Digitalised supply chains

It all started with the digitalisation of analogue data. Today, almost everything is processed, supported and archived digitally. The term therefore refers more to the global data networks and platforms through which transport carriers, production facilities and warehouse keepers can communicate with each other in the best possible way.

Today, digitalisation also includes the development of new business models based on huge data platforms. These prevail in logistics for the analysis and handling of a variety of processes. HHLA, for example, has developed the platform modility for booking intermodal transportation

The goal is more efficient and more sustainable transport. And the next step on this path is to build cross-system data networks. Many different modes of transport, production plants and warehouses involved in logistics can use them to communicate efficiently. Transportation can be more sustainable, faster and more unobstructed with digital help, but only if stakeholders are prepared to share their data with each other. In the Port of Hamburg, the import message platform ensures better collaboration

The basis for this are standardized interfaces between players such as customs, the freight forwarder and the terminal operator. Andreas Nettsträter, CEO of the Open Logistics Foundation, compares the importance of such data interfaces with the introduction of the container in the 20th century. In a guest article, he explains how his foundation aims to create more efficient and sustainable supply chains.

Further examples can be found in this slider (please click on the arrows):

More transparency, efficiency and self-control

The logistics industry is hoping for such effects, as a study by the IT industry association Bitkom shows. According to the study, digitalisation creates greater transparency in the supply chain (61 percent), reduces environmental pollution (55 percent) and improves supply in rural areas (37 percent). In addition, digitalisation speeds up processes, saves time (84 percent) and costs (60 percent), reduces the susceptibility to errors and failures (44 percent) and ensures a lower demand for the already scarce workforce (30 percent).

The Internet of Things in the logistics industry

Networked data can also be used in the Internet of Things. This means individual machines, or even individual goods, from cars to fridges, could communicate independently via the internet. The goal is the increasing self-management of these “things”. A lot of research and regulation must be done before these carriers can move and manage themselves autonomously. The focus is currently on better information supply with the help of many sensors. Smart containers are one important use case, as shown in this example.

How do global logistics chains become more resilient?

Global trade has to endure many different stresses and conflicts. The supply chain congestion has multiple causes that reinforce each other and can grow into complex disruptions. There is no quick solution, but many problems are being worked on together. One important component that has made logistics chains more efficient in recent years can help: data sharing.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carlos Jahn, Director of the Institute for Maritime Logistics at the Technical University of Hamburg and the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML, analyzes the situation in HHLA Talk and calls for "even more willingness to cooperate could help ensure that minor disruptions in the supply chain don't grow to the current dimensions in the first place."

Read even more Scientific and first-hand analysis

Further megatrends and fields of action at HHLA

All information on the current trends automation, artificial intelligence, digitalized supply chains, drones and hydrogen as well as HHLA's projects.

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