The key word that best describes some port environments is chaos, there’s transport operators, terminal operators and freight forwarders all using paper and telephones to communicate. If there are unexpected delays or something significant happens like the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is thrown into chaos.
Responding to delays isn’t a new challenge for the transport industry, but over the past two years there have been two major events that have highlighted the flow-on effects that happen when global supply chains are disrupted. The first one is of course the pandemic, but perhaps the greatest visual example was when the 400 metre-long Ever Given vessel blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March.
Importers and exporters who were affected still had the same major question they’ve always had – when will I get my goods to my warehouse or my customer? At 1-Stop Connections, our main purpose is to help our clients answer that question. We provide a logistics platform that helps move cargo more efficiently using data.
In a Ports environment for example, we enable operators to use data to make sure customs are clearing cargo, duties are being paid by the freight forwarder, security clearances are happening, manifesting is taking place and bookings are being made. This data allows the whole process to be streamlined so terminal operators can move boxes in and out of their port as quickly as possible.
From the perspective of a transport operator, the exchange of data allows them to maximise the asset, plan their jobs and let the importers and exporters know exactly when they will get their goods. The 1-Stop platform connects businesses, large and small, through EDI, API or XML so that each operator is still operating in their own system, but knowing they are getting live information that is continually updated.
Through this sharing of data, 1-Stop has been able to save the Australian ports community in excess of AU$10 billion in productivity savings. This is because operators are able to see which box is arriving for which vessel at any time, so they can have automatic gates opening or closing and the right number of trucks and staff on site to manage the process.
All of this has a cascading effect to everyone in the supply chain, big or small. For example; truck turnaround times in Port Botany in Sydney went from six hours in 2005 down to less than half an hour after 1-Stop’s platform was implemented. If all components of the supply chain aren’t working in alignment, there is a lot of time wasted, and a lot of extra charges that are passed down throughout the supply chain to the end user.
One of the main reasons the supply chain is more efficient with 1-Stop’s platform is that a lot of the paperwork that can cause blockages on site, is actually processed days before. Data-sharing makes the process more efficient for drivers as well, if the cargo hasn’t arrived, and the paperwork isn’t done, transport operators can’t make a booking at the port. For the port operators using 1-Stop, we are able to reduce or eliminate the landside chaos through digitisation and automation so people operate with a plan that is predictable and reliable.
For me, the main channel for innovation in our industry is data-sharing. That’s why we don’t create operating systems for just one component of the supply chain, we work with each component to understand questions they need answered and the best approach to solve their challenges. Creating that process of data sharing allows everyone to determine capacity and manage workloads throughout the process. Once you put collaboration, integration and innovation together, you’re going to get efficiency.