Eric Johnson

IHS Markit

Senior Editor, Technology, JOC, Maritime & Trade

Eric Johnson is the JOC's Senior Editor, Technology, where he leads coverage and analysis of technology’s impact on global logistics and trade. Johnson regularly reports on how shippers, carriers across all modes, and logistics companies use software, as well as new concepts impacting core freight transportation processes like procurement, execution, visibility, and payment. Johnson is a regular presenter and moderator at industry events and webinars. Prior to joining the JOC in May 2018, Johnson spent 13 years with American Shipper in a variety of roles, most recently covering logistics technology and leading the production of a series of benchmark studies on the logistics industry. Johnson has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international business from the University of Leeds, UK. He has lived and worked in Southern California, the UK, and India, and now resides in the Washington, D.C., area.

Sessions With Eric Johnson

Thursday, 25 February

  • 11:00am - 11:15am (EST) / 25/feb/2021 04:00 pm - 25/feb/2021 04:15 pm

    General Session

  • 11:50am - 12:20pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 04:50 pm - 25/feb/2021 05:20 pm

    Adapting To New Ocean Shipping Dynamics

    The State of Online Ocean Freight Quoting

    Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd both reported sequentially increasing uptake of digital quoting tools in 2020, while a number of other container lines and many of the top 25 global forwarders now have such capability. Add smaller NVOs and freight rate marketplaces into the mix and shippers have an eye-watering number of options from which to secure an instant rate. Is this the way the market will eventually go? Will instant quoting replace spot rates? How important are these transactional tools to the digital ambitions of container lines and large forwarders?

  • 12:25pm - 12:55pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 05:25 pm - 25/feb/2021 05:55 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Using a Data-based Approach to Freight Procurement and Allocation

    The data exists for shippers, carriers and intermediaries to be more precise in determining when they need and have space on container ships. In essence, data could lead the industry away from destructive behavior that benefits neither the provider nor consumer of ocean capacity. This session will examine how rate benchmarking and tendering tools might help shippers better map out their allocations if aligned with a strong demand forecasting process. All of these are critical in any year, but particularly so in a year of upheaval like 2020 and uncertainty like 2021.
  • 01:00pm - 01:30pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 06:00 pm - 25/feb/2021 06:30 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Forwarding Technology on the Front Burner

    Forwarders are on the front lines of the barrage of technology being aimed at container shipping, a situation that presents a threat and an opportunity for intermediaries of all sizes. The question is, should a forwarder prioritize back-end operations or its customer interface for technology investment? And what hurdles are there once that decision is made. Standing still isn’t an option, but moving in the wrong direction can put a forwarder off course. This session will explore how providers and customers in this fast-moving market should game-plan over the coming year.
  • 02:00pm - 02:30pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 07:00 pm - 25/feb/2021 07:30 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    The Neutrality Question in Logistics Technology

    Do shippers want the technology platforms they use to manage ocean freight and other activities to be neutral or attached to 3PLs that can provide integrated services? The answer isn’t a binary one across the global container shipping industry. Some shippers are inclined to manage things internally, while others are happy to hand off critical elements of their containerized supply chains to 3PLs. This session will examine the extent to which neutral platforms will win out over those developed or adopted by 3PLs.
  • 02:35pm - 03:05pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 07:35 pm - 25/feb/2021 08:05 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Global Logistics' Data Dilemma

    Everyone says the value of data is as high as it's ever been, but the global logistics industry has a particularly hefty challenge in that data is produced, submitted, and consumed by a huge number of parties, few of which have native integrations with one another. Additionally, nearly every organization is sitting on a vast trove of data — some already digitized, some not — that is waiting to be leveraged. So the challenge isn’t so much access to data, but rather to have a strategy in place to clean it, contextualize, and use it. The challenges are huge, but not insurmountable, and the opportunities are even larger. This session will focus on steps to be taken to organize data and what the benefits of that organization can mean in managing containerized supply chains.
  • 03:10pm - 03:30pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 08:10 pm - 25/feb/2021 08:30 pm

    Case Studies - Uncovering Shipper Success Stories

    Cutting Through the Clutter of the Digital Forwarding Boom

    The rise of the “digital forwarder” moniker has placed the incumbent industry in a precarious position. Traditional forwarders either need to rebrand themselves as innovators, sit tight and wait for the buzz to die down, or pursue a sort of hybrid path. The reality is that the tens of thousands of forwarders globally have not ignored the importance of technology, but digital forwarders have focused their collective attention on where the industry is going. In this session, JOC senior technology editor Eric Johnson will sit down with Will Urban, chief revenue officer at Flexport and a veteran of Expeditors, to discuss perception versus reality, and what the next phase of forwarding looks like.
  • 04:00pm - 04:20pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 09:00 pm - 25/feb/2021 09:20 pm

    Case Studies - Uncovering Shipper Success Stories

    Shipper Perspectives: Making a Commitment to Decarbonization

    A decade ago, freight transportation sustainability initiatives started to take shape at global multinational shippers. But the impact of those initiatives tended to be moderated by the realities that shippers continued to prioritize rates and service over greener options. Shippers also faced a lack of products to truly measure the environmental impact of their supply chains, not to mention the direct and indirect service providers upon which they relied. But a lot has changed. Some shippers are laser-focued on carbon neutrality and they are bolstered by a burgeoning array of tools from software providers and 3PLs to help them measure those impacts. This session with the head of transportation at the world’s largest beauty care company will focus on what shippers can do to truly change the nature of logistics sustainability.
  • 04:20pm - 04:35pm (EST) / 25/feb/2021 09:20 pm - 25/feb/2021 09:35 pm

    General Session

    TPM21 Daily Recap Day 1

    Join senior editors Eric Johnson and Mark Szakonyi for a live wrap-up of the day's events at TPM21

Friday, 26 February

  • 11:55am - 12:00pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 04:55 pm - 26/feb/2021 05:00 pm

    General Session

  • 12:00pm - 12:20pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 05:00 pm - 26/feb/2021 05:20 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Breaking Down Logistics’ Digital Nervous System

    The number of logistics technology solutions on the market can seem overwhelming to buyers, but there is a way through the fog. Whether you’re a forwarder, carrier, or shipper, it’s important to have a strategy for understanding what your business needs, what solutions address those needs, and then ensuring that the preferred solutions can be integrated effectively with existing systems, partners, and customers. Brian Glick, CEO of the logistics systems integration specialist, sees these issues on a daily basis, and will walk the market through a multi-step guide to managing this process, including the consequential aspect of "wiring it all together." This session will serve as a link between the substantive and granular technology sessions on days 1 and 2 of TPM21. 

  • 12:25pm - 12:55pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 05:25 pm - 26/feb/2021 05:55 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    The Role Technology Plays in Defining Shipping’s Decarbonization Future

    Sustainability has long been a difficult-to-define metric in the world of international logistics, and so it’s generally a variable that factors into procurement and freight management decisions far below rates and service levels. But over the past year, a bevy of forwarders and technology providers has developed products and calculators that seek to help make these considerations less abstract, more concrete, and thus more actionable.
  • 01:00pm - 01:30pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 06:00 pm - 26/feb/2021 06:30 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Global TMS as the Gateway to Other Services

    TMS is no modern innovation — indeed, the concept of a global TMS linking supply chain and logistics partners and based on the power of the internet is entering its third decade. But a new breed of systems is emerging with a more open mindset, one where the TMS isn’t a turnkey and static fix but rather a vehicle to incorporate a range of ancillary products and services, predominantly through application programming interface. This session will examine what the next decade of TMS innovation is likely to look like.

  • 01:35pm - 02:05pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 06:35 pm - 26/feb/2021 07:05 pm

    Managing Flow Through The Port Complex

    Ports as Data Hubs That Serve Cargo Owners Effectively

    Port authorities and terminal operators are endeavoring like never before to become enablers of cargo flow through data initiatives that seek to overcome the traditional roadblocks in containerized supply chains. These initiatives can take many forms, from container availability platforms to modern versions of port community systems and genuine SaaS systems that are sold to other ports. This session will examine the value of these initiatives on an individual basis and how realistic it might be to enable cargo owners and their logistics providers to tap into data across multiple ports.
  • 02:40pm - 03:10pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 07:40 pm - 26/feb/2021 08:10 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    Trending Up or Trending Down: Is VC Interest in Logistics Due to Wane?

    In discussions with early-stage founders and investors in the logistics technology landscape, the reality is starting to creep in. There is seemingly no end to investor enthusiasm for the industry, but there's also the practical issue that very few startups have a clear path to a dominant position in the global logistics industry, which remains fragmented and regionalized. This session will focus on how domain experts in the supply chain venture capital space see the next phase of investment into the global logistics industry. 
  • 03:15pm - 03:45pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 08:15 pm - 26/feb/2021 08:45 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    How Process Automation Will Change the Global Logistics Workforce

    Automation can be a scary word for an industry that has historically relied on people to make it run, from data entry and container tracking to managing operational challenges and customer service. But the technology wave hitting global logistics will indelibly change what the workforce looks like in the coming years. This session will examine what those changes look like, the benefits of a shift toward process automation, and the challenges of reassigning people to new roles.
  • 04:35pm - 04:50pm (EST) / 26/feb/2021 09:35 pm - 26/feb/2021 09:50 pm

    General Session

    TPM21 Daily Recap Day 2

    Join senior editors Eric Johnson and Mark Szakonyi for a live wrap-up of the day's events at TPM21.

Monday, 1 March

Tuesday, 2 March

Wednesday, 3 March

  • 01:15pm - 01:45pm (EST) / 03/mar/2021 06:15 pm - 03/mar/2021 06:45 pm

    The Logistics Technology Breakthrough

    COVID-19 as Accelerator of Digital Development in Shipping

    The liner shipping industry has suffered from a chronic lack of digitization and standardization, but headway is being made on a number of fronts stemming from historic coordination between carriers designed to make core processes easier for shippers, 3PLs, and software providers to manage. The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for this development, forcing logistics teams and service providers to operate in a decentralized way, and shining a light on where out-of-date foundations no longer work. In this session, Andre Simha, global chief digital & information officer at Mediterranean Shipping Co. and chairman of the Digital Container Shipping Association, will discuss progress on a number of fronts intended to unify digitization across the industry, including electronic bills of lading, smart containers, and other technology initiatives MSC is undertaking.
  • 01:50pm - 02:20pm (EST) / 03/mar/2021 06:50 pm - 03/mar/2021 07:20 pm

    General Session

    Enabling the Data-Driven Supply Chain of the Future

    AWS cloud technology has been one of the key components supporting the growth of's fulfillment network, and has also been the world’s most broadly adopted cloud platform. Today, AWS helps leading industrial customers transform their business, from accelerating design to optimizing operations, to reinventing supply chains, through a set of cloud services and solutions, an extensive partner network, and the highest standards for privacy and data security. In this session, technology and business leaders from AWS will explain how cloud technology can enable retailers, manufacturers, and logistics businesses to make their global supply chain more resilient and data-driven.