World Maritime Day: Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet

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  • The energy sector is embracing digitalization, which requires one of the most important modern commodities ­– data.
  • Besides operational efficiency and customer service improvements, digitalization is set to promote sustainable logistics.

Thinking about World Maritime Day’s focus on sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet, I am reminded of the welcome, if unexpected, reductions in carbon emissions caused by the global economic collapse.

Behind this story is a hidden success, as global logistics transforms itself from manual to fully digitalized processes. The result is significantly greater efficiency, with better use of capital assets, improved intermodal integration, and reduced logistics costs.

Lessons from history

In the distant past, tall ships and steamers relied on paper lading bills and personal conversations – a pattern that continued for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. Yet spin forwards to a world with GPS, blockchain and the internet, for many operators much remains the same. While some paper has been replaced with email and PDFs, shipping processes are largely untouched.

The energy sector, though, has embraced digitalization. Where the end-product is a commodity, operational efficiency and customer service are key differentiators, and both of these depend on data. Learning how to improve operational efficiency is particularly dependent on data, with direct consequences for environmental impact and sustainability. At the risk of stating the obvious, cost-efficient processes tend to be energy-efficient, too. 

Lessons from Uber, Amazon

In serving the energy sector, customer service relies on data: just as Uber and Amazon provide real-time location tracking, smart logistics operators can do the same. Combined with process digitalization and integration of transport assets, global supply chains are able to increase capacity, reduce transit times, and cut costs. Further, incorporating AI enables analysis and predictive response to demand, ensuring the right assets are available at the right locations to help ensure smooth logistics response. 

Sustainable logistics

As the International Maritime Organization emphasizes sustainability for World Maritime Day, DPDHL is at the forefront of digitalization. We offer integrated logistics combined with advanced digital solutions that deliver commercial efficiency and a sustainable future for all.