Transforming technological innovations into environmental benefits is the challenge of our century. I even think that a sustainable supply chain will not exist without a connected supply chain. Among these innovations, the driving force is data collection at a minimal cost. Visibility is data; it is a precious source that is increasingly sought after in maritime transport. Today, this visibility results in the collection of important data from so-called « alternative » sources.  When I say « alternative » sources, I mean independent from shipping lines, such as the IoT. 

IoT is about connecting goods in transit to collect data on their location and the variations of their transport condition (temperature, humidity, and shocks) in real-time. Today, we realize that better visibility can directly or indirectly impact the carbon footprint of maritime shipments. Let’s see how.  

Reducing carbon footprint with optimization

Firstly, having access to real-time end-to-end visibility through a tracking tool (maps, predictive ETAs, real-time alerts) allows for better control of unforeseen events. We are informed in time and can take corrective action faster or inform the right people quickly. Anticipating actions and making information more fluid to speed up the flow.

 In a second phase, this data is retrieved in real-time, but also, and above all, it is stored to have a permanent data history. We analyze available data and optimize the routes to reduce lead times. This review allows identifying sub-optimized paths with unnecessary steps. Indeed, optimizing transport lead time has a direct impact on the shipment carbon footprint.

Those new data and additional visibility provided can be a game change towards a more sustainable supply chain with the right use. Building up a history of data and upstream analysis to find the best route is a major challenge for the future of supply chain transport.

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Making maritime transport more reliable to boost modal shift

It is no secret that air transport is much more polluting than maritime transport. Gaining visibility and control will not revolutionize maritime transport, but it will make it more manageable and encourage cargo owners to move to a more eco-friendly transportation solution (sea freight). In the context of a modal shift for Michelin, we know that 40T of CO2 were saved per shipment. When we talk about making maritime transport more manageable through data, we refer to several key points.

Visibility: the IoT collects data independently from shipping companies. This allows a complete end-to-end view of all goods flows.

Exception Management: The real-time data helps anticipate events and react quickly in case of unforeseen problems. 

 Today, the digitization of maritime transport processes can have a real impact on the environment. The extraction of granular data is a small part, but it is a key building block towards more sustainable logistics. IoT is not a revolution but a key enabler. But adapted to real business needs, it can be a real game-changer for the industry.


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