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January 2 2023

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114 Journal of Commerce | J anuar y 2, 2023 EXECUTIVE COMMENTARY ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK 2023 Logistics OL-USA Alan Baer President Technology and optimiza- tion of processes within logis- tics remain in focus as we move from 2022 into 2023 and beyond. Innova- tion is a constant across the technology spectrum, and logistics is no different. We continue to see improvements in the use of Optical character recognition (OCR) in read- ing, processing documents, and creating more sophisticated work- flow solutions. The expanded use of APIs to connect with customers, vendors, and information providers is gaining speed. And machine learn- ing is expanding within the logistics space as organizations seek to mine both internal and external data, looking for patterns within their supply chains. Automation within logistics has several "low-hanging" targets, such as more efficient dissemina - tion of earliest and latest return dates by vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) and container availability within depots and ports. If, for example, parking garages can track empty parking spaces, VOCCs should be able to continually post updated equipment availability. Vessel positioning data could also be provided in a more robust manner. Customer service is an area where VOCCs continue their quest to automate everything, but voice prompts and websites cannot match the creativity of an organization's team members and their ability to drive through solutions. We are not the airline industry, despite attempts by VOCCs to push custom - ers and forwarders in that direction. Supply chain visibility continues to be an elusive target. As the indus- try's interconnectedness improves, visibility will also improve. How- ever, maximizing the use of data, building a consultative relationship with your suppliers and all mem - bers of your supply chain, will help drive real value from visibility enhancements. The year ahead will see multiple challenges globally, brought on by economic uncertainty, political instability, and continued disrup - tions within regions and specific countries. Expanding supply chain flexibility and finding the right part - ners to help in this process are key to a successful 2023. SEDNA Bill Dobie CEO As we emerge from the devastating pandemic peak to geo- political tensions, a fast-changing climate, and the sky-high cost of living, the need for operational effi- ciency has never been greater. And digitization is integral to this. Although initially slower than other sectors to embrace the change, maritime and logistics companies were catapulted into the digital limelight during COVID-19 lock - downs to help juggle unruly supply chain disruptions amid global trade reaching record highs. With pres- sures ongoing, the sector continues to come online to enable greater visibility as it moves away from the "just-in-time" model. However, we do not need to reinvent the wheel to make this vision a reality. Going digital does not necessarily equate to businesses launching a continuous stream of new tools. The solution is already right at our fingertips. Acting as our global work currency, email continues to reign supreme. The trouble is it's remained relatively untouched for the past RK Logistics Group Rock Magnan President One of the signature achievements of the US Congress this year was the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act. This $250 billion package of new funding will support the largest research and development program in US history and will significantly expand semiconductor manufactur - ing capacity in the US. The act will also influence US third-party logistics and warehousing operators, as it is expected to impact supply chain flows and US companies that support semiconductor fabrica- tion manufacturing in China. One of the effects of the act is curbs on exports of supercomputer chips and US wafer fab equipment (WFE) to China, as well as the US teams that support them. Essentially, the act restricts exports of certain US-made equipment, as well as the skilled US employ- ees who provide on-the-ground, minute-by-minute support for those Chinese installations. Without that, on-site technical support will cease, which could lead to China-based fabs eventually shut - ting down, given that US companies or people would no longer be allowed to work in Chinese fabs. It could also have potential impact on order backlogs to customers in China and equipment that has already shipped. All this means that current supply chain flows and strategies of equip - ment manufacturers will be impacted. It may require more capacity in the US to store parts and components, equipment that is on backorder due to go into production, and finished goods available for export. 3PLs need to be prepared to bring quick, f lexible solutions to these companies, which now face new chal - lenges in their supply chains. We have to be nimble as manufacturers need our support. That 's going to put more pressure on an already tight market for warehouse space in the Bay Area and other locations such as Phoenix where fab equipment manufactur- ers operate. It 's an opportunity for US 3PLs to really show their skills and step up to meet these new challenges. "Current supply chain flows and strategies of equipment manufacturers will be impacted." ▶ "Voice prompts and websites cannot match the creativity of an organization's team members and their ability to drive through solutions." Alan Baer

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