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Supply chain visibility becoming more important as pandemic continues

Supply chain digitalisation growing amid pandemic
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Global supply chain visibility specialist project44 has said the importance of supply chain visibility is growing as companies around the world look to safeguard their shipments amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tumultuous events of 2020 have magnified the challenges in the supply chain and digital technologies will become more important as the industry recovers, according to Jett McCandless, CEO and founder of project44.

“Digital transformation to better understand and manage shipping delays and status was important pre-pandemic; now it is a business imperative,” he said.

Project44 provides a visibility platform for shippers and logistics service providers.

McCandless said the company has seen “the biggest increase in new customers, and the highest net revenue retention at 118%, among competitors in the supply chain visibility space.”

He puts this down to the suitability of the solution to overcome and adapt to today’s supply chain challenges.

The pandemic has caused chaos and congestions across the global supply chain and ports around the world have in some cases been unable to cope.

Some industry commentators have suggested that there will be an acceleration of technological innovation to clear the backlog of cargo and manage an increasing amount of volume.

A Port Technology International webinar earlier in the year heard how it will give the final push towards the Electronic Bill of Lading and greater utilisation of blockchain.

There are signs that this has started to happen. In September 2020 MSC announced it would roll out its e-B/L after a successful pilot in India.

In December 2020 the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) published data and process standards for the submission of shipping instructions and issuance of the e-B/L.  

During the Smart Ports: Piers of the Future event in November 2020 it was even suggested that the pandemic could create a new golden age of technology in the maritime industry, which will also make the supply chain more sustainable.

The statement followed a Series D financing round where it raised $100 million. The funding round, led by Insight Partners, follows what project44 described as its “rapid growth”.

The funding will go towards continued, global expansion of project44’s multimodal carrier network, as well as new product innovations, partnerships and integrations across the supply chain.

Throughout 2020 the company has signed 135 new customers, including major retailors and freight brokerages. It has also expanded its portfolio by adding air freight and a broader ocean coverage to track all shipments around the world.

“Now, with this Series D funding and closer relationships with our investor partners, we will only accelerate innovation to transform the global supply chain, helping organizations prepare for a new normal,” McCandles insisted.

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