Article • 16.06.2022

The increasing demand for supply chain transparency

Added value and case determine cooperation

Due to extensive global supply chain breakdowns, transport delays and production stoppages are the order of the day. To help deal with these issues swiftly, shippers and consignees need reliable transport data for the entire supply chain. This calls for platform networks.

A talk with the DAKOSY board members for
the editorial of the magazine

(from left: Dieter Spark, Ulrich Wrage)

As a general rule, transport chains are severely fragmented. If a number of different service providers are involved in an international transport of goods, until now there has been no single platform that can offer end-to-end tracking. The existing offerings for cargo-related information are usually only available to the participants in the respective individual transport segments.  

Looking to increase added value for users, both large and small providers are trying to bundle as much data as possible for their customers along the transport chain. Cooperations and as well as takeovers are the result. For example, working to expand its multimodal reach within a very short timespan, Transporeon has recently acquired Logit One, SupplyStack, and Nexogen.

"In addition, there are also platforms that have been built with a global approach, such as TradeLens, project44 or FourKites. These tend to look for alliances with local providers, such as a port community system, so they can provide information about the respective ports and the hinterland," relates DAKOSY board member Ulrich Wrage.

One development that particularly appeals to the DAKOSY board members is to network at peer level on a selective basis. DAKOSY board member Dieter Spark cites a current example: "With our colleagues in Bremen, dbh Logistics, we have devised a joint solution for the digitalized release process for containers imported into Germany." The first shipping companies and forwarders are already connected to the pilot operation. The demand for a joint solution for Germany is clearly evident to the board members.

"With our colleagues in Bremen, dbh Logistics, we have devised a joint solution for the digitalized release process for containers imported into Germany."

Dieter Spark, DAKOSY board member

Real-time data more important than ever

Besides the trend of data bundling, the demand for real-time data that produces real-time transportation visibility along the entire transport chain is also growing. On the main air/sea corridors, live tracking of individual shipments plays a secondary role. "In this case, it is sufficient to track the aircraft or the ocean vessel, provided that it is reliably verified that the goods are on actually board by using platforms such as DAKOSY," explains Spark. What is truly exciting, however, is the availability of real-time data for pre-carriage and onward transport, such as the ability to pinpoint when an import shipment will arrive at the sea- or airport and when it can be subsequently dispatched, says Spark.

One example of the most sought-after real-time data is the information on ship arrivals for the Port of Hamburg. DAKOSY receives this constantly-updated information from the Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC), which is responsible for the coordination of ships arriving at and departing from the Port of Hamburg. The HVCC is in turn networked with many other ports and platforms and thus has an extremely thorough database at its disposal. This advance information, which DAKOSY provides via the IMP Import Message Platform, combined with other services such as the automated customs clearance provided by the platform, can save seaport forwarders up to half a day in the time it takes to deliver an import container. They can also significantly increase the visibility shipments for their customers - a clear expectation of industry and trade, explains Wrage.

Customer loyalty versus collaboration

The extent to which platform networking is actually implemented also depends largely on the type of information at stake. "If there is a mutual customer and you put yourself into a highly competitive situation by working together, there is a risk of losing customer loyalty, similar to that of truck loading exchanges, and reducing the participants to be mere data suppliers," Spark qualifies. But in the spirit of one-stop shopping, there are also effective partnerships.

One example is the International Port Community System Association (IPCSA), a global association of port community systems that has set itself the task of standardizing and exchanging status information for ports. This includes messages such as "ship arrival and departure" and "container status".

Photo: Fraport AG

Integration of infrastructure and loading data

Faster and more efficient transport processes can also be achieved by integrating loading and structural data. DAKOSY has already made several developments in this area. In the Port of Hamburg, the SANTANA project was recently launched, in which DAKOSY and the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) want to establish a joint digital infrastructure, which includes, for example, a comprehensive traffic management system, optimized traffic light switching or an overview of the current parking capacities in the port.

At Frankfurt Airport, DAKOSY and airport operator Fraport have digitally linked the FAIR@Link cargo community platform and the Click-2-drive automatic license plate recognition system. The result: the barriers to CargoCity Süd at gates 31 and 32 open automatically for vehicles for which a confirmed slot has been allocated in FAIR@Link for loading or unloading by the handlers.

The combination of cargo and infrastructure data is particularly helpful when there is dedicated detailed planning by the logistics operator behind it, he says. For example, every minute counts when it comes to the deadlines for loading sea or air freight. "If you have the right information at these critical moments, you can make smart decisions," the board members agree.

Other interesting articles