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Advanced technologies dominate Vancouver logistics conference

By Colin Laughlan

2018-05-09

 

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Advanced technologies played a central role in the Supply Chain Forward theme of Informa's fifth annual Cargo Logistics Canada Conference and Trade Show  recently held at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Among the array of tech topics were sessions on Remote Control Logistics, Automated Guided Vehicles, Cold Chain Technology, the Autonomous Supply Chain, Predictive Analytics, and the highly-touted blockchain architecture for tomorrow's internet.

"We've never done a show, or been at a show in our industry, where the topic of technology has come up so often," Informa's Programming Director, Peter Hurmes, told Maritime Magazine. "The tech industry is moving into the transportation and logistics industry a lot faster than anyone thought it would."

One of the most popular topics at the show's new Tech Hub this year was a panel presentation sponsored by Salesforce on "How Blockchain Improves Global Trade." Dale Chrystie, VP Strategic Planning & Support, FedEx Freight, defined Blockchain as a digital distributed ledger that is permanent, transparent, and secure. "In a supply chain it creates a secure chain of custody across all modes," said Mr. Chrystie. "It allows all supply chain partners to sit at the same table."

Juan Ruiz, a spokesperson for the recently-announced IBM-Maersk Blockchain Joint Venture, said: "The main impediment of companies to share data is the lack of trust. We realized it has to be an independent company that gets all the parties involved." He said the new blockchain paradigm will mean "everyone will connect to a platform and participate with data sharing ... which is "about data pipelines for events in end-to-end shipments and paperless trade which is about digitizing all the paperwork."

 

 

Another well-attended session was the "Supply Chain Ecosystem," which considered four perspectives on how collaboration can improve supply chain competitiveness. Katherine Bamford, Director, Trade Development, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, said the Port of Vancouver advanced Canada's trade agenda through collaboratively funded infrastructure projects with partners in Western Canada. Ms.  Bamford added that because Vancouver was now "highly land constrained" the port is lengthening the ecosystem. "We cannot do it without inland ports or warehouses in Calgary," she said.

Kleo Landucci, Managing Director of Ashcroft Terminal, Vancouver's only inland port west of the Rockies, challenged Ms. Bamford's model. "[Ashcroft Terminal] is not is extending the cost of the supply chain by going inland - in fact we are doing the opposite - we are shortening the supply chain," said Ms. Landucci.

Brian Cornick, CEO, Cando Rail, said the key to effective collaboration is trust among supply chain partners. He said over the past 20 years "trust has been abrogated many times" between shippers and Canada's Class 1 railways. He added that blockchain technology could be an "impetus to trust" in the ecosystem.  (Photo VFPA)

 
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