The maritime supply chain is a critical part of global tradebut in itscurrent form is often considered old-fashioned and inefficient, leading to for instance significant demurrage costs which can be up to $150 billion per year, says Léon Gommans (pictured), CEO of Teqplay, promoter of maritime innovation through the use of data.
Lack of transparency and communication between stakeholders is one of the major challenges the industry faces, he continues. Even for those involved in the maritime supply chain process, there is still a lack of awareness of what is happening and the hidden costs that could incur throughout a voyage and port call.
“The lack of transparency and efficient communication among stakeholders prevents them from being proactive when it comes to disruptions and delays. This makes it difficult for charterers and port authorities to keep track of the big picture and increases the risk of demurrage.
“Outdated technology and processes also represent an obstacle toward optimizing maritime operations. Despite the rising importance of digital transformation, a significant part of the maritime world is still relying on outdated methods such as Excel sheets or paper documents.
“Compared to other industries and sectors, the maritime industry’s adoption of digitalization is happening later and slower. There is a common sentiment that there is no need to update the processes because things have always worked, and if it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
Gommans points out that the complexity of the supply chain is also one of the reasons why improvement can be challenging. Ship owners, charterers, agents, port authorities all have their own agenda and responsibilities which may overlap and interconnect. Every step in the chain affects the next one, and every party has influence over other stakeholders. “This means that decision makers need to have a comprehensive view of events if they want to ensure optimisation of operations. With how complex the processes can be, the risk of one delay causing more delays is high.“
All of which is why Teqplay is partnering with terminal operator Vopak in the sharing of real-time global supply chain data. Leveraging key data points related to vessel movements and other crucial assets, their innovative solutions empower accurate predictions, driving operational efficiency and ensuring unmatched customer service.
“Collaboration emerges as a linchpin of the maritime industry, and Teqplay recognizes that trust in data lies at the heart of successful cooperation.,” says Gommans. “Through API technologies and meticulous data handling practices, Vopak and Teqplay establish secure information exchanges, ensuring confidentiality and consent-driven information distribution. This trust in data fosters enhanced collaboration, leading to improved business models, streamlined invoicing processes, and seamless ownership transfers.
During trials in the port of Houston of the two companies’ innovative application that significantly improves supply chain visibility, he relates, customers unearthed savings of up to USD5million each, a testament to the game-changing potential of the project.
“Now, imagine the vast potential when scaled up for a customer with operations spanning 40 ports in various locations. The bottom line improvement is awe-inspiring, and Teqplay’s agile approach plays a pivotal role in this success.”