Maersk to introduce a virtual assistant named Captain Peter

Maersk is set to enhance its Remote Container Management (RCM) platform by a virtual assistant, named “Captain Peter”. The avatar will assist customers along the journey of their cargo.
Currently being tested by a group of select customers, technical improvements are being put in place to simplify the processes integrated into the Remote Container Management (RCM) platform.
In the first half of 2019, Maersk will release the new platform with a revamped design and new product features which will be enhanced by a virtual assistant named Captain Peter.
“Our goal is for the RCM product to look and feel like your favourite smartphone app. There is still a lot of paper work and difficult processes in global trade. Captain Peter will help take care of some of this complexity, by seamlessly engaging with the customer from end to end in the supply chain,” Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Head of Global Reefer Management at Maersk said.
In the beginning, Captain Peter will follow some simple rules, sending up-to-date information via customers’ preferred channel, for example, SMS or e-mail, on container temperature and atmosphere conditions, as well as a timeline on its end-to-end journey. Should any deviations be observed, or the shipment be delayed, Captain Peter will notify the customer.
Once the container has arrived at its destination, Captain Peter will also check on its state and send an update to the customer. In time, customers will receive information configured to their specific needs.
The RCM technology makes a reefer’s location, temperature, humidity and power status easily available to the customer. Should any issues be detected, the customer can alert his supplier or have the shipment checked by local surveyors, potentially saving the customer millions of dollars in lost cargo.
“With the number of active users of the RCM platform constantly growing, the aspiration is for Captain Peter to gather enough information to be able to predict potential cargo damage and provide configuration suggestions before containers are shipped,” Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen said.
Maersk launched RCM for customers in September 2017. It provides transparency on in-formation from 270,000 Maersk refrigerated containers equipped with machine to machine technology. Today, over 2,300 customers have signed up for the RCM solution, translating to more than 70% of Maersk’s reefer volume.

Air freight achieves modest growth in October

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), rose 3.1% in October 2018, compared to the same period the year before. This pace of growth was up from a 29-month low of 2.5% in September.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK), rose by 5.4% year-on-year in October 2018. This was the eighth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand.
Growing international e-commerce and an upturn in the global investment cycle are supporting the growth. However, demand continues to be negatively impacted by:

  • A contraction in export order books in all major exporting nations in October.
  • Longer supplier delivery times in Asia and Europe.
  • Weakened consumer confidence compared to very high levels at the beginning of 2018.

“Cargo is a tough business, but we can be cautiously optimistic as we approach the end of 2018. Slow but steady growth continues despite trade tensions. The growth of e-commerce is more than making up for sluggishness in more traditional markets. And yields are strengthening in the traditionally busy fourth quarter. We must be conscious of the economic headwinds, but the industry looks set to bring the year to a close on a positive note,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Regional performance
All regions reported year-on-year demand growth in October 2018, except Africa, which contracted.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight grow by 1.9% in October 2018, compared to the same period last year. This pace of growth was relatively unchanged from the previous month. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, and longer supplier delivery times particularly in China and Korea impacted the demand. As the largest freight-flying region, carrying more than one-third of the total, the risks from rising trade tensions are disproportionately high. Capacity increased by 4.2%.
  • North American airlines posted the fastest growth of any region in October 2018, with an increase in demand of 6.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 8.2% over the same period. The strength of the US economy and consumer spending have helped support the demand for air cargo over the past year, benefiting US carriers.
  • European airlines experienced a 1.4% increase in freight demand in October 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 1.9% year-on-year. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, and longer supplier delivery times particularly in Germany, Europe’s largest freight flying country, impacted demand. Seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand remained deflated in October, which could indicate the start of a broader weakening in demand.
  • Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes expanded 5.0% in October 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 8.8% over the same period. There are signs of a pick-up in seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand helped by more trade to/from Europe and Asia.
  • Latin American airlines’ freight demand rose 0.3% in October 2018 compared to the same period last year and capacity increased by 3.3%. International demand slipped by 0.9%, marking the first contraction in 11months. International freight volumes have fallen month-on-month in four of the past five months, reflecting broad weakness in the region’s key markets.
  • African carriers saw freight demand decrease by 4.2% in October 2018, compared to the same month last year. This was the seventh time in eight months that demand shrank. Capacity increased by 5.4% year-on-year. Demand conditions on all key markets to and from Africa remain weak. Nonetheless, seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes have stopped declining and recovered sharply in recent months.

 

The RENAULT-NEOLINE-cargo sailing-ship sustainable supply chains transport

Renault to bring back cargo sailing ships

Groupe Renault has announced the signing of a 3-year partnership with Nantes start-up NEOLINE to develop a more sustainable maritime transport service powered by wind, and to contribute to the environmental management of its logistics chain while nearly 60% of the group’s parts and vehicles are transported by sea.
Vice President Strategic Environmental Planning at Groupe Renault Jean-Philippe Hermine said: “Groupe Renault’s objective is to reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle throughout its entire life cycle, from parts transportation up to delivery and end-of-life processing. In the context of our strategy to explore new sustainable mobility solutions and to continue along the road to reducing our carbon footprint, the ship designed by NEOLINE, which combines energy efficiency and operational relevance, has truly captured our attention”.
Alliance global director production control Jean-François Salles added: “The partnership with NEOLINE is the latest example of our supply chain’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint by 6% between 2016 and 2022. For nearly 10 years, we have been working to identify the most environmentally sustainable solutions: for example, optimising the fill rates of the containers and trucks, producing eco-friendly packaging, and implementing a multimodal system. We are also developing more initiatives, such as the use of natural gas transportation between parts suppliers and production sites, the evaluation of transporters’ environmental performance, the modernisation of truck fleets, and of course the optimisation of our flows to reduce the number of kilometres travelled and to eliminate empty trips.”
CEO of NEOLINE Jean Zanuttini said: “We are especially pleased that Groupe Renault, a key player in accessible and sustainable mobility for all, is the first partner to join us on board our journey by trusting in NEOLINE’s maritime transport research. Considering that the traditional sea freight accounts for nearly 3% of CO2 emissions in Europe, NEOLINE aims to build an innovative French way to address a global environmental challenge while remaining within an industrial and competitive framework, with the support from its partners.”
To create a maritime transport capable of meeting the environmental challenges of our time, NEOLINE is developing its industrial-scale wind-powered freight services that are cleaner, customised and competitive, in response to the logistical needs of shippers. Led by a team of maritime professionals, this shipowner project has culminated in the design of a commercial demo with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% through the use of wind power primarily, combined with a cost-cutting speed and optimised energy mix, compared to a traditional cargo ship on an equivalent route. The demo, a 136-meter RO-RO ship and 4,200 square metres of sail area, features an innovative blend of technical innovations borrowed from the maritime transport industry, as well as from competitive sailing, in order to make transport more logistically and economically proficient, while also setting the bar for energy efficiency.
The objective is to build two ships based on this model and to commission the vessels by 2020-2021 on a pilot route joining Saint-Nazaire, the U.S. Eastern seaboard and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon.

Western Sydney Airport selects architect to develop business park

Western Sydney Airport has appointed Architectus to plan a business park on a dedicated 191-hectare parcel of airport real estate.
The business park will offer the opportunity to integrate office, retail, industrial, hotels and conference facilities within 1.5 kilometres of the airport terminal.
“There will be opportunities for businesses to be at the terminal’s doorstep at what will become Australia’s largest international gateway. When the Airport opens in 2026, it will be built for 10 million passengers a year, but we’ve got a blueprint for staged growth to become one of the world’s biggest airports in the decades to follow and our business park will be a key feature,” Graham Millett, CEO, Western Sydney Airport said.
Graham said he expects interest in the Airport’s business park to come from a range of different industries.
“Consultants, tech companies, defence and aerospace, airlines and pharmaceutical are just some of the industries that would enjoy considerable advantage being located at the Airport’s front door,” he said.
Master planning work on the Airport business park is expected to be complete in mid-2019. Work to build Western Sydney Airport began in September, with the business park set to open before Airport operations begin in 2026.

Air freight boom runs out of steam

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), rose 1.7% in March 2018, compared to the same period the year before. This was five percentage points lower than the February result and the slowest pace of growth in 22 months.
The year-on-year increase in capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK) fell to 4.4% compared to 6.3% in February. This was the first time in 20 months, however, that annual capacity rose faster than demand.
The sharp growth slowdown is principally due to the end of the restocking cycle, during which businesses rapidly increased their inventory to meet unexpectedly high demand. A softening of global trade is also evident.
“It’s normal that growth slows at the end of a restocking cycle. That clearly has happened. Looking ahead we remain optimistic that air cargo demand will grow by 4-5% this year. But there are obviously some headwinds. Oil prices have risen strongly, and economic growth is patchy. The biggest damage could be political. The implementation of protectionist measures would be an own-goal for all involved—especially the US and China,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Regional performance
All regions except Latin America reported year-on-year declines in growth in March, with Africa in negative territory.
African FTK fell by 3.4% in March. This result may, however, be influenced by the comparison with unusually strong growth in March 2017. Indeed, Africa has reported the fastest growth of all regions for 17 of the last 18 months, so it would be premature to suggest this is the start of a negative trend.
Asia-Pacific carriers reported FTK growth of just 0.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Export orders in Japan and Korea have fallen in recent months and the region remains particularly exposed to the impact of protectionist measures.
European airlines’ FTK rose 1.0% in March compared to March 2017. A stronger Euro and a softening of export orders in Germany partially explain the result, but the seasonally-adjusted trend in FTK has been slowing in recent months.
Latin American airlines posted growth of 15.5% in March compared to a year ago, the only region to improve on its performance compared to February 2018. Freight volumes in the region have been recovering over the past 18 months, in part due to the better performance of the Brazilian economy.
Middle East carriers saw growth of 0.8% in March compared to March 2017. This is consistent with the general weakening in regional performance over recent months, and in particular may reflect an especially strong March 2017 result.
North American carriers’ freight volumes expanded 3.9% compared to March 2017. The US inventory-to-sales ratio has risen in 2018, indicating the boost to cargo growth from restocking is over.
You can view March air freight results (pdf) here.

Townsville Port opens to shipping after $40.7 million upgrade

The Port of Townsville’s Berth 4 container and general cargo facility has officially opened upon completion of a $40.7 million upgrade.
The two-year project has resulted in a full upgrade of the inner harbour berth so larger vessels can be accommodated and efficiency improved.
The project has doubled the capacity of Berth 4, allowing an additional 2 million tonnes of product per annum, delivering a 20% increase on current total port tonnage throughput capacity.
The upgrade will lead to more jobs in North Queensland due to the economic boost it would provide the region. Member for Townsville Scott Steware said: “The upgrade itself generated 100 local jobs, and the next phase, which involces crane investment and cargo infrastructure, will generate 35 direct jobs during construction. Berth 4 operations will also support ongoing jobs once the project is complete.”
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said that the successful completion of the project by local company CivilPlus Constructions demonstrated the capacity for large projects to be carried out by local companies.

Hays releases 2018 Jobs In Demand report

Recruiting firm Hays has released its latest Jobs In Demand report, covering January to June 2018.
The company expects strong demand to continue in the logistics industry for persons with expertise in the areas of inventory management, import/export, wharves and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) planning.
“Across Australia, positive productivity is linked to efficiency improvements, be that in warehousing, transport or supply chain,” the company said. “Companies are targeting candidates who have a strong knowledge of systems and processes, combined with a proven track record in reducing costs and achieving demanding KPIs [key performance indicators].”
The report identified several roles that the industry is currently keen to fill, including storepersons with inventory management software experience, import/export coordinators with cargo software knowledge, fleet controllers with wharf experience, demand and supply planners with FMCG experience.
Experience in purchasing will also be in demand, as will candidates with knowledge of inventory management software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SAP software.
Hays is also seeing an increased need for logistics candidates with heavy rigid or heavy combination licences.

Emirates introduces full-visibility SkyCargo service

The freight division of Dubai-based airline Emirates, SkyCargo, has introduced a new enhanced protection for pharmaceutical cargo, ‘pharma corridors’.
Pharma corridors are the virtual lanes between select cities on its network where Emirates SkyCargo staff are working with local ground handlers to provide enhanced protection for temperature sensitive pharmaceutical cargo.
“What this means is that our customers can be confident that their pharmaceutical cargo will get the required handling from the point it is dropped off at the origin airport until it is picked up at the destination airport,” an Emirates SkyCargo spokesperson told Logistics & Materials Handling.
Emirates SkyCargo is working with ground handling partners and other stakeholders to ensure that handling operations for pharmaceuticals “are uniform and comply with Emirates SkyCargo’s stringent norms for pharma transport,” the company said in a statement, adding that compliance with either EU Good Distribution Practices (GDP) or IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) pharma guidelines is also required.
“Operating the largest GDP certified multi-airport hub in the world, Emirates SkyCargo offers round-the-year secure transportation of pharmaceutical cargo at its hub in Dubai,” the company added. “The introduction of pharma corridors with a focus on non-hub handling activities allows it to go one step further for the protection for pharma cargo.”
Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President – Cargo, said: “As a customer-focused organisation, we have been listening to feedback from stakeholders in the global pharmaceutical industry. We realised that it was essential to work with our partners on the ground at the various stations in order to ensure that pharmaceutical cargo travels under the best conditions not only through our state-of-the-art facilities in Dubai and when on board our modern aircraft, but right from the point the cargo gets dropped off at the origin airport until it is collected at the destination airport.”
Check out the process in the 3.5-minute video below.

The first 12 stations in Emirates SkyCargo’s pharma corridors are Amsterdam, Brussels, Bengaluru, Cairo, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Milan, Rome, Shanghai and Singapore.
Emirates SkyCargo informed Logistics & Materials Handling that it is currently working with its partners to include more cities within pharma corridors, including its stations in Australia.

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