SHENZHEN, CHINA: Higher interoperability among marine terminals, carriers, logistics providers, and customs authorities is needed to create a web of systems — or “Internet of Logistics” — that helps shippers manage the inherent complexities in container movements, PSA International Group CEO Tan Chong Meng said.
Shippers also need to engage more technologically with container terminal operators and port authorities to combat dynamics impacting global freight flows, he said in a keynote address at the JOC's TPM Asia 2018 Conference in Shenzhen recently. Tan said the characteristics of this new concept were connectivity between community members, interoperability, and the ability for users to “plug and play.”
“We have to move together with the village so we can all advance together and create the solutions that the new economy requires,” he told roughly 500 attendees. “Somewhere in our strategies, I hope we will overlap.”
The mandate for such an approach is based on dynamics that will indelibly affect container volumes and patterns. Namely, Tan mentioned the rise of e-commerce and what he called the “consumer power revolution,” and a redrawing of manufacturing, including the rise of 3D printing (also called additive manufacturing).
This won’t be easy, Tan said, as global logistics is a more complex problem to address from a system interoperability perspective than Uber or airline reservation systems, which require fewer data elements and involve fewer partners for a typical transaction.
He said PSA has looked specifically at how it handles the challenges of volumes from five verticals: e-commerce, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, perishables, and energy/chemicals.
“These are challenging sectors that we feel if we can serve these we can serve the industry,” Tan said. “We are looking at pain points where we will provide sustainable outcomes.”
Tan specifically referenced PSA’s investment in a port community platform called Calista that was developed to handle logistics and trade compliance requirements, providing visibility to shippers and ultimately predictive updates on cargo status. The implication is that a system like Calista is exponentially more valuable if it does not stand alone and that shippers and logistics companies can plug into systems in other ports. More broadly, Tan said the industry must recognize that logistics play a huge role in economic development, especially so in developing nations, and urged the industry to look long term at engaging in relationships that address current dynamics.