IT Center of Excellence in Lisbon celebrates its second year with more growth

Panalpina continues to expand its digital capabilities through its IT Center of Excellence (CoE) in Lisbon, with more office space, new employees and more projects aimed at accelerating the company’s IT initiatives.

Panalpina’s IT CoE in Lisbon, Portugal, recently inaugurated another extension of its office. The event marked the center’s second year of operations, showing steady growth.

The new space features 33 modern workspaces, a kitchen and lounge, three meeting rooms and two phone booths, creating a mix of quiet rooms and open space inviting collaboration.

The CoE also welcomed more talent, with 40 new employees joining in the course of 2018. The extended office space allows for a total of 126 workplaces, a number the CoE expects to reach in the first half of 2019.

“Our software engineers, IT experts and business analysts in Lisbon work with corporate key account managers to serve global customers, understand their needs and develop solutions,” said Ralph Halter, Panalpina’s Head of IT Strategy and Planning. “We are building up core IT competencies in Lisbon that will help us quickly and efficiently provide service solutions for our worldwide customers, be it creating a new customer portal or improving order management processes.”

More capacity for going digital

The IT CoE in Lisbon has become the first-stop for all Panalpina’s corporate IT initiatives, with almost 100 employees working on key customer projects, robotic process automation, warehouse implementations, and supporting global infrastructure and applications. All these are aimed at reinforcing Panalpina’s products and functions with excellent service at optimized cost, to increase efficiency and better serve customers by moving to the forefront in its use of digital technologies.

Kuehne + Nagel on Brexit decision: “Free trade basis for prosperity”

No Brexit still the preferred solution
Risk of chaos following disorderly Brexit
Kuehne + Nagel well prepared to ensure flow of goods

In response to the House of Commons vote in the UK, Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, emphasises the importance of open markets.

“The House of Commons has made a historic decision which we need to respect. Kuehne + Nagel is committed to global free trade in principle which ensures prosperity for everyone. So from our perspective, “No Brexit” would be the preferred solution, since any form of Brexit is bound to increase trade barriers.

A disorderly Brexit is the worst solution. It will impose massive restrictions on the exchange of goods between the European Union and the United Kingdom. We appeal to the responsible bodies in London and Brussels to do the utmost to prevent this scenario. As far as we are concerned, we are focussed on ensuring the constant flow of goods for our customers”, says Trefzger.

Kuehne + Nagel has engaged customers and own industry experts over the past years to assess all possible impacts. In order to cope with the effects of a disorderly Brexit Kuehne + Nagel has taken steps to review all options to secure capacity on trade routes with Europe outside of the Kent corridor both by sea and air. Moreover, the company has commenced recruitment of additional customs clerks.

Kuehne + Nagel was asked to participate in the UK Government Cross Border Steering Group and will use this opportunity to define sustainable solutions as the set of Brexit conditions becomes clearer.

LATAM Cargo begins direct service between Bogotá and Panalpina's Huntsville gateway

For the first time in its history, LATAM Cargo flew a direct route between the cities of Bogotá (BOG), Colombia, and Huntsville (HSV), Alabama, United States. The new cargo-only route was opened last Sunday, December 2 and will be operated once weekly.

The new BOG-HSV route comes in response to Panalpina’s interest to cut down cargo travel time from South America to North America and LATAM Cargo’s commitment to meet the needs of its customers. Accordingly, the LATAM Group’s team assessed the feasibility of implementing this new destination to bypass transit through Miami.

“The sustainability of LATAM Cargo’s relationship with its customers is founded on trust and collaborative work. We are continuously supporting them with their projects by offering the best alternatives possible. This allows us to fulfill our desire to be perceived as strategic partners and to expand their business together,” said Andrés Bianchi, CEO of LATAM Cargo Group.

Panalpina’s gateway in Huntsville, part of the Charter Network, was recently expanded to accommodate perishables. Of the new 1,626 m2 (17,500 sq ft), 1,022 m2 (11,000 sq ft) is cold storage dedicated to perishables with variable temperature ranges. The coolers are located directly adjacent to Panalpina’s main building, less than 100 meters from the apron where aircraft park.

With the new service, Panalpina will reach Huntsville in approximately four and a half hours, cutting down distribution time and simplifying the logistics process. The freighter aircraft will have the capacity to transport some 50 tons of cargo per flight.

"The new route marks an important milestone as we continuously expand our Charter Network and the Perishables Network," says Roberto Schiavone, Panalpina's regional head of Air Freight Americas.

Panalpina and Honeywell partner on new technology solutions

Panalpina has entered into a strategic alliance with technology company Honeywell to enhance worker productivity, accuracy, and efficiency across its global distribution centers.

Panalpina today announced a strategic alliance with US technology company Honeywell. Honeywell is to become a technology partner supporting Panalpina’s global innovation initiatives around connected distribution centers, connected supply chains, and connected workers. The partnership is focused on productivity, accuracy, and efficiency improvements.

Panalpina will deploy Honeywell’s industry-leading technology solutions globally at its warehouses, including voice directed solutions, mobile hand-held devices, and warehouse automation solutions. The two companies agreed to a strategic alliance to jointly collaborate and deploy solutions that deliver value to Panalpina’s global customer base.

“The partnership with Honeywell will be instrumental for our LogEx continuous improvement initiatives and support us in providing best-in-class operations to our customers worldwide,” says Mike Wilson, Panalpina’s global head of Logistics and Manufacturing.

“Our goal is to support Panalpina in realizing its global digital transformation strategy,” says Thomas Park, chief commercial officer of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. “We will partner on new technology solutions designed to help distribution center workers and shippers streamline supply chain operations, gain detailed information about the condition of their shipments and comply with industry regulations.”

Recent implementations of Honeywell’s Mobility Edge devices and Vocollect Voice technology in two of Panalpina’s warehouses have been very successful and shown a 15 percent improvement in productivity. “Combined with our global standardized warehouse management system and integrated solutions, Honeywell adds enabling hardware and innovative technologies to work smarter and more efficiently,” says Brian Caputo, Panalpina’s corporate head of Logistics, HR and Legal IT products.

About Honeywell

Honeywell ( is a Fortune 100 software-industrial company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace; control technologies for buildings, and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help everything from aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable.

About Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions

Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS) provides products, software and connected solutions that improve productivity, workplace safety and asset performance for our customers across the globe. We deliver on this promise through industry-leading mobile devices, software, cloud technology and automation solutions, the broadest range of personal protective equipment and gas detection technology, and custom-engineered sensors, switches and controls.

Panalpina Mission Possible: Getting aid to South Sudan’s children affected by war

This coming week, Panalpina will assist UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Fund) for the sixth time by flying relief aid to Africa. The Panalpina Charter Network is in final preparations for the flight in support of the respected UN organization.

Same as last year, the flight ? chartered and donated by Panalpina ? will go to Uganda, from where the relief goods will be trucked across the border to South Sudan. Some of the relief goods will then likely be flown by giant UN helicopters to remote regions in the country to help mostly children, women and families in a country affected by one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The following report was written by journalist Peter Martell earlier this year and shows how getting aid to the people who need it most requires extreme efforts. The report also impressively illustrates how every ton of relief goods makes a very big difference to thousands of people who often have not had aid for years.

On the ground, aid workers and residents of the remote South Sudanese town of Udier use the cargo the helicopter has dropped as a temporary shelter from the storm.

The Russian-made Mi-26 helicopter is the world’s largest, originally designed to carry heavy military kit. Here it is delivering four tons of aid.

“Hold on!” shouts nurse Gatluak Lual, as people cling to the boxes, including special high protein food for malnourished children, packs of pregnancy delivery kits to help mothers give birth safely, spare parts to fix water pumps and bales of mosquito nets.

“This will make a very big difference to the people,” said Lual, sweeping off a layer of dirt to read the labels on the tumbled box, after the wind calms with the helicopter gone. “We have not had aid like this here for years.”

South Sudan is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Civil war erupted in 2013, ripping the young nation apart. Millions of people have been forced from their homes, and millions more are in need. Children are especially suffering. Many areas have been effectively cut off from the outside world almost entirely.

Unique airborne aid missions

Getting aid out to the people who need it most also requires extreme efforts. So the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, alongside partners from the World Food Programme, WFP, have developed what they call the Integrated Rapid Response Mechanism, or IRRM.

It is a complicated technical term for a mission with a simple focus; an airborne aid operation to drop in teams and tonnes of supplies into some of the most inaccessible and dangerous areas anywhere in the world.

Since the war began, hundreds of helicopter missions have provided aid for millions of the most vulnerable people.

“We target several areas at the same time,” said Selina Ayangi, a UNICEF team leader for the mission to Udier. “That includes tackling severe malnutrition with mass screenings of children, and providing treatment with supplementary feeding. For health, we give vaccinations, and for hygiene, clean water and sanitation kits.”

In the baking heat, the South Sudanese specialist in nutrition is organising a long line of volunteers, tackling the heavy work of hauling the cargo through thick scrubland from the helicopter drop zone.

“Logistics are a big challenge,” she said, as men carry chests of measles, tetanus and polio vaccines in giant cool boxes out of the burning sun. With no power to refrigerate the several thousand precious vaccines, they must be given out as soon as possible.

“It is a three-hour helicopter flight here,” Ayagi added. “We’re operating without electricity or phone signal. If you forget something, or need something else, you just have to work with what you’ve got.”

The five-person UNICEF team includes nutritionists, a child protection officer and a community health expert.

The first helicopter drops the team and their kit, including tents, food and even drinking water. They set up a base ready to support tens of thousands of people, training local volunteers to not only help manage vast crowds but also to assess for malnutrition and give injections of vaccines. They all must be ready to act as soon as aid is delivered days later via cargo helicopter.

After that, the team is on its own ? until a recovery flight is sent to pull them out after around 10 days.

The missions require aid workers take considerable risks. At least a hundred aid workers have been killed in South Sudan in five years of war. Dozens have been kidnapped. “The situation here now is calm,” Aynagi said. “But there have been times we have had to evacuate when things have not been good.”

Udier, in the far northeast of the country, is outside government control. That means the isolated town is physically cut off by battle lines from trade with the rest of the country. The UNICEF operating base is in the playground of the town’s school. The building itself is roofless after damage in storms, with walls covered in graffiti showing charcoal drawings of soldiers and war.

The people are not only exhausted by the war, weakened by years without healthcare, but are also struggling to support new arrivals seeking shelter and safety displaced by the violence. “Our population almost doubled with people fleeing from fighting,” said Chuol Kang Wuol, director of aid operations for the local administration. “That has stretched us even more.”

Each mission is a microcosm of the crisis that South Sudan as a whole faces; staggering health needs, uncertain security, a lack of even the most basic infrastructure, and hunger at such extreme levels experts have warned of the potential to return to famine conditions declared in 2017. The missions are carried out in collaboration with WFP.

Sometimes as many as 30,000 people will come from deep in the bush in the hope of supplies, which WFP delivers by literally pushing supplies out the back of airplanes. Tonnes of grain sacks thunder down, while crates of more breakable cooking oil are dropped with parachutes attached.

But it takes more than food alone to build a life. Bringing so many people together provides a good opportunity to provide a rapid delivery of healthcare. “People come for the food,” said Ayangi. “When they come to register for that, then UNICEF offers support to those in need.”

Last year, UNICEF deployed teams on over 50 joint missions to locations across South Sudan. While the UN uses such operations in other conflict zones across the world, the South Sudan missions are unique in being the only ones totally reliant on helicopters.

The queues begin soon after dawn. The long lines last for hours, snaking out across the dirt airstrip, the only large open area for people to gather. This mission, targeting around 9,000 people, is only a medium-sized.

At the head of the queues, UNICEF experts with support from local health workers and volunteers work without break to assess the needs and provide what aid they can.

Some children have extended bellies and swollen ankles, while others have light brown hair, all warning indicators of possible malnutrition.

Nyaduel Kuoch, aged 25, holds her six-month-old daughter Much Kor as volunteers read off measurements on a sliding malnutrition assessment arm bands. “We are struggling from a lack of food,” Kuoch said. “There is no healthcare for my children.”

Children are given doses of de-worming pills, vitamin supplements and, if they are judged to be severely malnourished, packets of special formula food to bring them back up to a healthy weight. Elsewhere, lines of mothers and children wait for vaccines, or health checks from medics.

Panalpina “The elongated, take-make-dispose supply chain is under threat”

Digital manufacturing such as 3D printing and flexible models of distribution close to the point of consumption will shape tomorrow’s supply chains, according to Panalpina’s Mike Wilson.

In a recent interview, Mike Wilson, global head of Logistics and Manufacturing at Panalpina, and newly chaired honorary visiting professor at Cardiff Business School, talked to professor Aris Sytentos, from the School’s Panalpina Research Centre, about manufacturing and supply chain trends, Sino-US trade conflicts and who will be the ultimate winners in global logistics.

“The elongated, take-make-dispose supply chain that has been the mainstay model for the last number of decades is under threat. It won’t all change overnight, but we are certainly experiencing the change today. Supply chains are going local. […] The trade wars we are seeing only accelerate this migration,” says Wilson in the interview.

Wilson argues that the previous constraints to manufacturing and supply chains are being quickly removed and he cautions global manufacturers to think seriously about where best to position their production capabilities. According to Wilson, speed and proximity to market have become much more critical, giving companies more options and choices in where to manufacture products.

“Technological advances in the digital age help to mobilize manufacturing, and time to market becomes the key element in the product life cycle. Original equipment manufacturers have long since outsourced manufacturing and supply chains, and will therefore need help to redesign and implement new strategies for both,” says Wilson.

He predicts the rise of the multi-disciplined mixed use facility: “Micro-factories combined with distribution close to the points of consumption. When we consider the nature of e-commerce and the expectation that goes with it, then moving manufacturing and supply chains as close as possible to consumers makes so much sense.”

Wilson is convinced that the real winners in all this will be the organizations that can help provide the services that come with the movement of manufacturing and supply chains: “From advisory services that help with distributed manufacturing and supply chain redesign, to new digital services in manufacturing and flexible models of distribution close to the point of consumption; these are the core competencies required for adapting to the new world.”

You can read the full interview here and watch a video about Panalpina’s research partnership with Cardiff University here.

Kuehne + Nagel is expanding its digital seafreight platform Sea Explorer into a smart gateway for all liner services in container shipping

A path finding algorithm provides extensive coverage between 1,200 ports to and from every corner of the world
Realistic lead times on direct services can be compared with announced transit times from carriers
Data-driven insights unlock new possibilities for a more reliable and sustainable seafreight supply chain planning
Full transparency of quality and sustainability for each operating service loop based on Big Data technology
Customers can leverage real-time service information to make best informed decisions

Kuehne + Nagel’s Sea Explorer provides digitally enabled service insights to the world’s largest seafreight service network. With the implementation of service connections and transshipments, the company further expands its seafreight platform. Sea Explorer is now offering smart connections between more than 1,200 ports around the globe through an advanced pathfinding algorithm. More than 63,000 port pairs are connected either by 750 direct weekly services or by a multitude of transshipment options.

Otto Schacht, Member of the Managing Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Seafreight: “This extension takes Sea Explorer to the next level and complements Kuehne + Nagel’s intelligent seafreight offering. It is the smart platform for all liner services in container shipping. With powerful features, like comparing realistic lead times for direct services and an intuitive navigation, customers will be able to unlock new opportunities for their day-to-day operations. For the first time a platform provides full visibility on CO2 emissions across carrier and individual services. Also in the light of the upcoming IMO 2020 regulations this will enable shippers to contribute towards a green economy and sustainable global maritime transportation. Kuehne + Nagel leverages big data technology capabilities and information from operational system to grant unique insights to sea transport options.”

Users can find, compare and visualise shipment options across carriers. Information on services are validated by more than 200 million data sets per day from multiple sources, such as AIS (Automated Identification System) and Kuehne + Nagel’s operational systems.

Sea Explorer is an agile project that will be continuously enhanced, based on close collaboration with customers.

E-commerce: a risky boom for international supply chains

Air freight peak season is in full swing ? and about to get even busier.

Big e-commerce dates are all happening in November, starting with Singles’ Day on November 11, followed by Black Friday on November 23, and Black Monday on November 26.

While Cyber Monday and Black Friday are traditionally US events, and Singles’ Day is thought of as a Chinese occasion, you can see these growing into global shopping (and shipping) events, with the air freight volumes to prove it.

E-commerce is the fastest-growing sector driving global air freight volumes. Lucas Kuehner, Panalpina’s global head of Air Freight, said in a blog post earlier this year: “We have gone from zero to an estimated 20,000 tons [of e-commerce air freight] in only two years. The actual figure is likely to be higher.”

Big online marketplaces and their suppliers are Panalpina’s most important e-commerce customers. This market is getting bigger as traditional stores are also increasingly turning to e-commerce, and to air freight. In its classic role as a consolidator, Panalpina is also interesting for smaller e-commerce customers.

“When doing e-commerce air freight you have to know exactly what you’re doing and deliver with speed and consistency. That includes staying on top of customs as well as dangerous goods and security regulations, because nothing can go wrong,” said Kuehner.

The boon and bane of freight consolidation for international e-commerce

Unhindered by national borders, legions of consumers will go online this month to purchase products online. After the final, effortless click, their international orders will be consolidated, transported and de-consolidated ? often multiple times.

“Only freight consolidation can make international e-commerce shipments affordable in the first place. Otherwise, transport costs, especially for air freight, would be too high and often in no relation to the price of the purchased product,” explains Kuehner.

“But the consolidation comes with challenges. In many cases, the original shipper details and the product information get diluted by a single commodity list provided under the name of the consolidator, who deals directly with a freight forwarder such as Panalpina. That makes e-commerce cargo riskier than other cargo.”

Freight forwarders, airlines, regulators and authorities are faced with three main challenges:

Firstly, third-party screening for compliance and security becomes difficult since the original shipper details are not transparent at the time of shipment booking.
Secondly, counterfeit and other forbidden illegal items can lead to delays and customs penalties for the shippers.
Thirdly, hidden, falsely declared or undeclared dangerous goods can jeopardize flight safety and the environment.
These challenges need to be addressed, because e-commerce is here to stay. It is estimated that there are currently over one billion online buyers in the world, and online shopping transactions continue to evolve rapidly as global e-commerce retail sales are expected to exceed $4.8 trillion by 2021.

Ensuring compliance with customs, dangerous goods and security regulations

So what does Panalpina do to mitigate risk in the international e-commerce supply chain as much as possible?

First of all, Panalpina handles e-commerce freight as a restricted commodity, meaning it requires prior approval from the company’s standards and governance experts, who evaluate the shipper, the commodity, and other shipment parameters and identify potential risks.

Panalpina has put in place global standard operating procedures for e-commerce freight to ensure a safe and seamless process from booking acceptance to handover to the carriers.

Furthermore, Panalpina has segmented e-commerce customers into three risk groups: low-, medium- and high-risk.

The company has also enhanced its shipper’s declaration for regulatory compliance to specifically address e-commerce-related risks. The amended declaration allows Panalpina, with the consent of the shipper, to perform physical checks and cargo security screenings when deemed necessary.

All of these measures mitigate risk in international supply chains that are inherent to the global boom of e-commerce.

For the 10th edition of Singles’ Day this coming Sunday alone, Alibaba expects to receive more than one billion orders.

The majority of these orders will come from within China. However, with Alibaba’s significant and growing presence in international markets across Asia, Europe and Latin America, scores of products will have to be shipped to consumers the world over too.

Panalpina is here to help in the background, playing a discreet but important role in ensuring that international e-commerce shipments comply with customs, dangerous goods and security regulations.