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Venture investors pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the red-hot freight visibility market during the pandemic, but 2022 saw a rationalization of both funding and growth expectations in the market. That came as global supply chain disruptions started to ease in tandem with container volume demand. Yet freight visibility remains top of mind for virtually every shipper and service provider in the industry. It’s clear that the pandemic crystallized the need for better visibility software and data, yet the market remains far from a finished product. Shippers still bemoan data quality, completeness, and timeliness, and still pine for better normalization of data as cargo moves through various modes. Journal of Commerce Senior Technology Editor Eric Johnson will sit down for a frank discussion on where the market stands and where it’s going with Matt Elenjickal, CEO of FourKites, one of the more prominent visibility vendors to emerge in recent years.
The act of buying ocean capacity seems ideally suited to technology. With thousands of suppliers in the market — vessel operators and NVOs that resell capacity — and thousands of port pair configurations to manage, procurement is the ideal puzzle to throw at optimization software. And yet most logistics teams still talk about spreadsheets and rate sheets, and PDFs and email strings when it comes to buying space. Additionally, procurement teams still view buying contracted ocean capacity as an annual process, to be managed periodically when rates spike or drop. Wild swings in rates during the pandemic may have changed the picture permanently, pricing some shippers out of the market and highlighting the differences between the procurement haves and have-nots. As ocean rates drop to something approaching their historic norm, three technology providers catering to shippers will discuss how technology can help manage what appears to be an era of turbocharged volatility.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of capital have been plunged into the Latin American logistics industry the past few years, most in the form of backing tech-native third-party logistics providers. For the most part, the funding is designed to create digital powerhouses that can consolidate a fragmented industry heavily reliant on "local heroes." But as in other regions that have seen large-scale investment into logistics technology, the established set of incumbents don't have any plans to be wiped off the map. In addition, a few Latin America-based players saw the digital writing on the wall long before venture firms did and have been investing in digital operational and customer service capability for years. In this session, a group of existing players in the space give a lay of the land of how software is — and isn't — changing the nature of logistics in Latin America.
A decade ago, the global 3PL landscape was pretty well established. The large top 25 players had large brand recognition, even if they collectively lacked the type of market share dominance players in other industries enjoy. But over the last decade, the competitive landscape has changed along multiple dimensions: the emergence of so-called digital forwarders — backed by big-name venture capital firms; the rise of e-commerce players moving into logistics services; and finally, container lines pursuing an integrated supply chain management strategy for shippers. The pandemic seemed to turbocharge these developments, adding massive amounts of capital to the industry in the form of more venture funding, container line profits and e-commerce driven revenue. Then there's the impact of the pandemic itself on 3PLs and their customers — from decentralized operations to huge spikes in demand, freight rates, and transit times — have had an indelible effect. And behind all these dynamics is technology, especially the role that things such as automation, visibility, and user interface, play in attracting and retaining customers. In this session, Kuehne + Nagel, one of the most high-profile companies in the industry, sill discuss how the last decade, and the last three years in particular, have shaped where and what the company invests in.
The idea that artificial intelligence and machine learning are purely buzzwords and not actually meaningful ignores the reality that AI and ML are very much in play in the global logistics industry. AI and ML aren't considerations for tomorrow, but for today. Basic automation, in the form of robotic process automation, already is permeating a range of core processes for shippers and 3PLs. So-called intelligent automation, where a system not only performs a basic process but also makes a recommendation or decision, is on the near horizon. But a huge chasm remains between what exists and what the industry actually understands. In this session, logistics technology pioneer John Motley, CEO of LOG-NET, sits down with TPMTech Chair Eric Johnson to break down misconceptions about AI and ML.
Gauging the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global logistics industry can be tough based on anecdotes alone. That's especially true with the industry seemingly falling back into its recognizable patterns as the sky-high demand during 2021 and early 2022 has crashed back to earth. As forwarders and NVOs think about their strategic in a post-pandemic world — especially around technology investment and usage — there's hardly a player better suited to understand how those intermediaries actually think than ECU Worldwide. As the world's largest co-loader, the company has deep insight into the thinking of its forwarder and NVO customers. In this session, Philip Blumenthal, ECU's chief transformation officer, will discuss findings of a fall and winter study the company did specifically for TPMTech, to get a sense of how adoption among service providers might impact shippers' customers and capacity providers with which they work.