Digitization advancing – reliable container tracking data required

Digitization was one of the keynote themes of the JOC Container Trade Europe Conference held in Hamburg, Germany, on September 18-20. Many ambitious digitization projects were presented, but the precondition for their successful implementation is “reliable, timely and well-structured data”, says Robin Jaacks, Chief Commercial Officer at Ocean Insights. The globally operating container tracking and sailing schedules specialists were joint winners of the JOC Innovation Jam.

The JOC Conference in Hamburg attracted a wide range of big-name participants such as Nestlé, Cemex, Gemini, Renault, Decathlon, Lanxess and Covestro. “The quality of this conference is astonishing,” says Floriane Crickx, Ocean Insights’ Regional Sales Director for Western/Southern Europe and Latin America. The list of conference speakers was no less distinguished. The CEO of the world’s largest ocean freight forwarder Kuehne & Nagel, Dr. Detlef Trefzger, talked about the fast-changing data technology ‘seascape’. The CEO, Europe of Maersk Line, Karsten Kildahl, took the opportunity offered by the audience of key people from the container shipping industry to announce the integration of Damco Supply Chain Services into Maersk Line. Advances in digitization are fuelling the trend to an ever-greater integration of container transport and logistics services. But this is where the conference also threw up many questions, not least the lack of reliable container tracking data.

Robin Jaacks: “Many ambitious digitization projects are underway or in the offing. But my impression from this conference is that the numerous broadly based digital offerings are also causing some confusion. If customization is first required, there’s no ready-to-use digitized solution. That’s where our clearly defined hands-on solution met with a lot of positive responses from major global players.” Ocean Insights provides data and intelligence for the logistics industry to improve visibility and transparency in ocean freight. Its innovative products, Container Track & Trace (CTT) and Container Sailing Schedules (CSS), were the first to combine container liner schedules and carriers’ container tracking information with neutral AIS vessel tracking data to take the planning and monitoring of operations to a new level. This innovative, ready-to-use product portfolio was one of the joint winners of the JOC Innovation Jam at this year’s Hamburg conference.

“We solve one specific issue,” says Robin Jaacks. “Container shipping has no tracking or reporting structure for raw EDI data. There are two problems: no unified data format and, say, 20 different shipping lines with 20 different EDI connections. That involves lots of time-intensive maintenance. Ocean Insights gives you just one API-based data feed, which is easy to handle and merge with your own data infrastructure.” Benedikt Rantzau, an Ocean Insights sales manager and logistics expert, sees two key benefits for container shipping stakeholders: “Our products allow real-time emerge reports to be created and provide a very useful early warning system for delayed cargoes. By processing vessel roll-over information we can notify our customers fast in the event of a delay.”

Ocean Insights customers are extremely satisfied with the reliable tracking data they are receiving. One such customer is Grupo TIBA, a leading Spanish freight forwarder. Manuel Boggiero, the group’s Chief Digital Transformation Manager and a conference attendee, explains: “I’m one of Ocean Insights’ biggest fans. Since introducing the Ocean Insights solution, we’ve enjoyed a 40% increase in data quality, which means fewer incidents and, above all, enables us to anticipate the complications that can arise from delays.”

Floriane Crickx was extremely pleased with the reception Ocean Insights enjoyed at the conference: “It’s amazing to see what can be achieved in a three-day conference – and to leave this event being unanimously acknowledged as a key solution provider in sea-borne cargo visibility. Jointly winning the Innovation Jam showed that we have definitely become a key player in the sea freight revolution.”