The impact of digital ecosystems in the logistics
Techtalk, Digitalisation

The positive impact of digital ecosystems in the container logistics industry

By Steven Jan van Hengel

Digitalisation is one of the five major megatrends changing logistics as we speak (source: port of Rotterdam whitepaper). This change is mainly taking place on the operational side rather than affecting the working method in itself. This is because many areas of international container trade have remained hugely traditional, lots of machine-to-paper-to-machine processes still exist, and there is little transparency, resulting in a lack of trust.

If we look at other industries, we can see that digitalisation has made a lot of today’s processes considerably easier and more accessible. Although we book our holidays online, order taxis at the touch of a button and have our food and groceries delivered to our homes, the way the logistics sector is set up remains virtually the same as it ever was. This is bound to change, so the question is not so much if disruption is on its way, but rather when it will come, who will be at the helm and will you embrace it or not.

The potential of digital ecosystems

Many parties in the chain are still setting up systems and initiatives independently of one another. For instance, there are developments in container tracking & tracing, digital freight forwarders are evolving, and a number of ocean carriers are working on their online booking platforms and offerings. For the sector to make a real difference, we need to halt this fragmentation. Even though we don’t always work together, we are still depend on each other. In any ecosystem (including a digital one), there is a synergy effect between different businesses and business models and we could even say that together they make innovation possible. Routescanner is a good example of such an ecosystem, which makes it more than just a solutions for getting insight into how to ship a containers from A to B. It is an ecosystem that is beneficial to the entire supply chain as well as the various individual players.

In any ecosystem, there is a synergy effect between different businesses and business models and we could even say that together they make innovation possible.

Steven Jan van Hengel

Routescanner for the whole industry

In an ecosystem, the emphasis is on co-creation and collaboration, so that everyone involved can benefit from it. Routescanner is a central data platform that offers value to different participants in a variety of ways, such as:

  • For shippers and freight forwarders, Routescanner makes finding and comparing container routes easy. This means more efficient business processes that, among other things, can reduce costs, allow the selection of better routes and cut down on carbon emissions. In addition, the transparency that Routescanner creates saves a lot of time by having all the routes presented simple and orderly in one place.
  • For operators (inland and ocean), Routescanner is a way of bringing their routes and services to the attention of potential clients, putting them in touch with each other and, by further integration between both our platforms, realizing a seamless interaction with their own online environment. This leads to more business and a more efficient interaction with clients.
  • Routescanner lets you visualise the (intermodal) network to, from and via specific ports, providing them with a valuable online marketing tool that allows them to show exactly what their port has to offer and how well connected it is! Instead of talking about it, they can show it (Navigate).

 As the ecosystem grows, so does its value

The more participating ports and (inland) operators there are, the greater Routescanner’s schedule coverage which, in return, makes Routescanner more valuable to shippers and freight forwarders. The more shippers and freight forwarders use the platform, the more rewarding it will become for operators and ports. In other words, as the ecosystem grows, so does its value for us all. Together, we can make this digital transformation a reality and we can all benefit from it. Together, we will shape the sector of the future.


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