, in the joint announcement. “By partnering with Globe Tracker, we will continue to enhance our leading-edge technology solutions and expand our commitment to the intermodal industry by providing smart asset technology leased products.”

John Harnett, senior director Marine and Intermodal at Globe Tracker, added he was pleased to be working with SeaCube “in providing this best-in-class genset solution to ONE. In genset telematics, we are the only provider integrated into the micro-controller of two out of the three leading brands in North America. This provides ONE with the most robust amount of data and assists in setting maintenance intervals, reducing maintenance costs, extending asset life, monitoring fuel consumption and having full operational visibility of their genset assets.”

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Carrier Transicold, which is under the umbrella of Farmington, Connecticut’s United Technologies Corp., used the Nov. 5-7  Intermodal Europe 2019 in Hamburg, Germany, to unveil its new TripLINK digital tool that is designed to make shipping perishables simple, transparent and reliable worldwide.

The tool digitally connects customers to updates on their assets, including vital cargo health information. TripLINK software securely gathers and analyzes machine and cargo-health data that it wirelessly obtains from telematics hardware in the refrigerated container and the micro controller.

“Our aim in unveiling these new digital solutions is to bring to our customers convenience, visibility and actionable intelligence, ultimately to derive more savings for them,” said Kartik Kumar, vice president & general manager, Carrier Global Container Refrigeration. “At Carrier, the future is now. Through leveraging the latest cutting-edge technology, especially on the digital front, we provide our customers practical solutions they only once dreamed possible.”

Also part of a new suite of digital solutions is the Container eCommerce portal, which began supporting customers in Southeast Asia in mid-November. The portal put on view Carrier Transicold’s full catalog of refrigerated container unit parts and allowed orders to be placed easily.

Also on display in Germany was Carrier’s new Micro-Link 5 controller, which is billed as the industry’s first wireless connectivity enabled refrigerated container unit controller that is also equipped with advanced diagnostics, allowing service technicians to save time and money by reducing container moves and the need to restack units to retrieve critical data or conduct troubleshooting. And a new DataLINE Connect mobile app allows customers to work directly with a refrigerated unit equipped to receive data via a smartphone or tablet.

Staying in Europe, but traveling back the previous month to October 2019, CEVA Logistics opened a new integrated, end-to-end cold chain facility at DP World London Gateway in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, UK.

More than 50 customers, including representatives of French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM, attended the unveiling of The Chill Hub, which CEVA describes as a state-of-the-art facility with dedicated areas for handling pharmaceuticals, fresh and frozen produce, beverage products and flowers as well as other goods requiring temperature specific handling and storage.

The location is considered strategic because a deep-sea port is on the same site as the logistics park where The Chill Hub rests. London Gateway, which has links to more than 110 ports in 60 different countries, is considered the UK’s No. 1 reefer hub.

“With its excellent road and rail connections, our best in class warehouse management systems and direct port access, the Chill Hub is a powerful demonstration of the synergies between CEVA Logistics and CMA CGM,” said Nicolas Sartini, CEO of Baar, Switzerland-based CEVA Logistics, which has offices worldwide, including all over North America.

“This state-of-the-art facility will enable us to offer a unique value proposition to our shipper customers,” Sartini continued, “providing a faster delivery of goods through an energy-efficient building. We can also give full visibility and control of the entire inbound operation through The Chill Hub.”

CargoSmart Limited—which leverages technologies including artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, as well as a deep understanding of ocean shipping for its transportation and logistics clients—announced in November its new Connected Reefer Solution. The one-stop, AI and IoT-enabled reefer cargo management system for ocean carriers and shippers features end-to-end information transparency, including enhanced reefer container Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI) support, real-time container status monitoring updates, and predictive cargo arrival status.

“CargoSmart Connected Reefer Solution provides users with a one-stop, hassle-free solution that seamlessly integrates IoT-enabled containers with cloud-based monitoring software and APIs [application programming interfaces],” said Lionel Louie, CargoSmart’s chief commercial officer, in the announcement. “With the cutting-edge technologies and the vast volume of data collected, CargoSmart Connected Reefer Solution brings an unprecedented level of real-time cargo status visibility, empowers more accurate and responsive planning, and significantly drives down operation costs for carriers and shippers.”

Louie was not blowing smoke. CargoSmart reefer management was the winner of the Lloyd’s List 2019 “Excellence in Supply Chain Management” Asia Pacific and the 2019 TIBCO Trailblazer Visionary awards. And the solution received this praise from Li Dong, general manager of COSCO Shipping’s Equipment Management Center: “In addition to heightened visibility to reefer cargo status, COSCO Shipping replaced manual PTI with AI-enabled PTI, bringing significant enhancements in cost-efficiency savings as well as reefer management capabilities.”

demand

Adapting Supply Chains for Increased Consumer Demand and Same Day Shipping

Same-day and next-day shipping options are increasing, and consumers are beginning to desire expedited shipping options with minimal delay. Through new technologies, space optimization, and supply chain auditing, there are various ways companies can adapt to this demand.

There used to be a tattered cartoon taped to every dry cleaner’s cash register. There’s a man laughing — holding his stomach, actually, as the joke is so funny — with a bold face caption that reads: “YOU WANT IT WHEN?!”

Faced with minimal competition, it was a time when companies held production and delivery control, with consumers at their mercy to indeed receive their press garments at a time of the dry cleaner’s choosing.

Those days are long gone. Armed with just a digital device, consumers have numerous options in finding suppliers who can provide things whenever they desire. As such, they expect — rather, demand —products and services on their terms.

As a result, companies must either adapt their supply chains to accommodate these expectations or find themselves with diminished market share. Below are key areas that companies must address to compete in today’s on-demand environment.

Take inventory of your inventory

As a first step, perform a comprehensive audit of your entire supply chain, even hiring a third-party specialist to develop the critical assessment. Such a deep-dive look will measure delivery accuracy, on-time performance, worker productivity and even call center effectiveness, all significant contributors to the overall efficiency of your suppliers and their impact on your supply chain.

Find a better mousetrap

Once the audit is complete, it’s time to take action, which may mean making fundamental changes to your supply chain. If you’re currently operating with a hub-and-spoke distribution model, for instance, the feedback may point to achieving greater efficiencies by adopting a decentralized distribution model (and vice versa). Especially when it comes to last-mile delivery, partnering with a third-party provider can also help, providing you with the fast turnaround that your customers expect without straining your existing operations.

Get your house in order

Any fundamental change to the supply chain must include enhancements to warehouses, adopting technological advances that deliver greater efficiencies. For some, this may mean incorporating a short-interval waving warehouse management system (WMS), which allows orders to be dispatched in clusters or waves. Other advances automate the sizing and selection of cartons, which makes packing more efficient while streamlining costs.

Taking things personnel-ly

Until supply chain logistics can all be outsourced to robots, bottom-line performance ultimately depends on the availability and performance of your employees. To those ends, leverage technology to minimize labor supply disruptions, especially during holiday seasons when demand peaks. (This is increasingly important as unemployment reaches record lows, further diminishing the labor pool.) Technology should also be used for scheduling and training, which delivers greater efficiencies and even job retention, as greater scheduling flexibility leads to increased employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Consumer demand for ever-shrinking delivery timelines makes ongoing supply chain refinements no longer optional, but mandatory. Your long-term success depends on it.

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Neil Wheeldon is vice president — solutions at BDP International in The Hague, Netherlands.

rewards

UPS Launches Access Point Rewards Program for Increased Holiday Support

UPS customers gearing up for the upcoming holiday season are being encouraged to keep things simple in terms of shipping through the utilization of the UPS Access Point® network through the UPS My Choice® service.  By doing so, consumers can expect up to $35 in value rewards back from the shipping company from Target eGift cards to upgraded deliveries via a free UPS My Choice Premium membership.

UPS understands that busy consumers increasingly need choice, control and convenience in the delivery process, especially during the holiday season,” said Kevin Warren, UPS’s chief marketing officer. “With the expanded UPS Access Point network, they get that, as well as the added bonus of not having to worry about package security, missed deliveries or hiding presents until the right time.”

The added rewards in conjunction with the Access Point network are direct initiatives supporting the needs of UPS consumers. Customers are currently offered more than 15,000 convenient pick-up destinations through the Access Point network. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed 20 percent of global shoppers expressed alternate delivery location preferences to home delivery. The Access Point network and now rewards program are direct responses to fulfill consumer demands.

To take advantage of the rewards program, consumers are encouraged to enroll (for free) in the  UPS My Choice® service for global delivery options access. An email will be sent to eligible rewards members in January 2020 with information on redeeming their rewards. To learn more about the holiday program, please visit: ups.com

International Shipping

International Business Shipping Tips for Success

Shapiro Company provides detailed tips on the best ways to navigate international business shipping from privacy to proactive measures.

Ensuring these steps are included in your company’s shipping checklist can prevent delays, loss, and reduce overall risk.

digital

Digital Collaboration: Get ahead, fast.

Recently at a conference for freight forwarders everyone jointly agreed: if you’re the fastest to quote, you win the customer. What astonished me was what I heard in a conversation afterwards! “We are working in shifts now, 16 hours per day, to make sure we can quote fast and win new deals,” said one of the present forwarders. I was surprised that putting in more hours to send emails back and forth is a better solution for shipping companies than digitizing collaboration and automating tasks. The banking system solved this issue years ago with the introduction of the SWIFT system: a standardized banking system that enables companies which had never worked with each other before to transfer money on a global scale at no risk. 

In shipping, we’re still way behind the curve. The newly formed Digital Container Shipping Association has taken the first timid steps to promote data standards in shipping because they believe in close collaboration between the different stakeholders. The underlying rationale for this collaboration is typically 2-fold: (a) Margins are still depressed due to overcapacity and (b) customers demand more and more streamlined services. Although costs for technology are consistently decreasing, our industry is generally considered to have been slow to adopt digital approaches. Of course, companies collaborate across company borders, mostly through emails and networks; but isn’t it extremely inefficient and unscalable, especially in times where this could be automated to be done within seconds instead of days? 

What holds SMEs back from digital collaboration? 

We have noticed that especially small and medium-sized companies are either stuck in their traditional mindset or simply don’t know how to start with digital collaboration. Why is that so and how do companies overcome this conundrum? 

Companies are afraid to share their data 

People have to overcome their traditional industry mindset first, as a highly competitive attitude makes collaboration with competitors exceedingly difficult. Most companies don’t want to share their data because they think it’s their secret and crucial for their business – but most “data” is non-sensitive. Consider container movements, position updates forecasts and contact information of local agents. Of course, crucial information about e.g., my commercial terms with my vendors should not be openly shared! However, sharing operational data means exchanging information that you can leverage to increase service offerings, internal processes and ultimately create quotations in less time. 

Even if companies are willing to collaborate, they don’t know how to get started 

Lack of existing data standards, limited capacity or scary data security questions – the list of potential challenges of data sharing is long (as for every new project!) and only a limited number of people in logistics have “been there, done that”. 

However, in the end, it comes down to what you want to achieve/solve in the first place: How do you get your customers love working with you? How do you create quotations in less time to win more business? We suggest defining your most important targets and metrics first, and reverse engineer a good solution from there. 

Now: How can you get started? 

To get started with data sharing, finding out what you want in the first place is only the beginning of a long journey. To make it a little bit easier for you, try to answer the questions below for your own business (take a screenshot or copy into a word doc): 

-What are my main pain points?

-What is particularly crucial for my customers?  

-What data describes the problem the best? 

-How well is my data organized? 

-What data is non-sensitive? 

-What additional data do I need? 

-Who has it? How can I get that data? 

-Who (of my partners) would need my data to become better? 

-Does it make sense to work with them? 

-What integrations and/or technology would that require? 

There is no one-size-fits all solution as you can see! It’s about you and your specific business model. Only after you’re able to answer these questions you can think about the next steps: design use-cases/MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), and test setups and data integrations. 

With missing IT capabilities or resources, building integrations can oftentimes be hard because you need to manage numerous data standards and interfaces. In most cases, a 3rd party technology provider can help you as a connector in the industry. Such technology companies can not only translate different data formats into one language, but they also anonymize data to increase trust and reduce perceived risks for you: You still own your data and it is 100% up to you what part of your data you want to share to reach a certain goal. Moreover, working with 3rd party technology providers has another advantage for you: they help you develop a proof of concept at low costs! 

Of course, it requires a certain level of commitment, but working with a connector lets you test with a well-defined problem and a limited group of stakeholders to develop a workable solution. For freight forwarders, it could be the integration with a selected list of carriers to enable instant online quotes/ bookings for their customers. For equipment managers it could be integrating their equipment management system with a tracking provider to automatically receive container status updates such as pickups, drop-offs, delay warnings and ETAs. 

Once the proof of concept has been demonstrated, the collaboration could then be expanded by bringing in additional stakeholders or addressing related problems with similar approaches. Being able to create quotations faster is only one challenge – several other topics including internal organization, equipment management or communication with external stakeholders can also be targeted with an open mindset and the courage to test new things. We encourage you to start right now! 

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Christian Roeloffs is the founder and CEO of Container xChange – an online platform that creates transparency on supply and demand in container logistics. More than 300 container users and owners such as Seaco and Kuehne+Nagel use the neutral online platform to find SOC containers in 2500 locations and identify partners to avoid empty container repositioning.