Logistics efficiency, where the supply chain works smoothly and with accurate data, is one of the current challenges of the entire sector. Plus, the digital revolution adds, to all these actions and flows, accuracy in prediction and decision-making, to develop intelligent logistics management.
Maritime logistics plays a fundamental role in global trade, facilitating the efficient transport of goods across the oceans. However, this sector faces numerous challenges that require innovative solutions. Keep in mind that more than 80% of the world’s trade volume is seaborne.
We know that the supply chain is a set of moving links and that no company (including carriers, logistics operators, lessors, ship maintenance companies and others) can afford an interruption. Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing maritime logistics by addressing these challenges and providing many significant benefits.
3 current challenges in maritime logistics.
Maritime logistics presents several complex challenges that require efficient and accurate management. Addressing these challenges requires a combination of technological innovation, collaboration among industry players and a long-term strategic vision. The results will not only improve the efficiency and profitability of operations but also contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development.
Efficiency and route optimization.
One of the main challenges facing maritime logistics is the need to improve efficiency in the planning and execution of shipping routes. As shipping plays a key role in global trade, it is crucial to find ways to optimize routes to reduce transit times, minimize operating costs and reduce carbon emissions.
However, this challenge is complicated by a few factors, such as port congestion, adverse weather conditions, and regulatory and legal restrictions in different regions.
To overcome this challenge, advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, need to be used to obtain real-time information on maritime traffic, weather conditions and other relevant factors to make informed decisions on the most efficient routes.
A disruptive future technology that we have already analysed in other posts is the Physical Internet. This technology will make it possible to optimize all global container transport, reaching levels of efficiency never seen before.
The road is long, but the Physical Internet is already on the horizon.
Systems integration and information flow.
Another key challenge in maritime logistics is the need for greater systems integration and a smoother information flow between the different players in the supply chain. Maritime logistics involves numerous players, such as shipping lines, ports, customs brokers, and carriers each with their information systems and platforms.
The lack of interoperability between these systems hinders coordination and effective collaboration, which can lead to delays, errors, and additional costs. To address this challenge, it is necessary to establish open standards and promote the adoption of data-sharing technologies, such as blockchain. Which would enable greater transparency and efficiency in maritime logistics.
It must be said that the main Blockchain initiative in the maritime field, Tradelens, has finally closed, but this has not been due to a technological problem or efficiency issues but to an approach problem that is emerging in these first ambitious initiatives. For these kinds of initiatives to be successful, it is key to be able to balance the efficiency of private blockchains with the necessary openness to all industry players. In previous posts, I have already talked about it in depth.
Sustainability and emissions reduction.
In the context of growing climate change awareness and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, maritime logistics faces the challenge of improving its environmental sustainability.
Shipping is responsible for a significant share of global greenhouse gas emissions, so finding ways to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions is critical. This involves the adoption of cleaner technologies, such as ships powered by renewable energy or hybrid systems, as well as the implementation of efficient energy and cargo management practices.
In addition, greater collaboration among industry players is required, as well as collaboration with governments and international organizations, to establish stricter regulations and standards for sustainability and emissions reduction.
Smart Maritime Logistics: Success (or learning) cases in the sector.
- Applied technology for route optimization and container management: Maersk Line implemented intelligent maritime logistics technologies to optimize its routing and container management. Using advanced algorithms and data analytics, Maersk Line was able to improve the efficiency of its operations by selecting optimal routes, minimizing transit times, and reducing associated costs. This optimization enabled the company to better serve its customers while reducing its carbon footprint and increasing its profitability.
- IoT and data analytics for smart port management: The Port of Rotterdam, one of the world’s largest ports, implemented smart maritime logistics solutions to improve the efficiency of its operations. Using technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics, the port was able to optimize the planning of ship arrivals and departures, intelligently manage storage spaces, and improve security at the port. This has led to greater efficiency in port management, reduced costs and waiting times, increasing in the flow of goods.
- Technology focused on sustainability: CMA CGM Group focuses its efforts on the decarbonization of container transport. As pioneers in the energy transition, they use biofuel, LNG and biomethane, to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Their innovative dual-fuel engine technology enables the use of bio-LNG as well as synthetic methane, while collaboration with stakeholders drives the development of future low-emission energy solutions in the transport and logistics sector.
The application of technology in the maritime logistics sector is proving to be fundamental to overcoming current challenges and improving the efficiency and profitability of operations.
Booming technologies such as artificial intelligence, combined with data analytics, blockchain and biotech, among others, are transforming the way routes are planned, container positioning is optimized, voyages are forecasted, and emissions are reduced. There are already success stories that demonstrate the positive impact of these applications on maritime logistics and how they not only improve efficiency and competitiveness but also contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing emissions and optimizing the use of resources.
Smart maritime logistics is positioned as a key solution for an efficient and seamless supply chain, driving global trade and promoting sustainable development. Continued adoption of innovative technologies and collaboration among industry players will be key to further progress towards smarter and more efficient maritime logistics in the future.