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Digitalization is taking shipping industry to new heights

This is a time when practically every industry is being transformed by digitalization.

But will data management and digital transformation help International trade to move forward?

The answer to that question is an emphatic ‘Yes’.  There are various aspects of the shipping industry that needs a major overhaul.  These stem from the losses incurred during the transit of cargo and also those that occur as a result of low customer satisfaction. 

The estimated loss incurred by the shipping industry is approximated at 50 billion USD.  This is mainly attributed to theft and cargo being untraceable. The industry along with the authorities can avoid a majority of these losses with real time information obtained through various digitization solutions including IoT.

In the present world where information is available at the fingertips, the ocean faring community is finding it hard to keep at pace.  This is due to the lack of accurate and timely information not being made available across the supply chain.  Digitization and adoption of new technologies can help solve these issues in a big way.

In our opinion, the shipping industry alone cannot spearhead the adoption of technologies alone.  The shipping industry is a part of huge supply chain where each entity within the chain needs to be open to adoption of these technologies and there needs to be standards set from the regulatory authorities.  Moreover, the cost of adoption of these technologies should be reasonable.

One of the good initiatives that are being implemented is ‘eDocumentation’.  This started with the electronic bill of lading but it was soon understood that standardization was required.  This prompted the shipping fraternity to embark on setting the standards and thus making ‘eDocumentation’ a reality.  The other factor that gave a huge boost to this effort was the recognition of the legitimacy of electronic documentation by various countries.

Another technology that has helped is the tracking of the containers.  This is done by recognizing the container numbers by cameras at various entry and exit points of the terminals to give more accurate information about the movement of these assets.  We would say that it needs to go one step further and have the containers tracked at various touch points within the various facilities. 


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