Together ports can make the supply chain more reliable, efficient and sustainable, but challenges still remain and a shift in market trends mean ports need to adapt in order to provide the best services to clients.
This was the resounding message from two roundtables hosted by Port Technology International and the Port of Rotterdam.
Participation of the two roundtables included senior executives and C-level members of ports from across the globe including the Port of Halifax, Port of Algeciras and Port of Vitoria.
During the April roundtables the Port of Rotterdam outlined the results of its recent survey, ‘reinvent your marketing efforts’ in which it explored how ports see current market activities and what changes are taking place in the industry today.
Today ports are increasingly recognising cargo owners as an important client group to cater to. With this comes the need to easily find and compare options for transport and the need for transparency so cargo owners can see exactly where their products are at any given point on their journey, as is the case when consumers order from Amazon.
Speaking during the roundtable, a representative from HPC concurred with Rotterdam that there has been a shift in recent years to focus on the cargo owners.
During the roundtable discussions it was highlighted that there needs to be more openness for ports to share data between each other in order to achieve this level of transparency. There is certainly a great deal of opportunity for this, starting with non-commercial data. The Port of Rotterdam also noted that there is a need for information to be supplied via neutral channels, for example through Routescanner which allows shippers and forwarders to plan routes via any port, not just the Port of Rotterdam.
It also allows plans to be made around the sustainability of a journey, which is a growing demand.
Overall, Routescanner adds value for the shippers and forwarders through showing connectivity of all ports.
Through the sharing of data on the supply chain route it was also highlighted that the more information ports have to access the more efficient a route can be, with timings justified for vessels so they are not idling at ports for long periods for instance.
More and more ports are developing high-quality digital services themselves. A logical next step is to get the best services industry-wide adopted instead of every port inventing the wheel itself. Port’s successes on their digital journeys relies on the industry’s willingness to collaborate.
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