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Competitors Link Arms and Embrace Technology’s Promise

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Competitors Link Arms and Embrace Technology’s Promise

Overcapacity. Low freight rates. Security problems. Data inadequacies. Stringent environmental regulations. When it comes to moving containerized freight around the globe, third-party logistics companies (3PLs) have a lot to deal with.

However, like a guardian angel, blockchain has arrived to solve all these issues and more for the 3PL industry, which stands to save billions of dollars annually through increased efficiency, improved processes and a digital transformation.

Blockchain technology, while still in its innovative infancy, has “a lot of potential” to facilitate trade, according to a report by Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, Hanna C. Norberg, the founder of Trade Economista and the university that was released in May.

In “Can Blockchain Technology Facilitate International Trade?” McDaniel and Norberg explored blockchain technology’s usefulness in easing trade finance, improving customs procedures and tracking the provenance of goods. Their conclusion: “Adaptability, interoperability, and a policy environment that welcomes experimentation will be essential if the U.S. economy is to realize the potential benefits of blockchain technology across the international trade landscape.”

They also point out that numerous private- and public-sector efforts are underway to explore the benefits of blockchain technology. Financial institutions are experimenting with blockchain to increase access and decrease trade-finance costs.

The shipping industry is working with those along the supply chain and with customs officials to see how a distributed digital ledger can facilitate the transparent movement of goods across borders and seas. Companies and retailers are exploring ways to track their own supply chains so they can communicate tracking and origin information to consumers who increasingly demand such information.

Among those that are all-in with blockchain is Blockshipping, a Danish concern that was launched in May 2018 with a goal of developing the world’s first freight container registry. The startup claims its blockchain-based Global Shared Container Platform, which provides a real-time registry of 27 million containers, could save the industry $5.7 billion annually. For that to work, parties across the industry must apply sensors to all containers.

The same month that Blockshipping announced its arrival, global shipping giants CMA CGM and the Mediterranean Shipping Co. joined TradeLens, the blockchain-based digital shipping platform developed three years ago by A.P. Moller-Maersk and IBM. TradeLens is an open and neutral blockchain platform that promotes an efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information to improve collaboration between different stakeholders within the supply chain.

Ironically, CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd had criticized the workings of TradeLens in 2018, stating that for a blockchain-based platform to succeed within the industry, it would need to have a common standard. With CMA CGM and MSC now having joined TradeLens, the platform accounts for shipping data of over half the number of container lines that sail across international waters.

Surgere is a North Canton, Ohio-based digital supply chain and packaging specialist whose clients include Nissan and CEVA Logistics. In June, Surgere announced it had joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (Bita), a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based organization with nearly 500 members in more than 25 countries that collectively generate more than $1 trillion annually. The alliance helps develop industry standards, encourage the use of new solutions and educate its members who are mostly drawn from the freight, transportation and logistics sectors.

“Blockchain enables instant visibility of inventory transactions, captured by Surgere’s extremely accurate RFID solutions, which can be immediately and collectively processed throughout the supply chain,” said Rusty Coleman, Surgere’s vice-president of Digital Transformation, in the Bita announcement. “That visibility can remove artificially created demand patterns and make visible smooth and continuous demand for tier [suppliers] near real-time.”

Representatives from NBSF Railway, Daimler, Delta, J.B. Hunt, FedEx, Transplace and UPS are on the Bita board of directors, whose Standards Council chairman is Dale Chrystie, FedEx’s business strategist and blockchain fellow. “This is not a process improvement initiative; this is a breakthrough discussion,” Chrystie said from the stage of the Blockchain Revolution Global conference in Toronto on April 25. “This is a different way to think about how global clearance looks in the future.”

The notion that competitors are joining hands when it comes to the promise of blockchain was demonstrated by the fact that the FedEx executive was joined by Eugene Laney, head of international government affairs for DHL USA and Mahesh Sahasranaman, principal architect at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, in a discussion with Don Tapscott, executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute. Each agreed there is a common interest in embracing uniform standards for blockchain and getting governments on board with the technology.

“This is an issue that must be looked at with a global viewpoint,” Chrystie said. “These dots are going to connect. The question is how are you going to accelerate that process.”

Here is a deeper dive into ways blockchain can revolutionize the industry, according to the “Can Blockchain Technology Facilitate International Trade?” report from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Trade and Finance

Blockchain could reduce the expense and time required to facilitate trade that depends on third-party lending or insurance. Such trade accounts for about 80 percent of global trade. This reduction of expense and time will be especially important for small and medium-sized enterprises that may face restrictions to accessing credit or for firms in countries with less developed finance markets.

Customs Procedures

The technology could reduce costs associated with obtaining import and export licenses, creating and verifying the accuracy of cargo and shipping documents, and making customs declarations. Blockchain could make a positive contribution to expediting customs procedures. The total impact of those procedures on global trade volumes and economic output is estimated to be greater than that of tariffs.

Tracking the Origin of Goods

Blockchain could improve how producers and retailers manage their supply chains by providing real-time information on the movement and origin of goods. Blockchain designed for trade should disallow anonymity. If such a design were to be widely adopted, it might improve detection of illicit trade flows and help deter illegitimate efforts to circumvent trade rules. A design without anonymity could aid customs and law enforcement while easing the flow of legitimate trade.

The Breakbulk, RoRo and Heavy Lift Industries Gear Up for AntwerpXL 2019

Thousands of industry professionals will gather at the Antwerp Expo in the Port of Antwerp next week when AntwerpXL 2019, the highly-anticipated inaugural event for the breakbulk, RoRo and heavy lift industries, opens its doors. The event, which takes place from 7-9 May 2019, will attract the sector’s top industry names, who recognise the unrivalled business, networking and knowledge sharing opportunities the show has to offer. 

Exhibitors on Show

Over 100 companies, including major names such as Boeckmans, Wallenius Wilhelmsen (WW), Fast Lines Belgium and MSC Belgium, will use the event’s platform to showcase market-leading products and services, launch new technologies and make major announcements to a captive international audience.

WW Solutions will highlight its global terminal network and demonstrate its terminal handling capacities for breakbulk cargo, including storage, loading and discharge capabilities via rail, barge, RoRo and LoLo. Also on show, WW Ocean will highlight its deep-sea solutions for breakbulk and project cargo; a fleet of 120 vessels, all able to accommodate cargo stretching up to 6.5 metres tall and weighing up to 400 tonnes.

Both Central Oceans and Rollit CARGO will demonstrate a complete range of services offered to facilitate the transport of oversized, complicated and project related cargoes. Atlas Shipping Services is also exhibiting at the event, along with its three business partners, United Cargo Management, Vision Log – Centaurea Group and Peter Rathmann & Co. GmbH. All four organisations will demonstrate how they handle projects, heavy lift shipments, breakbulk and full charters in different types of machineries. In addition, Caribbean Line & Soreidom will showcase its expertise in logistics and the transport of dry-bulk products, project cargo, heavy-lift and transports for exporters and industrial companies.

Furthermore, MSC Belgium will showcase the results of its recent investment into project cargo and RoRo shipments. The world leading container shipping company now owns two large ConRo vessels as part of its fleet. At AntwerpXL, it will discuss how these vessels, which are more environmentally friendly than others operating between Antwerp and West Africa, have a ramp capacity of 350 tonnes and a deck height of up to six metres.

AntwerpXL will also host a range of entirely service-led industry organisations, including a new legal flat monthly service from LMA Legal, whereby clients can obtain legal advice on any matter related to their daily breakbulk business. 

An Engaging Conference Programme

The highly-anticipated conference programme will provide a cutting-edge educational agenda. Over 40 major names will deliver in-depth presentations, Q&A sessions and debates on the Main Deck Stage, covering innovation, digitisation and lessons from disruptors in the breakbulk, maritime and project cargo industry.  

Bob Delbecque, an internationally-renowned company energiser and business coach, will open the conference with his keynote, ‘A vision of the future’. The presentation will investigate the main drivers of the breakbulk industry, their likely impacts, and what changes the sector could be looking at across international markets.

Day two begins with a keynote session from Paul Birch, Owner of Visionjuice and former Head of Business Planning at British Airways, on developing an adaptable business which thrives on innovation. On the same day, Stephanie Hare, an analyst, strategist and broadcaster in technology, politics and world business, will chair a panel discussion about the impact of trade wars on different parts of the supply chain, and on the challenges and opportunities presented to the industry by Brexit. 

AntwerpXL will also focus on NextGen when it hosts a discussion on how the industry will adapt to new market conditions and new technologies. Chaired by Sue Terpilowski OBE, Managing Director, Image Line Communications, and President, WISTA UK, and Chair, Maritime UK’s Women’s Taskforce, the working lunch session will explore new ways of thinking, working and collaborating for those starting a career in the industry, the conclusions of which will be presented in a session afterwards.

The conference will gather the most innovative and forward-thinking minds in the breakbulk industry, all of whom will be sharing knowledge, best practices and ideas.

A Gathering of Thought-Leaders

Numerous networking opportunities will be on offer at AntwerpXL. Key industry figureheads will be amongst those keen to make new connections and learn from the brightest industry minds.

The event kicks off with a port tour starting at 1pm on Tuesday 7 May. Attendees of this free-to-join experience will see and learn about the port’s multipurpose terminals, Kieldrecht Lock, Deurganckdok, Zuidnatie, Churchill Dock and the Antwerp Railhouse.

AntwerpXL’s Welcome Reception at the Antwerp Expo marks the official launch of the show and gives guests the opportunity to meet the industry-leading organisations exhibiting their latest innovations and developments at the event.

On Wednesday 8 May, Bart Timperman, the Chief Editor at Flows Magazine, will moderate a breakfast seminar, where thought-leaders will discuss the question, ‘Breakbulk in Flanders: Crucial or Marginal?.’ Invaluable industry insights from those who believe breakbulk remains an important engine of volumes and employment, and those who believe it is doomed to become a marginal activity on the fringes of the shipping landscape, will be shared.

As the sun goes down, guests can enjoy the official AntwerpXL Networking Party, hosted at the historic Felix Archive. Visitors will raise a toast to the event and enjoy an evening relaxing with colleagues before heading to Den Engels in the Square to continue the party.

AntwerpXL Connect is the official one-to-one networking platform for this year’s event. The online service provides users with the opportunity to set up meetings with suppliers and prospects and manage their schedule during the event. Meetings will take place onsite in the AntwerpXL Connect Lounge.

The Networking Lounge, VIP Lounge and Antwerp Business Point, on the show floor, are also areas where visitors can congregate and meet with industry peers.

Fueling Innovation

Sponsored by Bulkchain by NxtPort, the Innovation Start-up Zone will feature some of the industry most groundbreaking new companies and showcase the innovative new technologies and products they have developed.

Along with a range of demos, two panel debates exploring the future of the industry will be delivered by leading industry experts. Cees-Willem Koorneef, Director at Port XL Antwerp, and Dominic Sun, Director of Trade Development, Port of Houston, will host each session on bringing a new customer experience to the industry on each day of the show.

Mark Rimmer, StocExpo & Tank Storage Portfolio Divisional Director, comments: “We are thrilled to see so many industry leading organisations recognising the opportunities available at AntwerpXL. There is no better place for companies to exhibit their products and services in front of industry peers, discuss the latest industry trends and demonstrate the value they can provide in order to support the future needs of customers and their global commitments.” 

AntwerpXL takes place on 7-9 May 2019 at the Antwerp Expo in the Port of Antwerp in Belgium. For more information on visiting the exhibition, booking as a delegate for the conference or exhibiting, please visit https://www.easyfairs.com/antwerp-xl-2019/    

About AntwerpXL

AntwerpXL is a new three-day exhibition and conference for the breakbulk, maritime, and project cargo industry, hosted by the Port of Antwerp. Industry leaders from across the supply chain will meet to discover, innovate, and connect at Antwerp Expo, Belgium, from the 7th to the 9th of May 2019.

Freight forwarders, cargo owners, and equipment handlers, as well as terminal operators, EPCs, manufacturers, and project owners will attend to network and learn from the experts.

AntwerpXL – shaping the future of breakbulk.

www.antwerpxl.com  

About Easyfairs

Easyfairs enables communities to “visit the future” at must-attend events that anticipate their needs and present solutions in the ideal format.

The group currently organises over 218 events in 17 countries (Algeria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Emirates, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States). Easyfairs also manages 10 event venues in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden (Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen-Brussels North, Namur, Gorinchem, Hardenberg, Venray, Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm).

The group employs more than 750 people and generated revenues exceeding € 157 million for its financial year 2017-2018.

Easyfairs strives to be the most adaptable, agile and effective player in the events industry by employing committed individuals, deploying the best marketing and technology tools and developing strong brands. Visit the future with Easyfairs.

Find out more on www.easyfairs.com