Welcome to the May issue of “Across Logistics”, where we are presenting the latest logistics technology news that happened over the past month.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
- DCSA Takes on eBill of Lading Standardization, Calls for Collaboration
- Adani Ports Join TradeLens Platform in a Big Push to Digitizing Supply Chain
- Hikrobot Announces Partnership with OW Robotics to Improve Warehouse Automation in the UK
- Gap Rushes in More Robots to Warehouses to Solve COVID-19 Disruption
- DispatchTrack, a Last-Mile Logistics Platform, Raises $144M in its First-Ever Funding
- Scandit Raises $80M to Digitally Transform Traditional Industries Through Computer Vision and AR
- FedEx and Microsoft Join Forces to Transform Commerce
- Daimler Trucks North America Partners with Platform Science to Deliver Advanced On-Vehicle Software Solutions
DCSA Takes on eBill of Lading Standardisation, Calls for Collaboration
Since the first efforts to digitize bills of lading (BL) in the late 90s, the promise of an electronic bill of lading (eBL) for the container shipping industry has remained elusive. In fact, TradeLens goes so far as to call an eBL standard the “Holy Grail of global trade”. And like the Holy Grail, there are a number of obstacles on the road to attaining it.
Eliminating paper from the shipping transaction will make every aspect of commercial container shipping better, faster, cheaper, more secure and environmentally friendly.
Starting this May, DCSA embarks on an initiative to enable the open collaboration necessary for achieving full eBL adoption. As part of this initiative, DCSA aims to develop open-source standards for necessary legal terms and conditions, as well as definitions and terminology to facilitate communication among customers, container carriers, regulators, financial institutions, and other industry stakeholders.
“DCSA’s mission is to drive alignment and digital standardization to enable transparent, reliable, easy to use, secure, and environmentally friendly container transportation services. Digitizing documentation, starting with the bill of lading, is key to the simplification and digitization of global trade” highlighted Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA.
Adani Ports Join TradeLens Platform in a Big Push to Digitizing Supply Chain
In a big digitization push, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, India’s biggest private port operator, has signed up with TradeLens, a blockchain-based digital container logistics platform, jointly developed by A. P. Moller – Maersk, and IBM.
The cargo handling facilities run by APSEZ at Mundra, Hazira, Dahej, Tuna, Dhamra, Ennore, Kattupalli, Mormugao, Vizag, and the under-construction port at Vizhinjam will be integrated with TradeLens.
The TradeLens partnership will enable greater ease of doing business across the supply chain by replacing manual, time consuming administrative process with digital procedures powered by blockchain technology, including the abovementioned adoption of eBL.
Port of LA Chief Promotes Nationwide Port Optimization System to Enhance Visibility and Improve Execution
Hikrobot Announces Partnership with OW Robotics to Improve Warehouse Automation in the UK
This May, Hikrobot, the Chinese robotics manufacturer, and OW Robotics, the sister company of OrderWise, one of the UK’s leading ERP and WMS providers, have revealed that they begin targeting SME customers with a new partnership designed around the integration of warehouse management software and warehouse robot technology.
The partnership will see a range of four Hikrobot goods-to-person, a-to-b, and production line units will be available including Hikrobot’s CTU robot and omnidirectional Forklift Mobile Robot (FMR). Using OWR’s software platform, sale orders can trigger robots to collect from specific racks, and manufacturing requests can automatically mobilize the production line. The robots initiate a response as soon as an instruction is received, which has the potential to reduce delays and improve order accuracy.
“With a really strong heritage in delivering warehouse operations for 3PL, wholesale and retail customers; and developing WMS and ERP software, this is a natural alliance which will break down barriers to bring game-changing robotic automation to more UK warehouses,” said Shawn Huo, General Manager for Overseas Business at Hikrobot.
Gap Rushes in More Robots to Warehouses to Solve COVID-19 Disruption
U.S. apparel chain Gap Inc. has announced that it is speeding up its rollout of warehouse robots for assembling online orders so it can limit human contact during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the article published by Reuters.
Earlier this year, Gap reached a deal with Kindred AI, a provider of piece-picking AI-enhanced robots designed for e-commerce order fulfillment. The deal aimed to more than triple the number of item-picking robots the apparel chain uses to 106 by the fall. Each machine is able to handle work typically performed by four people.
However, the pandemic struck North America, forcing the company to close all its stores in the region, including those of Banana Republic, Old Navy, and other brands. Meanwhile, its warehouses faced more web orders and less staff to fulfill them because of social distancing rules Gap had put in place.
According to Kindred’s Chief Operating Officer Marin Tchakarov, “Sourcing parts in time for the eight-foot-tall robotic stations was not simple or cheap”. But the venture-backed startup was able to deploy 10 of them to Gap’s warehouse near Nashville, Tennessee, and 20 near Columbus, Ohio, with plans to finish the rollout to four of Gap’s five U.S. facilities by July, months ahead of schedule, he said.
Logistics Technology Investment
DispatchTrack, a Last-Mile Logistics Platform, Raises $144M in its First-Ever Funding
DispatchTrack, a leading provider of SaaS-based last-mile logistics solutions, announced that it has closed a $144 million growth transaction led by Spectrum Equity, a global growth equity firm that specializes in partnering with internet-enabled software and information services businesses.
DispatchTrack enables end-to-end visibility and real-time coordination across online and physical storefronts, warehouses, drivers and end customers. The company equips its customers – including retailers, wholesalers, grocers, restaurants, food and beverage distributors, field service businesses, third-party logistics (3PL) companies and others – with the tools and data to transform last-mile operations from a cost center into a core part of the customer experience.
“We are thrilled to partner with Spectrum Equity in this new stage of our growth. We built DispatchTrack to help businesses large and small provide superior delivery experiences, streamline operations and maintain coordination and transparency across all constituents in the last-mile. With Spectrum’s support, we will continue our rapid pace of innovation and bring best-in-class solutions to more businesses, industries and geographies,” – said Natarajan, CEO of DispatchTrack.
Scandit Raises $80M to Digitally Transform Traditional Industries Through Computer Vision and AR
Scandit, the leading technology platform for mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR) solutions for enterprises, announced it has raised $80 million in Series C related funding led by G2VP, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Scandit has previously raised $43 million.
Scandit is a unique computer vision and machine learning platform combining leading-edge barcode scanning, text recognition (OCR), object recognition and augmented reality (AR) for any camera-equipped smart device – from familiar smartphones to drones, wearables and robots. Organizations in retail, transport & logistics and manufacturing use Scandit’s computer vision technology to create and power mobile apps or websites for mobile shopping, self checkout, inventory management, proof of delivery, asset tracking and maintenance.
The new funding will further accelerate growth in new markets such as APAC and Latin America, as well as expand Scandit’s footprint and operations in North America and Europe. It will also support continued R&D to develop new ways enterprises can transform their core business processes using computer vision and AR. Scandit’s global customers include 7-Eleven, Alaska Airlines, Carrefour, DPD, FedEx and others.
Other Logistics Technology News
FedEx and Microsoft Join Forces to Transform Commerce
This may, FedEx and Microsoft announced a new multiyear collaboration to help transform commerce by combining the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud. Together, FedEx and Microsoft aim to create opportunities for their customers through multiple joint offerings powered by Azure and Dynamics 365 that will use data and analytics solutions to reinvent the most critical aspects of the commerce experience and enable businesses to better compete in today’s increasingly digital landscape.
This new strategic alliance represents a long-term commitment between the companies to fuel innovation, collaborate on product development and share subject-matter expertise. Currently, FedEx networks link more than 99% of the world’s gross domestic product across 220 countries and territories, and Microsoft Azure is trusted by more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies. By combining the breadth and scale of the FedEx network and the Microsoft cloud, businesses will have an unprecedented level of control and insight into the global movement of goods.
“FedEx has been reimagining the supply chain since our first day of operation, and we are taking it to a new level with today’s announcement. Together with Microsoft, we will combine the immense power of technology with the vast scale of our infrastructure to help revolutionize commerce and create a network for what’s next for our customers,” said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO at FedEx.
Daimler Trucks North America Partners with Platform Science to Deliver Advanced On-Vehicle Software Solutions
Daimler Trucks North America has partnered with Platform Science, the developer of a leading platform for on-vehicle mobile applications offering advanced fleet management software solutions. Platform Science will be the primary on-vehicle fleet management software development and distribution partner, enabling customers to purchase and utilize third-party telematics solutions and connectivity services directly from their trucks without aftermarket hardware installation. In addition to that, Daimler Truck AG has made an investment in Platform Science via the company’s Series B funding round.
Built-in telematics hardware from DTNA will be available from the factory with Platform Science’s software, eliminating the delays, costs, and inconveniences of installing after-market devices, cabling, and antennas. The integration of Platform Science’s technology will provide a seamless customer experience by including an end-to-end solution and maximum visibility with minimal complexity. Drivers will simply need to bring an authorized mobile device and log into their new vehicles’ DTNA onboard telematics system.