INTTRA Asia Technology Summit: Need for Standardization Expands


By The Maritime Executive 11-15-2018 01:18:06

INTTRA, the largest neutral network, software and information provider at the center of the ocean shipping industry, hosted its annual Asia Technology Summit in Singapore this week focused on innovation to action.

At the Summit, INTTRA announced the launch of its INTTRA Rates pilot, the planned expansion of Avantida into North America, and the results of an industry survey highlighting top strategic issues.

More than 200 senior shipping and technology executives accepted the invitation to attend the Summit, with 70% representing C level or SVPs in ocean logistics, and 30% representing technology and logistics experts. By company, 42% were from freight forwarders and BCOs, 41% technology companies, and 17% carriers. The event is regarded as a forum for collaboration across container shipping and is intended to advance the digital transformation of the ocean freight industry. 

Several important themes came out at this year’s Singapore Tech Summit:

- Data silos and incompatibility are a major challenge in the maritime supply chain

The inability to share data and interoperate across the supply chain is the root cause of many issues that still plague the industry. Existing silos make it too hard to share data and to create collaborative processes. Issues like lack of container visibility, the difficulty securing container space, poor delivery time predictability and even booking no-shows are symptoms of the core problem – information does not flow freely between trading partners. A survey of Summit attendees shows nearly 50% reported real-time container visibility as a top concern of freight forwarders.

- The industry needs data standards in order to ensure the free flow of information between trading partners

Having data standards and data sharing protocols will dramatically improve the flow of information between carriers, ports, freight forwarders and BCOs. The industry needs to develop standards across a range of areas including APIs, EDI, real-time container status, documentation transmission, IoT data, and blockchain connectivity. The creation of agreed standards and protocols is essential according to 91% of attendees surveyed. 

- Networks will be the key to achieving a truly intelligent supply chain in ocean freight

The core promise of a network is the ability to connect once and interoperate seamlessly with all network members. An ocean network based on established data sharing standards will allow the container shipping industry to take digitalization to the next level – predicting and anticipating changes and automatically sensing and responding to unplanned events. The good news is digitalization is increasing with the survey showing that 71% of respondents are on their way to being fully digitalized.

“Earlier this year INTTRA declared the industry is ready to move from innovation to action,” said John Fay, CEO of INTTRA. “Much has changed in a few short months to further move the industry toward action, including the combination of INTTRA and E2open, the world’s largest supply chain network.  As the largest neutral network in the container freight industry we are positioned to help address long-standing challenges, including real-time container visibility and better rates management, and in the process further advance digitalization across the Ocean Freight ecosystem.”

Rates Pilot Initiated

INTTRA revealed today that the INTTRA Rates pilot program it announced earlier in the year has launched on schedule, with eleven freight forwarders participating in the pilot. The participants represent a broad section of the market, covering small, medium and large freight forwarders. INTTRA intends to launch a fully digitalized rates solution in the first half of 2019 based on the results of the pilot. The current system for managing rates and rate changes is inefficient and error prone, leading to errors in 30-45% of all freight invoices due to the manual nature of today’s rate management processes. A digital solution will address this issue.

Avantida to launch in the United States

Avantida, which recently launched in Mexico, has plans to launch in the United States by the end of the year. Avantida continued to grow in 2018 with 43% more registered users compared to the same period in 2017. In addition to the US, Avantida plans to expand to Scandinavia and Canada in the coming months.

Transactions have also enjoyed substantial growth, more specifically in the area of depot services increasing by 61% and triangulation services by 62% in 2018 so far.

Customer Survey

The event saw the release of a survey sent to Tech Summit attendees to understand their business challenges and appetite for digital transformation. The results support the themes outlined above, including the increased need for standards. Of note, 16% of respondents are just getting started digitalizing their businesses, 71% are well on their way to full digitalization, and 13% are close to the finish line.

“While a significant percentage of respondents indicate that a good portion of their businesses are now digitalized, much work still needs to be done around standards for API and EDI, electronic Bill of Lading and other aspects around interoperability,” said Inna Kuznetsova, President and COO of INTTRA. “There is a demand for better solutions, including real-time container visibility, management of rates changes, reducing no-shows and improving asset utilization. INTTRA is taking the lead in driving the development of standards and network connectivity needed to make the intelligent maritime supply chain a reality.”

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