Logistics Management: Digitized Ocean Cargo Industry at “Tipping Point”

INTTRA, a neutral electronic transaction platform for the ocean cargo industry, maintains that the ocean cargo industry has moved beyond the “digitization tipping point,” and is on the verge of advancing from innovation to action.

To support this contention, company executives recently unveiled a shipper survey to gain some understanding of their business challenges and appetite for digital transformation.

Among the key findings was that the great majority of respondents felt that IT innovation initiatives that focused on process automation and digitalization were well under way.

At the same time, however nearly half of the respondents said that they lacked IT resources “in-house.” Another 42 percent said they were challenged by their company’s “lack of prioritization,” and 40 percent cited budget contraints.

Cathy Morrow Roberson, president of the research firm Logistics Trends and Insights, told Logistics Management that the survey was consistent with news she’s hearing in the marketplace.

“There’s quite a few automation and digitization projects underway and I expect the number of these efforts will continue to grow,” she said. “I further believe the current challenges that the ocean freight market faces will subside with the completion of these projects.”

However, she allows, prioritization, budget and the right talent are all important in order to achieve automation and digitization goals.

 “Having a strategy that includes measurable efficiency gains and cost savings will be necessary when sharing with the C-level,” she adds.

The survey highlights were also among the topics of discussion at INTTRA’s recently-concluded Technology Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

“Many customers name data sharing across the industry as another challenge,” said Inna Kuznetsova, the company’s President and COO. “As supply chains get digitalized, new opportunities to connect various sources create a foundation for better visibility and optimization.”

Given the complexity of today’s global ocean cargo networks, a new era of digitized transparency cannot come too soon. But the big question, as always, comes down to this: who’s picking up the tab?



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