MUMBAI: ECU Worldwide is looking to invest in imbibing blockchain technologies and artificial intelligence and may also look at buying companies in these segments, its CEO said recently.
An NVOCC or a non-vessel operating common is a company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. ECU Worldwide accounts for 80% of Allcargo’s consolidated revenue.
“There are a lot of interesting things happening. That includes a lot of new technologies such as blockchain which helps you in optimising transactions and making them much more secure and safe between the parties,” Claudio Scandella, CEO, ECU Worldwide said recently.
Scandella said the company would look at buying companies in the space which can help, although this he said “isn’t a drawn out plan that I can talk about. Many things also depend on opportunities”
The technology is fast gaining traction in the shipping and logistics world.
Last month Maersk, the world’s largest container ship operator and IBM announced a joint venture to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The new company, a statement said “aims at bringing the industry together on an open global trade digitization platform that offers a suite of digital products and integration services,”
Scandella said ECU Worldwide is in talks with Maersk which is one of its core carriers. He agreed that the technology is still being developed. For instance data entered into the chain once can’t be altered. This is anathema for the logistics industry wherein data provided by a client often undergoes updates.
“It’s a high level technology but it needs to be improved. When you have such a technology like blockchain coming, the best way is to experiment with it, apply it as soon as possible instead of breaking your head in analysis. And at the end you can do nothing as your competitor has already done it,” he said.
“We are very engaged in understanding how we can apply that technology. There arent many people who can program blockchain.
It has a very big potential for the logistics industry. We are looking at how we could get into it. We want to be right in the front of this development,” he added.
Allcargo aims to become a $2 billion company by 2020 and Scandella said it would look at acquisitions in several spaces. ECU Worldwide operates in over 160 countries out of three offices. Currently, two thirds of its tonnage is in the less than container load or (LCL) space while the rest is in the full container load (FCL) space.
LCL means small ocean freight shipments not requiring the space of a full container. It involves smaller clients that usually either have lower volumes to transport or can’t afford to buy the space of a full container.
FCL entails larger shipments that fill the space of a container.
Scandella said the company is steadily expanding into FCL space and that the gap between the two segments would fast narrow. Its LCL segment grew at 6-7% last year and he aims for it to grow at double digit figures.
FCL grew at over 25% and will continue to grow at the same clip this year.