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Turning the invisible network into the visible supply chain

Knowing where something is, and in what state it is in, is a fundamental part of being able to plan any operation. From automotive manufacture to supermarkets selling foreign-grown fruit, many sectors need to be able to know where their goods are at any one time.

Yet for many years a combination of legacy IT and the nature of global transportation, in which an average of 28 parties can be involved in the shipment of a single container, meant that the best any business could expect would be an assurance that its containers were on their way. Quite often, the only in-transit update would be when something was not going to plan: a container not loaded onto a ship, a vessel not calling at a scheduled port, or a delay on the land part of the journey. The BBC once called shipping “the invisible network that runs the world”; customers could be forgiven for thinking that level of visibility extended to those using the network.

The implications are significant: supermarkets expecting perishable goods might have to write off whole containers if they did not arrive on time; automotive manufacturers could find their production disrupted due to a lack of parts; retailers might run low on stock relevant only to specific points in the calendar.

From waiting and hoping to monitoring and improving

However, thanks to customer demand and improved technology, this is changing. Some of the industry’s largest players have announced plans to provide tracking services in the last couple of years. Most recently, container shipping giant MSC announced it would be deploying 50,000 smart containers, while the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, is partnering with Samsung on a pilot.

The current focus on tracking was summed up by Diego Aponte, CEO and President of MSC, in The Loadstar: “MSC believes the real-time tracking of containers is the future of the shipping industry. While shipping lines should, of course, compete on service, we will achieve better results for our customers by working in a more harmonized way on technology and innovation.”

To read more, visit https://www.orange-business.com/en/blogs/turning-invisible-network-into-visible-supply-chain

 

How mobile phone data could reduce traffic jams and train delays

Managing traffic flows has long been a core tenet of transportation planning. Congestion, whether vehicle or pedestrian related, can have a significant economic impact.

An annual study of congestion by INRIX found that the cost of congestion in the U.S., UK and Germany came to almost $1,000 per person. The study worked out a monetary value to a peak hour (including cost of travel, time not at work or with family), before determining that citizens in Los Angeles spent 102 peak hours in congestion, while in Moscow and New York, residents endure 91 hours of jams. INRIX estimates that congestion cost drivers in the U.S. more than $305 billion in direct and indirect costs in 2017 alone.

The effect of continued vehicle congestion is not limited purely to the economy either. Time spent traveling is time spent away from families, which can influence perceived quality of life and work/life balance. A study from Washington University found that, due to spending more time traveling, commuters in highly congested areas have less time to exercise, which has negative health implications. And there is the considerable impact of air pollution from traffic congestion, which also affects health and lifespan.

Understanding the citizen experience

In order to combat these effects and deliver an overall more positive citizen experience – which in turn should lead to greater economic activity – several cities are looking at ways they can improve and plan transport infrastructure better.

To read more, visit https://www.orange-business.com/en/magazine/how-mobile-phone-data-could-reduce-traffic-jams-and-train-delays

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Josh Turner

Jut Communications

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