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Breakbulk September 2019

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10 The Journal of Commerce | September 2019 www.joc.com Breakbulk & Project Cargo or to the broad marketplace," he said. Shippers could also build RFQs for oil rig moves, industrial supply chains, or other types of projects. The RFQs are — or at least should be — comprehensive, including details such as weights; dimensions; drawings; health, safety, and compli- ance (HSC) information; and method statements — in a word: everything. Colaco said some shippers have been surprised at the thoroughness e2log requires, but they generally cooperate and have even said they find it a good discipline. The process streamlines the infinite number of ways that an RFQ can be presented to bidders, and forces the shipper to present more complete information, he said. The incomplete - ness of shipping information in RFQs has long been a complaint of project forwarders. In e2log, bids are broken down into ten discrete elements: cargo assessment, packing, transport to load port, customs clearance at load port, loading and port activity at load port, international transport, off- loading at destination port, customs clearance at destination port, trans- port and port activity at destination port, and delivery to final destination. The shipper provides specific dates, but no transport preferences, and can ask for full door-to-door or partial bids. Once bidding is final, the lowest offer is displayed, showing both cost and time. "The system does not make recommendations. This will not necessarily be the bid chosen," Colaco said, as the actual contracting is not handled by e2log. The platform's end-to-end track- and-trace capabilities kick in once bids are accepted, Colaco said. As with XELLZ's projeXsmart platform, the e2log system is a single repository for all documents, requirements, reports, and communications — from vessel flags and fumigation reports to the resumes of logistics engineers. "Everything is hanging in a single spot," Colaco said. As far as Colaco is concerned, the traditional insistence on the impor- tance of relationships in project cargo is little more than an excuse to avoid digitization. Like Bouwhuis, he said the real problem is a lack of structure and transparency into siloed data. "Relationships compensate for ineffi- ciency," he said. different locations by the many vendors working on a given project. "All communication is done within the system, within our platform; no emails," Bouwhuis said. Moving a cargo piece from Rotterdam to Hamburg, for example, could involve six different service providers and generate "many, many pieces of information," all of which "will be in one spot on our system," Bouwhuis said. "I will know what's been communicated and be able see videos, damage reports, certificates from crane companies, driver's licenses, GPS tracking — everything will stay within that one location on the system. If a key person breaks a leg and can't come to work tomorrow, someone else can take over. Cus - tomers can look into the system. It's tamper-proof and encrypted." Even so, according to Bouwhuis, customers' logistics teams are often resistant to XELLZ, viewing the forwarder as competition even when the need for collaboration is painfully apparent. Changing the mindset Adolph Colaco, founder and CEO of e2log, a digital logistics platform specializing in project cargo logistics, agreed that project transport players are often extremely protective of their turf. "It's the same on the shipper side. There are comfort levels with the people they work with," he said. "Tech-wise, [digitization] is doable, but the biggest challenge is the mindset of the industry and the lack of people's willingness to change," Colaco, who spent 25 years as a carrier, forwarder, and shipper in the project industry before founding e2log, told The Journal of Commerce. "I come from the business. I'm not a technology guy. Our tagline is 'Simplify oversize.' It's like there's this mystical thing about oversize [cargoes], but we are challenging that." On the e2log platform, shippers first create a "project structure," Colaco said. They then build their RFQs for a given activity or project and sub-projects. For example, "If an EPC [engineering, pro- curement and construction company] is building a project in Congo, and phase one is deployment of turbines, they cre- ate a section for all cargo moving in that phase, build RFQs from there, and send them out to preferred logistics providers Using the tools Shippers have been trying to digitize project transport logistics for years, said Michael Ruediger, project director, Americas, for Houston-based forwarder Pentagon Freight Services. "They want to compare apples to apples," he said. While he acknowledged the logic of this line of thinking, Ruediger emphasized the difficulty of capturing the flow of services in a project trans - port environment. e2log and similar systems are fine for simple breakbulk or container shipping, he said, "but with project cargo, you may have a packing list with 100 pieces listed, and 20 of those may be very specialized pieces with special handling... The port charges may be very complex and not easy to apply to a packing list" or capture on a digital platform. Because of this complexity, he prefers to FOLLOWING THE STRONGEST second quarter in four years — normally a slow time for the United States' infamously "lumpy" wind energy sector and its asso- ciated logistics service providers — the industry was buoyed in July when New Taxing headwinds Tariffs threaten US wind project momentum By Chris Barnett

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