Good cards for Cartagena and Panalpina’s LCL Ocean Freight hub

Cartagena, Colombia’s premier port, is becoming increasingly important as a regional transportation hub. Last year, Panalpina set up the first ocean freight hub in Cartagena for Central and South American LCL (Less than Container Load) cargoes. The international freight forwarder also tops the Port of Cartagena’s import and export rankings.

Multinational companies are scrutinizing their global supply chains and shipping routes to max out on speed and efficiency. Sometimes, the solution lies in the road less traveled, the hidden gem of a logistics and distribution hub that wins with its strategic location and good connections.

Port of Cartagena: anything from cosmetics to cars

Increasingly, consumer goods ? anything from cosmetics, shampoo, chocolates and canned food to sportswear, cars, automotive parts and washing machines ? are finding their way in and out of Cartagena in Colombia. But what’s the lure of Cartagena?

“Cartagena’s Bay has been the commercial gateway to America for almost 500 years,” notes the Port of Cartagena on its website. “During the colonial era, the Spaniards considered this bay to be the perfect spot to establish their principal port, due to its strategic location and its exceptional natural conditions. During this period of time, a constant flow of merchandise would usually pass through the bay, all the way from South America to the Caribbean and Europe. Today, these same characteristics represent enormous comparative advantages for maritime operations, and enable the bay to continue to play a vital role in the global trade.”

Get an impression of the Port of Cartagena in this video.

The Port of Cartagena had the fourth highest throughput of all container gateways in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018, according to figures released in April by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The port handled 2.9 million TEU in 2018, 6.9% more than in 2017. Only Colon (Panama), Santos (Brazil) and Manzanillo (Mexico) handled more containers. Panama’s Pacific complex came in fifth, but its throughput fell by 15.6%.

Data from SICEX also shows that Panalpina was the Port of Cartagena’s biggest importer (12% market share, based on kilograms) and second biggest exporter (23% market share, based on kilograms in 2018). The company is currently in a pole position to lead the rankings for the first half of 2019, too (updated figures expected in August).

Panalpina LCL Ocean Freight hub: shorter transit times, better service, lower costs

Last year, Panalpina moved its Less than Container Load (LCL) operations in the region from Panama to Cartagena. In doing so, Panalpina became the first freight forwarder and NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier) to use Cartagena for Central and South American LCL cargoes. “Having shifted operations from Panama to Cartagena, we are able to give our customers the benefits of shorter transit times, better service and lower costs,” says Cleber Oliveira, Panalpina’s regional Ocean Freight LCL manager, Latin America. “All operations are carried out inside the port in the free trade zone, which means that there is no need to transport the inbound cargo somewhere else to consolidate and deliver the containers back. Compared to a set-up where consolidation has to happen elsewhere in Central America or outside the port, we can offer better and more efficient services in Cartagena.”

At the Cartagena LCL hub, Panalpina consolidates multiple consignments from multiple customers or their suppliers in one Full Container Load (FCL). The customers, mostly from the consumer and retail as well as fashion industries, can ship low volumes without having the cost commitments of a full container. Hence, LCL gives customers with lower-volume shipments access to the economies of scale in ocean freight that are normally restricted to full container movements.

Multimodal and worldwide connections

Other benefits of Panalpina’s LCL offering, which can be combined with multimodal transport, including air and road freight, are more flexibility and reliability, resulting in improved supply chains. In Cartagena, Panalpina now provides the highest number of direct LCL services on the market, with direct sailings from Cartagena to the Central and Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Curacao (some services of competitors go via Panama with a transit time of three to four times higher). These direct LCL services connect Latin America and the Caribbean to the world and back via other regional hubs and gateways such as Busan, New York, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg. Panalpina currently offers 20 outbound and 21 inbound weekly consolidated services via Cartagena. Southampton (UK) and Istanbul (Turkey) were the last services to be added on the inbound, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Callao (Peru) and Valparaiso (Chile) the last services on the outbound.

DHL Supply Chain partners Tetra Pak to implement its first digital twin warehouse in Asia Pacific

This is the first smart warehouse for DHL in Asia Pacific to deploy the digital twin technology, which involves using digital models to better understand and manage physical assets.Digital twin provides better visibility of safety processes and inventory management
Streamlined supply chain and staff training will lead to greater productivity
Facility in Singapore operates round the clock coordinated by DHL Control Tower

DHL Supply Chain, the global market leader for contract logistics solutions, has successfully implemented an integrated supply chain solution for Tetra Pak's warehouse in Singapore, one of its largest globally. This is the first smart warehouse for DHL in Asia Pacific to deploy the digital twin technology, which involves using digital models to better understand and manage physical assets.

"Tetra Pak is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company serving the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 160 countries, and we are proud to play a part in their vision to make food safe and available everywhere," said Jerome Gillet, CEO, DHL Supply Chain Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines. "By jointly implementing a digital solution to support Tetra Pak's warehousing and transport operations, this collaboration is a great example for smart warehouses of the future to deliver agile, cost effective and scalable supply chain operations."

Combining the Internet of Things (IoT) technology with data analytics, DHL Supply Chain created a smart warehouse solution (video) for Tetra Pak by bridging its physical warehouse with a unique virtual representation that monitors and simulates both the physical state and behavior of the warehouse assets in real time. With this digital twin solution, Tetra Pak is able to maintain 24/7 coordination of its operations to resolve issues as they occur, particularly those that involve safety and productivity.

Warehouse supervisors can use real-time operational data to make informed decisions to reduce congestion, improve resource planning and allocate workload. Using IoT and proximity sensors on Materials Handling Equipment (MHE), spatial awareness is enhanced, thus reducing potential collision risks. Controlled areas with restricted access are also monitored with management alerts.

A DHL control tower monitors the flow of inbound and outbound goods to maintain time efficiency, ensuring goods are correctly shelved within 30 minutes of receipt, and delivery-bound goods are ready for shipment within 95 minutes.

To reduce operational risks and improve safety, DHL Supply Chain has implemented a container storage management solution that minimizes the need for employees to handle heavy containers. All employees are also trained to work within newly introduced safety measures.

"Innovation has always been at the heart of what we do at Tetra Pak. To keep the cogs of our operations turning seamlessly, it is vital that we have complementary warehousing and supply chain solutions that can meet the high demands of our customers. We are pleased with the successful implementation of this smart warehouse, and look forward to partnering DHL Supply Chain to further enhance our productivity and maintain our high safety standards in our supply chain operations," said Devraj Kumar, Director, Integrated Logistics, South Asia, East Asia & Oceania, Tetra Pak.

DHL Supply Chain has a proven track record in Singapore of leveraging knowledge and expertise gained through its international operations to meet customer requirements locally, which has allowed it to expand and strengthen its business in the country. The company offers third party logistics (3PL) solutions, allowing customers to fully outsource their logistics management and operations. Solutions include warehouse management, domestic transportation, service parts logistics, packaging design and recycling, all delivered through state-of-the-art IT solutions and project management techniques.

Blockchain for pharma’s blockbusters

How would you trace and authenticate unique and valuable products within the healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chain? Panalpina’s hacker team took a stab at creating real-world blockchain solutions to share data within and across enterprises.

Blockbuster drugs are drugs that generate more than $ 1 billion of revenue per year. That makes them sought-after not only by patients worldwide who rely on them to fight a disease or condition, but also a target for criminal organizations that try to make cash with counterfeit drugs. Of course, the problem of fake drugs stretches far beyond blockbusters, putting patients at risk and harming pharmaceutical companies financially.

Blockchain technology enables the tracing and authentication of unique and valuable products within the healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chain: right from standards-compliant manufacturing to tamper-proof packaging, down to temperature-controlled storage, transport and delivery. Each step can be monitored and recorded ? where a drug is, whether it is kept cool and secure. Because when it arrives at final destination, everyone involved wants to know and trust that it is original and in the best quality.

At last weekend’s Swiss Blockchain Hackathon, Panalpina’s hacker team, Kosmos, took a virtual pill on a remarkable journey. Their challenge was: to create a blockchain solution that ensures traceability and authentication of unique products like medications within the pharma supply chain, and to devise standards to enable disparate applications to create and share visible event data, both within and across enterprises. Here’s what they did:

The virtual pill was shipped between two locations. Each shipment covered four major milestones:

Pick-up from shipper/supplier (PUP)
Goods confirmed on board first flight (DEP)
Goods arrived at last airport (ARR)
Delivery to door (POD)
The drug was tracked while being shipped by using GS1 barcodes typically used for scanning.

For all stages of the shipment, Panalpina’s hackers used GS1 standards and codes to create pieces of data about:

Prefixes of companies involved in the transaction
Locations where the pill passed
Boxes/pallets (trade units) and pills (consumable units) moved in the transaction
Shipments (logistic units) made
Using these, they created a chain of tamper-proof events by encoding them inside a blockchain. With each new shipment milestone, they lumped all the events as content for a new block and attached it to the blockchain.

What happened was 42 hours of designing, hacking, developing and refining. The Kosmos team had the skills, drive, passion and innovation to devise a solution that met the demands of the challenge. They burned the midnight oil and gained valuable insights into new technologies such as Angular, Reactive patterns and Javascript back-end with NOSQL database.

Panalpina’s five-member Kosmos team, comprising Gianluca Lupo (captain), Piotr Dziubecki, Marlon Leuthardt, Marcin Procyk and Takeo Yoshida, took second place in the supply chain vertical. They were one of 40 teams competing in the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon, which spanned six verticals: mobility, intelligent parcels, supply chain, finance, agriculture and food, and e-government.

Watch the video:

What does blockchain mean for blockbuster drugs and pharmaceutical products in general? It’s pointing to real and practical solutions for traceability and authentication. Following the event, the hackers have made all the source code public. The code from Panalpina’s Kosmos team, which is still evolving, is available here:

TradeLens Blockchain-Enabled Digital Shipping Platform Continues Expansion With Addition of Major Ocean Carriers Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express

Rapid adoption of TradeLens across the global shipping supply chain continues as Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) Pte. Ltd announced they will join the blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, jointly developed by A.P. Moller - Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) and IBM (NYSE: IBM).

Hapag-Lloyd and ONE, the world’s fifth and sixth largest carriers respectively, join CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, both of which recently announced they are joining TradeLens. With these additions, the scope of the platform now extends to more than half of the world’s ocean container cargo.

“Expanding digital collaboration is critical to the evolution of the container shipping industry,” said Martin Gnass, Managing Director Information Technology at Hapag-Lloyd. “TradeLens has made significant progress in launching a much-needed transformation in the industry, including its partnership model. Now, with five of the world’s six largest carriers committed to the platform, not to mention many other ecosystem participants, we can collectively accelerate that transformation to provide greater trust, transparency and collaboration across supply chains and help promote global trade.”

The addition of these two global carriers will help drive further adoption of TradeLens around the world now that TradeLens customers have access to major carriers in all three leading global vessel sharing alliances on the platform. With an already significant presence in Asia, ONE is further strengthening and expanding its coverage through joint cooperation with TradeLens to help meet the challenging demands of the crucial Asia market.

“We believe this innovative approach based on open standards and open governance can benefit the entire industry while ultimately benefitting our customers who rely on the world’s shipping industry to transport global container volume of more than 120 million TEU across international borders each year,” said Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation, Ocean Network Express. “The opportunities to drive greater innovation across the shipping supply chain are enormous and we are excited about the opportunity to provide our leadership and insight to help the platform continue to evolve.”

TradeLens was launched to help modernize the world’s supply chain ecosystems. Many of the processes for transporting and trading goods are costly, in part, due to manual and paper-based systems. Replacing these peer-to-peer and often unreliable information exchanges, the platform enables participants to digitally connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain ecosystem.

“The addition of more leading carriers to TradeLens will help global supply chain customers expand and explore the benefits of digitization and deliver new opportunities to the increasing number of TradeLens ecosystem participants across the global supply chain. As a neutral industry platform, TradeLens offers supply chain visibility, ease of documentation and the potential of introducing new products on top of the platform. These attributes bring new opportunities for the Maersk transformation towards becoming an end-to-end container logistics company improving the experience and services we offer the customers,” said Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, A.P. Moller - Maersk.

Members of TradeLens gain a comprehensive view of their data and can collaborate as cargo moves around the world, helping create a transparent, secured, immutable record of transactions.

The attributes of blockchain technology are ideally suited for large networks of disparate partners. Blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and enables permissioned parties access to secured data in real time.

“Blockchain for the enterprise is solving previously unsolvable problems,” said Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Clients, Platforms & Blockchain, IBM. “Through improved trust, simplicity and improved insight into provenance, blockchain solutions such as TradeLens are delivering proven value across business processes for our clients and their ecosystems. Massive new efficiencies in global trade are now possible and we’re seeing similar effects across the food industry, mining, trade finance, banking and other industries where the value of blockchain is more apparent than ever before."

Hapag-Lloyd and ONE will each operate a blockchain node, participate in consensus to validate transactions, host data, and assume a critical role of acting as Trust Anchors, or validators, for the network. Both companies will be represented on the TradeLens Advisory Board, which will include members across the supply chain to advise on standards for neutrality and openness.

About Hapag-Lloyd

With a fleet of 235 modern container ships and a total transport capacity of 1.7 million TEU, Hapag-Lloyd is one of the world's leading liner shipping companies. The company has around 12,800 employees and 398 offices in 128 countries. Hapag-Lloyd has a container capacity of approximately 2.6 million TEU ? including one of the largest and most modern fleets of reefer containers. A total of 121 liner services worldwide ensure fast and reliable connections between more than 600 ports on all the continents. Hapag-Lloyd is one of the leading operators in the Transatlantic, Middle East, Latin America and Intra-America trades.

About Ocean Network Express (ONE)

Ocean Network Express (ONE) was incepted on July 7, 2017 following the liner service integrations of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). The new entity functions from its global headquarters in Singapore, supported by regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil. ONE is the world’s sixth largest container carrier with a fleet size of approximately 1.55 million TEU. Operating more than 210 vessels, it offers an expeditious and a reliable international network of over 120 services to 120 countries and beyond. ONE is a member of THE Alliance (THEA), a global ocean carrier consortium.

For more information, please visit

About TradeLens

The TradeLens platform has been jointly developed by Maersk and IBM. TradeLens is an open and neutral industry platform underpinned by blockchain technology and supported by major players across the global shipping industry. The platform promotes the efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information in order to foster greater collaboration and trust across the global supply chain.

Panalpina powers digital data centers through procuring and owning inventory for tech companies

Racked-based servers for a high-tech customer: Panalpina sources components, assembles and configures, tests and delivers the finished products to global destinations.

Big social media companies used to moving digital bits and bytes now have Panalpina as an ally in Logistics Manufacturing Services (LMS). A pioneer of LMS, Panalpina has made further inroads into the high-tech space by managing inventory for its customers and holding up the backbone of their supply chains to serve data centers. With this latest offering, Panalpina takes another important step towards managing entire product life cycles in an increasingly circular economy.

Being digital on a global scale is only possible if you have an armada of physical servers and switches to channel all the data. The pioneer of Logistics Manufacturing Services (LMS), Panalpina has scored another industry first by offering inventory procurement and ownership, a model of value-added reselling, to high-tech companies as part of its growing LMS offering.

Buy, assemble, configure, test and ship

With inventory procurement and ownership, Panalpina in effect takes inventory off customers. It buys materials, components and products from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), plans and manages assembly and configuration, uploads and tests software, then sells the finished products and ships out to final destinations.

Reduced lead times and total cost of ownership

Customers benefit from Panalpina’s extended purchasing power and sourcing from a vast network of suppliers. They do not have to carry excess cost due to overstock, because a reliable partner is buying and managing inventory for them.

“We use our worldwide network and our manufacturing expertise to source, assemble, configure, test and deliver on demand globally. This significantly reduces lead times for our customers, as well as the total cost of ownership in the supply chain,” explains Mike Wilson, Panalpina’s global head of Logistics and Manufacturing.

Rack-based servers ready for installation

This model of procurement and ownership works particularly well in the high-tech sector with its short product life cycles. Corporate data centers are usually built from products that are highly optimized for certain functions such as data storage or routing. In the constant race to reduce lead times, the most efficient way to roll out data services is to provide rack-based servers that are ready for installation.

Panalpina has turned inventory procurement and ownership into reality by managing the entire supply chain of a high-tech customer’s enterprise servers. Started in 2018, volumes are now ramping up, with Panalpina handling thousands of servers through its new facility in Prague. On behalf of a known social media company, Panalpina buys diverse materials directly from suppliers ? servers, USB devices, cables from Hong Kong, switches from the Netherlands. The inbound materials are processed, assembled, configured and tested, then shipped outbound across Europe and to worldwide destinations.

Managing not just supply chains but product life cycles

“Our Logistics and Manufacturing Services have never just been about storing and moving products; our customers want a partner to help them go to market in the most efficient way possible,” says Wilson. “With inventory procurement and ownership, Panalpina takes care of all the manufacturing and supply chain activities for its customers, shortening lead times and significantly reducing inventory and therefore cost in the process.”

Panalpina’s Logistics and Manufacturing experts also look closely behind a supply chain at a product’s lifecycle ? from sourcing to disposal.

“Buying components used for manufacturing and managing inventory are one end of a product’s lifespan,” explains Wilson. “At the other end are remanufacturing, repairs and returns. Panalpina aims to become an indispensable partner for its customers by managing not just supply chains, but product life cycles in an increasingly circular economy. That’s where we can truly unlock value.”

Find out more about inventory procurement and ownership and remanufacturing in supply chains.

DHL Global Trade Barometer reflects deteriorating global trade due to prevailing negative sentiment in private sector

UK shows improved outlook despite unresolved Brexit
Germany and India maintain a positive growth outlook
US and China reveal sharply lower trade volumes

For the first time since its launch in January 2018, the DHL Global Trade Barometer indicates a slight contraction of worldwide trade for the next three months. These losses led to an overall drop in the world trade outlook by -8 points, to a new index value of 48. In other words, world trade ? forecasted by trade flows in intermediaries and early-cycle commodities ? is expected to decline in the coming three months, albeit mildly. The overall decline was driven by significant losses for both air and containerized ocean trade, which are the GTB’s two fundamental constituents. Air trade declined by -6 to 49 points, and containerized ocean trade by -8 points to 48 index points.

Sluggish trade momentum for several quarters in a row

The latest developments continue a downward trend which the GTB has been recording for several quarters since mid-2018. The current contraction is also the first one since 2015, when the GTB ? which takes into account historical data from 2013 onwards ? measured more than a month-long decline of global trade volumes in the middle of the year.

Commenting on the latest forecast, Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, said: “Amidst rising US-Chinese tensions, the slightly negative outlook for global trade for the third quarter of 2019 does not come as a complete surprise. The latest GTB clearly illustrates why trade disputes create no winners. Nevertheless, some major economies such as Germany continue to record positive trade growth. And from a year-to-date perspective, world trade growth has still been positive. Hence, we remain confident in our initial prognosis that 2019 will be a year with overall positive, but slower trade growth.” With respect to the implications for Deutsche Post DHL Group, Tim Scharwath further explained: “The GTB is a useful tool for us to anticipate economic developments at an early stage. We are well-prepared to tackle the forecasted developments. Our divisional structure and portfolio as well as our worldwide activities allow us to balance economic effects within the company and remain resilient to changes in global trade dynamics.”

Latest GTB results show negative effects of trade wars

Eswar S. Prasad, Professor of Trade Policy and Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA, comments: “Growth is weakening in the key drivers of the world economy. Most macroeconomic and labor market indicators point to a cooling of U.S. growth and financial market sentiment has been hurt by trade tensions. The Chinese government’s stimulus measures appeared to be stabilizing growth, but persistent trade tensions are again dragging down growth momentum in China. The German growth revival looks fragile while India’s growth has hit the skids, with rising doubts about the prospects of major economic reforms. A synchronized slowdown of the world’s major economies could affect trade volumes, if the uncertainty continues to dampen consumer demand and business investment.”

US-China trade conflict dragging down global trade momentum

As one of the parties involved in the current trade disputes, the US saw by far the heaviest losses amongst all GTB index countries, with its outlook declining by -11 points to 44. Those losses were mainly driven by a negative outlook for major export categories. China scores second in terms of losses, with a decline of -7 points to 49 ? an index value one point below stagnation. China’s negative outlook was primarily driven by declining imports in several categories, combined with just minor overall export growth. Whilst the trade dispute between the two countries has been a looming, growth-impending threat since the GTB’s launch in January 2018, it has never manifested itself as much as now in actual trade forecasts. Given the US’ and China’s large contribution to the global index, their diminishing trade growth rates contribute to a large extent to the projected global decline. The still rather mild global trade contraction can be explained by the fact that during trade conflicts, trade flows do not merely dry out. Instead, trade routes and supply chains shift into other countries. On a global scale, this partly offsets the negative effects of trade tensions between countries.

UK trade unaffected by Brexit threat, Germany and India maintaining mild growth rates

In the wake of the overall weakened trade climate, three GTB constituent countries record slower trade growth forecasts while managing to stay above the level of stagnation: Germany has registered a mere -1 point decline compared to the previous quarter and now scores 52, whilst India loses -6 points, resulting in an outlook of 53 points. The UK actually gains +2 points, scoring an index value of 52. Given the still unresolved Brexit uncertainties, this result looks somewhat counterintuitive. It might be an indication that companies are increasingly stockpiling inventories in face of the risk of a hard Brexit at the end of October.

East-Asian economies with further weakening trade momentum

In addition to China, the East-Asian economies of Japan and South Korea record sluggish trade momentum. The index for Japan has fallen by -7 points and now sits at exactly 50, which indicates stagnating trade dynamics. South Korea is the third GTB country with a forecasted decline in trade growth for the next three months: On the back of a mild decline with 49 points in March 2019, the outlook further declined by -3 to 46 points.

DHL Trend Report: Implementation of digital twins to significantly improve logistics operations

Falling costs of key technologies opening the door for widespread adoption
Variety of applications for digital twins in logistics
DHL invites its customers and partners to jointly explore full potential of digital twins

DHL has released a new Trend Report on "Digital Twins in Logistics" at the inaugural Internet of Things (IoT) Day, at DHL's Innovation Center in Germany. The report explains the concept and rise of digital twins as well as how it creates value. The technology, which involves using digital models to better understand and manage physical assets is already well established in some industries and has the potential to significantly change logistics operations.

A digital twin is a unique, virtual representation of a physical thing that monitors and simulates both the physical state and behavior of the thing. The digital copy is continually connected to the physical object(s) and updates itself to reflect real-world changes. Applied to products, machines and even entire business ecosystems, digital twins can reveal insights from the past, optimize the present and even predict future performance.

"The market for digital twins is expected to grow more than 38 percent each year, passing the $26 billion mark by 2025," explains Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Innovation & Commercial Development at DHL. "Digital twins offer unparalleled capabilities to track, monitor, and diagnose assets. They will change traditional supply chains, with a range of options to facilitate data-driven decision making and collaboration, streamlined business processes, and new business models. We are keen to work with our customers and partners to jointly explore applications in our industry."

Logistics applications of digital twins

In logistics digital twins could be used in a variety of applications along the entire value chain, including the management of container fleets, monitoring of shipments or the design of logistics systems. IoT sensors on individual containers for example, show their location and monitor for damage or contamination. This data flows into a digital twin of the container network, which uses machine learning to ensure that containers are being deployed as efficiently as possible. Digital twins can be applied not only for individual assets but entire networks and ecosystems such as warehouses, combining a 3D model of a facility with inventory and operational data. The system would be able to provide an overview of the state of machines and product availability and could make predictions and autonomous decisions about stock or deliveries. The same principle applies to major logistics hubs or global logistics networks.

Markus Kückelhaus, Vice President, Innovation and Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, adds: "Powered by IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and advanced visualization tools, digital twins are becoming a more attractive and accessible option for companies. However, bringing these and other relevant technologies together into a full digital twin implementation is a complex and challenging task. Close collaboration between all partners along the value chain is therefore essential to fully capture the potential."

In the Trend Report, DHL examines the challenges to implementation, such as cyber security concerns, but stresses that business cases for implementing digital things are becoming more compelling. As related technologies get to be more dependable and affordable, businesses in a number of industries will find digital twins invaluable in managing complex systems of assets in real time and increasing efficiency in their processes. The report concludes by considering the investments and changes necessary for the successful implementation of digital twins in logistics.

The Trend Report: "Digital Twins in Logistics - A DHL perspective on the impact of digital twins on logistics" is available for free download at

Maersk introduces Maersk Spot, a new fully online product that simplifies the buying process for customers

Shipping a container has been a complex process for many years. Manual and inefficient, the buying and booking process has been often full of surprises. With the launch of Maersk Spot, Maersk aims to introduce a truly online product that can break the cycle of overbookings and offer a much simpler way to ship a container with load guarantee.

Maersk has expanded its product offering with Maersk Spot. Fully digitally enabled, the new online product provides customers a cargo loading guarantee at a fixed price upfront. With the launch of the new product, Maersk takes further steps towards simplifying the supply chains of its customers by addressing some of the fundamental inefficiencies that exist across the industry.

“It is not uncommon to see overbookings to the tune of 30%, and often this leads to rolling of the customers’ cargoes since there is overbooking to compensate for the high downfall. This creates a lot of uncertainty for our customers,” says Silvia Ding, Global Head of Ocean Products at Maersk. “With Maersk Spot, we provide full visibility of the price and terms that will ensure cargoes get on board. Ultimately allowing customers to move their cargo in a much simpler and more reliable way.”

With Maersk Spot, customers can search and get competitive rates online 24/7. The all-in price is calculated and fixed when the booking is confirmed, which happens instantly. This dynamic online pricing fixed at booking creates one transaction for the customer from quotation to booking confirmation, profoundly simplifying the buying process.

“Maersk Spot radically simplifies the buying experience for our customers. Today’s offline process can be up to 13 individual steps, often involving a lot of communication and paper work from rate sheets to terms and conditions and surcharges, etc. With Maersk Spot, this cumbersome process is reduced to five simple and integrated steps ? all online,” says Ding.

When a booking is confirmed by the customer, Maersk commits to load and grants certainty in operational execution. This is a mutual commitment between the customer and Maersk which ensures that the vicious cycle of overbookings is addressed. In case of booking cancellations, fees apply at the customer’s charge. If cargo is rolled, Maersk compensates the customer. The mutual commitment paired with increased visibility of sailings and certainty of prices has been to date embraced by more than 3,000 unique customers each week, with already over 50,000 Forty-Foot-Equivalent (FFE) units booked in Q2.

One of the customers already using Maersk Spot is The Ramco Cements Limited. The company sends around 120-200 containers from Kattupalli port to Colombo every week, making their bookings one to two weeks in advance to ensure they can deliver to their customers on time with the best deal possible.

“We are quite proactive about our bookings but there were still cases where our shipments were not loaded due to capacity issues which resulted in the loss of trust with some of our customers,” says Ramakrishnan Vivekanandan, General Marketing Manager of The Ramco Cements Limited. “With Maersk Spot, we no longer have the uncertainty of not knowing if we can actually provide our customers with their shipments.”

Maersk Spot is now available on all trades, except in and out of U.S. Currently available as BETA site, the product will be implemented on at the beginning of August.

Maersk to offer customers carbon-neutral transpor

A new carbon neutral product - the first of its kind in the industry - is being piloted with select Maersk customers who are highly engaged in sustainable solutions for their supply chain. H&M Group is the first company to trial it as part of the shift towards carbon-neutral transportation.

The biofuel in the pilot project is the same blend of used cooking oil and heavy which has been tested and successfully validated in a trial driven in collaboration with the Dutch Sustainability Growth Coalition (DSGC), and Shell his year. It is certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) body.

"The biofuel trial on board Mette Maersk has proven that decarbonized solutions for shipping can already be utilized today, both technically and operationally. While it is not yet an absolutely final solution it is certainly part of the solution and it can serve as a transition solution to reduce CO2 emissions today. With the launch of this product, Maersk seeks to help our customers with their goal of moving to sustainable supply chains, "explains Søren Toft, Maersk COO.

The biofuel to be utilized is carbon neutral and provides, H&M Group the ability to reduce their transport and logistics emissions towards their aspiration of carbon neutrality, when accounting for only the emissions from the vessel. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) will provide a procedure to ensure carbon savings are accredited to our customers appropriately. When taking a full lifecycle view including also all emissions from upstream production and transportation, the fuel entails savings of 85% compared to bunker fuel.

The goal of such pilot projects is to unlock the potential of sustainable fuels so they become a commercial reality.

"Our high ambition to become climate positive by 2040 requires cooperation and engagement from all parties in the supply chain. We want to use our size to be a force for good and enable scaling innovative solutions, such as the carbon neutral ocean product, for a greener commercial transport," says Helena Helmersson, COO H&M Group.

We will use the biofuel project learnings to support a broader product offering and will continue to co-develop and facilitate the uptake of solutions that will help bring about more cost-efficient carbon-neutral options for the carbon neutral transportation.

Today the shift away from fossil fuels can be expensive for shippers. Ensuring the wide-scale adoption of carbon-neutral solutions therefore requires technical innovation and supportive global policies.

"We believe this is the only commercially viable path to make the required investments our industry requires to reach the carbon neutral target. We are so pleased to see a significant shift in sentiment and involvement from customers, fuel suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and competitors towards sustainable solutions," emphasizes Toft.

Shipping remains the most carbon-efficient means of global transport today, but accounts for 2-3% of global emissions. This number will continue to grow if left unchecked by industry leaders and policy makers.

Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to 2050.