Ocean Freight & Logistics Tech Outlook

Trade & Industry Advisory

08 June 2021 • 7 min read

Ocean Freight & Logistics Tech Outlook

Editorial Team

This week in ocean freight, global supply chains, and logistics technology. Ocean Freight Tariffs and Capacity

Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday. It’s not celebrated in Europe, but it does make you think of what you are thankful for. I’m thankful for the start Cogoport has had in Europe. Our office is in an inspiring location in the center of Rotterdam, a City which has welcomed us in a warm way. And it is great to be so close to the biggest container port in Europe, if optimizing global freight is one of your passions.

I’m also thankful for the many interesting encounters with importers and exporters and hearing about their challenges and helping them optimize their freight through our platform.

The team in Europe is growing as well, with our latest addition: President of Supplier Relations & International Growth, Flemming Frost. Just last week we moved offices in the same location, to be able to accommodate our growth.

So, while feeling thankful, I will move on to my highlights in Freight and Tech news of this week.

Global Supply Chains

“The global maritime industry is cautiously optimistic about the global business environment for world trade but also concerned about the potential impact of trade tensions, cybersecurity, fuel costs and other headwinds to industry recovery, according to a new survey.”

→ Shipping Industry Optimistic But Concerned About Trade, Cyber Threats

Ocean Freight Tariffs and Capacity

“A.P. Moller - Maersk expects tariffs to take a bite out of the ocean shipping industry in 2019, according to executives on a recent earnings call.

The carrier will meet this contraction by "rightsizing" its capacity on the Pacific routes out of the U.S. — a process that has already begun, according to Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc, since West Coast ports are already forecasting a slowdown in the new year.

"As the tariffs start to come into effect in January, we are likely to see — we expect to see, a significant slowdown in demand of imports into the U.S. as a lot of customers have actually accelerated their purchase orders to get them into the U.S., before," said Clerc.”

Maersk planning for tariffs to hit hard in 2019

“IMO 2020 could be very helpful in terms of supply,” said McKinsey & Co partner Steve Saxon.

“If it leads to 12- to 15-year-old ships going to the scrappers instead of getting scrubbers installed – it could be the saviour for the industry’s supply and demand imbalance.”

→ 2020 low sulphur regulations could be 'the saviour' of container shipping

“Drewry has waded into the debate over the European Commission’s consultation on the block exemption afforded to container lines serving the EU, which is due to expire in April 2020.

The consultant said it could see “validity in both points of view” – those for an extension of the block exemption, and those against – but said shippers should “not fear alliances”, which, it contended, had actually “aided competition during a period of market concentration”.”

→ Drewry sides with those wanting extension to block exemption for joint liner services

Freight and Logistics Tech

Rotterdam is one of the most innovative Ports in the world, nurturing and stimulating a lot of startups to investigate new technologies that could make port operations and shipping more efficient. Nice to see similar developments across the Channel.

“A UK government-backed initiative to foster digital innovation across industry is looking to demonstrate the benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the shipping sector by 2020.

The mostly widely known example of DLT is blockchain. However, it is not the only option, with at least two others available, including a system known as consensus, for closed computer networks, and another known as emergent consensus.”

→ Whitehall backs move to bring distributed ledger technology to UK ports

Like Cogoport is revolutionizing and simplifying shipping freight across the globe, other startups are using physical products like robots to revolutionize other parts of the supply chain. Warehouses, for example. And there is a cool video in the article below.

"Technology is revolutionizing supply chain," Jericho Zhang, executive director of Warburg Pincus, said in a release. "Geek+ is one of the leading technology companies that is able to combine robotics, big data, AI, and other cutting-edge technologies to solve the pain points of the traditional supply chain. As it accumulates more data, and continues to optimize algorithms and expand into other industries, we are confident that Geek+ will continue to lead the revolution and innovation in the space."

Geek+ lands $150 million in capital for warehouse robots

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