“Shippers looking to control logistics costs need creative thinking and innovation. That creates opportunities for start-ups and new technologies offering novel solutions to transportation challenges.”
This was the conclusion of the 29th annual state of Logistics report released in Washington last year.
It was noted that shipping expanded by 4% in 2018 – the fastest growth in the past five years. Whilst seaborne trade is doing well, there are looming concerns in the form of trade tensions between China and United States, where trade wars could potentially reshape trade patterns and dampen the optimistic outlook.
With this in mind, incremental rate change may not be within the control of logistics companies. How can they positively influence customer experience and pricing with the tools on hand? The data silos within the industry must be broken open for the industry to realise its full potential. A 2017 worldwide Supply Chain Survey performed by Geodis found that only 6% of firms felt they had “complete visibility” of the supply chain. Working in silos makes it nearly impossible for logistics, finance, warehousing or customer service teams to have full data visibility and make informed decisions on shipment matters, thus facilitating an optimal process and excellent customer experience.
As processes are automated and streamlined, forwarders and customer service teams gain greater visibility into the container journey, and can better predict delivery dates and advise customers ahead of time of delivery delays. External parties can not only deliver faster responses to customers, but it also benefits internal teams as it reduces repetitive and manual work.
Piquing interest right now is the data analytics that freight forwarding software can provide to facilitate decision making. Freight forwarding software like Opus Logistics is a web-based solution that is designed to deliver simple and efficient data management and exchange on a single-instance platform. It enables greater collaboration between stakeholders in the value chain and creates an ecosystem that logistics companies and their clients can turn to as a reliable source of data and intelligence.
So what does this mean for 2019?
Shippers must remain poised for change. With the likes of Zim Lines who chose to partner Sparx Logistics, it seems that leading carriers are working to become end-to-end logistics providers. Carriers are seeking ways to differentiate themselves with premium service offerings. Shippers are now expecting guaranteed container loadings and transit times as well as faster container offloadings.
Operational processes are being tested by the increased volumes from mega ships and it is challenging us to take a hard look at the status quo of the maritime logistics supply chain. It is therefore time to harness capabilities and resources to effectively unlock greater performance for better service delivery for end customers.