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Breakbulk September 2019

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4 The Journal of Commerce | September 2019 Editorial September 2019 Janet Nodar Breakbulk and Project Cargo available data points throughout the supply chain, he said. Project cargo use cases for IoT include tracking cargo condition and location, as well as inventory at worksites, staging yards, etc. "It's about visibility and planning," Kewalram said. Blockchain's value lies in its potential ability to increase the trust- worthiness of data. Robotic process automation (RPA) increases accuracy by removing human error. People get caught up in thinking that it's a quest for e ciency, but they are missing the big picture, Kewalram said. RPA leads to high quality, accurate, usable data. Cloud-based technology enables paperless storage and document management and thus a move to mobile technology across the supply chain, including for project and breakbulk cargo, he said. This is a springboard for fast, real-time communication, breaking down data silos, aligning vendors, and storing all documentation accurately and in one place, accessible to all who need it. Two specifi c technologies Kewal- ram says have potentially strong use cases within the project cargo supply chain are drones and augmented or virtual reality. Project cargo often requires inspections of tall or awk- ward out-of-gauge cargo, and drones could provide an inspection capability the industry has yet to fully investi- gate, he said. Augmented and virtual reality applications could help project logistics providers visualize practical solutions for tasks such as organizing laydown space and cargo fl ows, for ex- ample. "I think this is underexplored at the moment," Kewalram said. The largest area of potential bene- fi t, Kewalram said, lies in so-called big data initiatives — also referred to as analytics or data science. The supply chain will benefi t when data is shared among logistics service providers and customers, rather than being "stored in people's heads," he said. Big data opens the door to predictive planning, an outcome any logistician would welcome. THE PACE OF technological growth is exceeding the logistics sector's ability to come up with ways to use it. As Abir Thatkurta, vice president of global supply chain for Atlanta-based Havertys, put it at the JOC LogTech 2019 conference, held in early Sep- tember in Las Vegas, the market is awash in "solutions" that do not align with actual shipper needs. To address this gap, supply chains must be looked at holistically, as a series of complex, interwoven processes rather than a collection of discrete modes and technologies. Modernizing project cargo logistics, in particular, requires acknowledging its complexity. Potential benefi ciaries of digitiza- tion — in the transportation industry and elsewhere — are often unable to connect the dots between di erent applications, said Biju Kewalram, chief digital o cer at global forwarder Agility Logistics. There's a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), data science/big data, blockchain, machine learning, and a host of other technologies that could combine to one day revolutionize the industry. But most people don't see how those things are interconnected, Kewalram said. And would-be service providers, as Thatkura noted, often miss this point entirely. For starters, automation cannot take place without digitization, and the terms are not interchangeable. "Digitization" means bringing data from o ine formats like paper logs, phone calls, even spreadsheets and emails, into an electronic format that can be indexed and compared. Automation is only possible after data is accurately digitized. Once it's secured, using this accurate data for analysis, predictive planning, the cre- ation of data lakes, knowledge-shar- ing, and other goals becomes possible. But "the fi rst necessity is for high quality data," said Kewalram. What are potential data sources? IoT is not just about tracking and visibility; it's a tool that increases Executive Editor, The Journal of Commerce and JOC Events: Chris Brooks 609 649 2181, Executive Editor, The Journal of Commerce and Mark Szakonyi 202 872 1234, Managing Editor: Benjamin Meyer 916 716 6272, Associate Managing Editor: Kevin Saville, 212 488 4282, Senior Editors: William B. Cassidy Trucking and Domestic Transportation 202 872 1228, Bill Mongelluzzo West Coast 562 428 5999, Hugh Morley Northeast, Mexico 646 679 3475, Eric Johnson Technology 213 444 9326, Janet Nodar Breakbulk and Heavy Li 251 473 2742, Greg Knowler Europe +44 7976798770, Turloch Mooney Global Ports +852 9011 9109, Associate Editor: Ari Ashe Southeast Ports, Intermodal Rail 202 548 7895, Data Analyst: Marcin Lejk +44 587416270, Shipper Engagement Manager: Dustin Braden 646 679 3450, Senior Content Editor: Alessandra Gregory Barrett, 860 248 5238 Senior Designer: Sue Abt, 862 371 3534, Designer: Bryan Boyd, 908 910 7849, Publisher: Tony Stein, 770 295 8809, Sales: Cindy Cronin, Senior Strategic Account Manager Southeast, Gulf, Canada sales, 954 260 6061 Jean Gibbons, Senior Sales Executive West Coast, Midwest sales, 706 469 7160 John Knowles, Senior Sales Executive Europe sales, +44 7779974677 Allyson Marek, Senior Sales Executive Northeast sales, 862 754 8012 Alex Remstein, Associate Sales Specialist Reprints/Classifieds/Copyrights, 646 679 3418 Mehdi Smaili, Senior Sales Executive, Asia sales, +44 7581406491 For Magazine Subscription Customer Service: 450 West 33rd St., 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001 800 952 3839 Vice President, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, Peter Tirschwell Executive Director, Media & Events, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit, Amy Middlebrook Manager, Production, Carmen Verenna Product Manager, JOC, Jesse Case ©2019 The Journal of Commerce — All Rights Reserved For more information, visit our website, So many applications, so few use cases

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