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A system service that can instill faith within the logistics sector

Logistics operators face challenges in securing and improving efficiency in the logistics chain. A lack of transparency and reliability are two factors that give rise to questions relating to where the load is and how it is handled during transport, as well as whether the load will arrive on time and in the right condition. This has created a need for better collaboration between operators in the logistics sector. The goal of this is to achieve complete faith in the entire chain.

"To have a global platform like Internet of Logistics, where all concerned parties can access the data they need, will be crucial for us and our customers going forward," says Peter Pantzar, Geodis. 

In an interview with Peter Pantzar of Geodis and Anders Rystedt of Sandvik, we learn why a logistics solution, such as the one being developed in the scope of Multimodal information Sharing (MMIS), is needed, as well as how they view the outlook in terms of if and when it becomes a reality.  

For both Geodis and Sandvik, reliability is unbelievably important for their commercial activity and logistics has not offered the requisite level of reliability thus far. The system support available to freight carriers and purchasers have today is either analogue and/or provided in isolation from one another.

"We have tried for years and nearly given up in the effort to find a system that works for us, our logistics providers and customers. But along came MMIS and we now have a very positive outlook for the future!" explains Rystedt.

"I really think we will see that many different parts of the freight forwarding sector will be able to use this system!" says Pantzar. 

The purpose of the MMIS project is to map out the lack of information in the logistics sectors and thus avoid the uncertainty that is currently the case with respect to deliveries. The purpose is also to digitalise the information that comes in and process and distribute it among the concerned parties. This establishes effective conditions for sharing of information between different organisations in a secure manner. And the latter would be achieved by connecting Sandvik, Geodis and RoadCargo via an Internet of Logistics, but also to look at the possibilities of connecting additional parties. 

"Even if we are a big company in Sweden, we are a small cargo owner in a harbour like Hamburg, where we don't have an opportunity to question the system, but with a system like this, we would, unlike earlier systems, be able to know where the container is, when it will be shipped and whether it is still in the harbour, is delayed or on its way to the customer," says Rystedt. 

Rystedt also stresses that the system will make it possible to plan deliveries in a completely different way, particularly for Road Cargo, which is the carrier that handles transport in and out of Sandvik's facility.

Rystedt also explains that the problem today can be that it takes up to seven weeks until Sandvik knows whether the container has left the harbour or if it is on its way, because shipping from Hamburg to Japan, which is a regular route for them, takes such a long time and the only information they receive is about the final delivery to the customer. 

Part of the solution that is being tested within the scope of the project is to place and interconnect cameras in the harbours via an Internet of Logistics, so that the camera (films) registers a code or a number on the container. This data is then registered in the system and the container can be tracked en route to its final destination. 

"Having sensors in the harbours that register arrival and departure of cargo would increase reliability dramatically. Then we, as a logistics provider, could see not only when it left the harbour, but also foresee when the container will be received by the customer," says Pantzar. 

"The camera is a key to solving a whole host of problems, particularly for Road Cargo. Immediately after the camera has filmed the bar code, the information is converted into data that is entered in Ericsson's system. And with a system such as an Internet of Logistics, drivers all around the globe will have access to collective data in one and the same application, which is fantastic," explains Rystedt. 

What Rystedt explained applies to both normal-sized harbours such as Gävle and large transshipment harbours, such as Hamburg. 

Rystedt explains that he is positively surprised to see that the shift from analogue data to this system service is taking place without major problems. He was certain that there would be more resistance.
"It seems like a navigable route, because the system is not very complicated and there are currently no major costs associated with the transition. New participants can also get connected very easily," continues Rystedt. 

Project information - Phase 2
Time frame: December 2018 - February 2020
Budget: SEK 3.75 million (of which 50 % is financed via VINNOVA)
Partners: Sandvik, Geodis, Ericsson, Trafikverket, Sjöfartsverket, RISE and CLOSER