A ship­per’s per­spec­tive

Exporter - - FREIGHT & LOGISTICS - Glenn Baker is ed­i­tor of Ex­porter.

Ger­ard Mor­ri­son, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Maersk Line Ocea­nia, says over­all the new VGM re­quire­ment has been im­ple­mented smoothly in both Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

But on chal­lenges be­ing faced by the ship­ping and freight in­dus­try in gen­eral this year, he sees de­clin­ing ship­ping rates as the big one, which have im­pacted heav­ily on rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. “Com­pare Q2 2015 with Q2 2016 and there’s been a global drop of around 24-25 per­cent in freight rates. They’re at all-time low,” he says.

While that’s good news for ex­porters, and not-so-good news for the ship­ping com­pa­nies, Mor­ri­son says the real chal­lenge for ev­ery­one is whether it’s sus­tain­able.

He says Maersk has put a lot of ef­fort into low­er­ing its cost base as much as pos­si­ble – how­ever, with New Zealand the dif­fi­culty fac­tor is much higher than the rest of the world due to our ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tance from mar­kets and the com­par­a­tively small, of­ten sea­sonal, vol­umes of freight shipped.

“The cost of serv­ing New Zealand will al­ways be ex­tremely high com­pared to other coun­tries.”

Ship­ping com­pa­nies’ strate­gies are now based on mak­ing net­works as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble, ex­plains Mor­ri­son. Com­pe­ti­tion for busi­ness has be­come fierce, and the key to sur­vival is to find new ways of do­ing things, he says. For Maersk that has meant launch­ing new ser­vices out of New Zealand that have not been seen be­fore. One is a north­bound ser­vice out of New Zealand di­rectly to China, with an­other in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. And there is a new ser­vice to and from South Amer­ica. Flex­i­bil­ity on ca­pac­ity and con­nec­tions is made pos­si­ble through Maersk’s ex­ten­sive global net­works.

There’s also a move from pa­per to dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and au­to­ma­tion in re­gards to doc­u­men­ta­tion, which also re­sults in greater ef­fi­ciency for not just ship­ping com­pa­nies, but also freight com­pa­nies and cus­tomers.

Mor­ri­son’s ad­vice for ex­port and im­port com­pa­nies is to prop­erly un­der­stand the many ship­ping op­tions avail­able. “To be ed­u­cated in­volves a lot of talk­ing and in­for­ma­tion gath­er­ing. So spend a lot more time in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion phase be­fore mak­ing any de­ci­sions.” of hon­esty, or the use of un­re­li­able equip­ment leads to mis­dec­la­ra­tion, ac­ci­dents or the in­tro­duc­tion of unwanted pests and dis­eases.”

Tech­nol­ogy’s im­pact

Wher­ever there are sav­ings and ef­fi­cien­cies be­ing made within New Zealand’s freight and lo­gis­tics sec­tor, you can be sure there is a tech­nol­ogy be­hind it.

In­for’s en­ter­prise soft­ware so­lu­tions, for ex­am­ple, which are in­creas­ingly ‘cloud’ de­liv­ered, fo­cus heav­ily on in­te­grated trans­port and in­ven­tory plan­ning. If your ware­house plan changes, then the soft­ware an­tic­i­pates the po­ten­tial im­pact on other ar­eas of your busi­ness such as in­ven­tory, labour al­lo­ca­tion and billing.

Lo­gis­tics man­agers can use the trans­port plan­ner to an­a­lyse ship­ment or­ders based on their ori­gin and lo­ca­tion any­where in the world, con­sol­i­date loads and de­ter­mine dates – with­out hav­ing to worry about po­ten­tial re­source or cost con­straints, ex­plains He­len Masters.

“We’ve also placed con­sid­er­able em­pha­sis on mak­ing of this hap­pen in real time, around the clock. So if you’ve got sup­plier is­sues in Europe, you’ll in­stantly be able to iden­tify and man­age the prob­lem with­out ever leav­ing your desk in Auck­land or Welling­ton.”

Dairy man­u­fac­turer Syn­lait Milk de­ployed In­for M3 (ERP) and In­for ION (mid­dle­ware) to en­able new ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing sim­pli­fied trac­ing with third-party trans­port and pack­ag­ing sup­pli­ers, and pro­vid­ing cus­tomers with im­proved vis­i­bil­ity of the pack­ag­ing process.

In­for has also al­lowed busi­nesses such as freight man­age­ment part­ner­ship Ko­tahi, to go one step fur­ther and in­te­grate mer­chan­dis­ing, mar­ket­ing, and de­mand data within their so­lu­tions.

As for the lo­cal sup­ply chain in­dus­try, Masters be­lieves the phe­nom­e­nal growth of sec­tors such as the high-tech man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try means it’s on a very solid foot­ing.

“Even as re­cently as ten years ago, New Zealand sup­ply chain ma­tu­rity would have been well be­low mar­kets such as the UK in terms of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and in­te­gra­tion. To­day it would ab­so­lutely be on par or even ex­ceed­ing global bench­marks.

“A good in­di­ca­tion of this is Syn­lait Milk. This year at our global awards they beat some stiff com­pe­ti­tion to take out our in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions ex­cel­lence award in New York. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that more New Zealand sup­ply chain pro­grammes will be join­ing them on the podium in the not-tood­is­tant fu­ture.”

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