Hamburg tollerot

A senior executive at shipping line freight booking platform INTTRA has called on the industry to accelerate efforts to digitise the supply chain.

President and chief operating officer Inna Kuznetsova believes while the sector appears open to technology, it seems less open to change.

“Last year saw the implementation of verified gross mass (VGM) regulations,” said Ms Kuznetsova. “For VGM, 90% of documentation is sent electronically, but when it comes to booking instructions, the figure still hovers below 50%.”

As part of its 2032 plan, aimed at further developing business, INTTRA hosted 150 supply chain executives at an event in Hamburg this week to discuss industry development.

“For new requirements, the consensus was the industry was open to technological innovation,” said Ms Kuznetsova. “But in adapting old processes the industry favours small, targeted investments.”

Ms Kuznetsova added there was an appetite for exploration, but this could often be a long, drawn-out process with the shipping sector requiring pilot schemes before it produces any investment.

However, Avantida CEO Luc de Clerk said he had seen a shift in this mentality over the past 12 months, with companies recognising digitisation was now not optional.

“There is a sense companies know they will be overtaken if they don’t adapt on a digital basis, so they will certainly look at trying out options,” said Mr de Clerk.

INTTRA acquired Avantida in March as part of its strategy to extend its services into the hinterland.

“We are also seeing companies bringing in upper management that have not come from a shipping or logistics background; it is becoming as much about creativity as expertise,” Mr de Clerk added.

Ms Kuznetsova said supply chain executives also expected to see a lot of companies bringing outsourced operations back in-house as they improved their digital platforms.

“We think as artificial intelligence progresses and grows, a lot of companies will start using it to take over duties that were outsourced,” she said. “IT systems can be the differentiator.”


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  • Bruis van Driel

    May 30, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Great to read that INTTRA acknowledges the good work done by SMDG on creating digital solutions for VGM.
    Logistical service companies will only succeed digitally if they know how to integrate with their customers. And this integration will only happen if both parties (customer and supplier) agree to the processes to be integrated. With VGM this was relatively easy, since it was the shipping industry that dictated the new process and the customers (sometimes grudgingly) accepted new reality.
    But when it comes to the end to end process of shipping, the views of parties are so different (and have been for such a long time) that a reality has been created which will not be easy to change.
    A redesign of the complete integration process is necessary to get on top in the digital world, but which stakeholder has the power to accomplish that