Last week, UTURN travelled to Antwerp to attend the first edition of Container Trends 2022 as a sponsor. During the varied program, all logistics container chain partners were able to speak and share their visions.
Guest speaker Stefan Verberckmoes
Guest speaker Stefan Verberckmoes started the conference with the statement: “Liner shipping: from total chaos to hard cargo”. He looked back at the exceptional situation in which the shipping companies have found themselves in recent years. Record profits, accumulation of containers at the terminals and not enough sailings. All the problems we have encountered have passed, but we also looked to the future.
As far as liner shipping for containers is concerned, a lot of work is being done on ships that will replace the old Panama ships, which are especially long but also slender. At this moment 5 mega ships are under construction and will mainly sail in Europe. There is now a surplus, but the capacity must be increased, for 10% of the ships that are taken out of service, 20% must be added.
The ships must also become more sustainable and the possibility of using other fuels such as methanol or LNG is being examined. These can already be bunkered well in Europe, but even less well in Africa. The costs for LNG are also still on the high side.
Kurt Joosen (Joosen Group), Olivier de Smedt (WeBarge), Dirk van den Bosch (DP World Antwerp), Harold Kunst (MPET) and Michel Marstboom (MAERSK Belgium) discussed the statement “Every crisis is an opportunity”. The need for digitization and uniform data sharing in the sector became clear once again. An online platform that shares real-time data about the ETAs of ships is more than desirable.
All parties recognize the need to share data, but are still reluctant. All the more important is to start step by step. A platform like that of UTURN enables shippers and carriers to share small pieces of data step by step. Which ultimately leads to a complete overview of how a container moves and where that container is located.
Automation is seen as a partial solution, a tool, but certainly not as a solution. First, the process must be optimized for all types of modalities. In times of chaos, you also run into problems with automation. The quay is full of containers, you know exactly where the container is, but you can’t reach it.
The panel members all agree that more transshipment space needs to be created. A solution would be to encourage more driving at night to avoid congestion on the road and to distribute the crowds more evenly at the terminals.
More insight into container transport step by step?
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