IPCSA 2017 conference summary: “Globally Connected Logistics”

11 December 2017

The challenges, solutions, successes and opportunities of digitalisation in the supply chain were analysed and explained at a unique conference organised by the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA).

IPCSA returned to its ‘roots’ for its 2017 annual conference – the event was held at the World Customs Organization head office in Brussels, where IPCSA was first launched as the European Port Community Systems Association six years ago.

This year’s conference took Globally Connected Logistics as its theme, with speakers from the political, trade and digital worlds presenting their ideas on digitalisation, trade facilitation and effective border management to about 150 delegates.

Among the key messages:

  • The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which entered into force in February 2017, is a milestone and can be expected to make international business cheaper, faster and easier, helping to cut trade costs globally by an average 14.3%. The impact of the TFA, which sets out a path towards harmonisation, standardisation and improved information gathering, will be to reduce the time to import goods by 47% and the time to export goods by as much as 91%.
  • The ‘paperless’ dream for air and sea freight is still in the future. In both modes, there are often more people handling the back office paperwork than physically handling the cargo, and the costs reflect this.
  • The use of technology and data helps business grow and contributes to the overall economy.
  • Single Window environments can save resources, reduce human error and speed up trade flows.
  • Human resistance to new systems, the lack of trust between parties and a reluctance to share information can all hold back collaboration in the supply chain.
  • Technologies such as Blockchain and the Internet of Things will play a crucial role in trade facilitation and the flow of information, particularly in ensuring the accuracy and quality of data.
  • The logistics sector needs to change and become more digitally savvy. If ‘traditional’ companies don’t embrace technology, they are in danger of being left behind; new technology and ‘start-up’ companies will take over their business by changing the business model.
  • Port Community Systems continue to play a central role in driving forward the digitalisation agenda.

The conference was opened by IPCSA chairman Hans Rook, who said: “We might have differences in our views but we all have one goal – we want to make logistics and trade better.”

IPCSA vice-chairman Javier Gallardo introduced IPCSA’s Network of Trusted Networks, which is setting up the standards to interconnect and share information among Port Community Systems.

Other speakers included Alejandro Gamboa-Alder (WTO); Stephane Noll (IATA); Julian Abril (IMO); Pandey Pashupati (WCO); Zahouani Saadaoui (EC-DG TAXUD); Jukka Savo (EC-DG MOVE); Ziv Baida (Altares Dun & Bradstreet); James Skurray (1-Stop); Gadi Ben-Moshe (Israel Ports Company); Henrik Hvid Jensen (Maersk); Nanne Onland (Cargonaut); and Wu Yizhou (LOGINK, China).

IPCSA also announced a new MoU with LOGINK, signed during a visit to China in November.

After a packed day of presentations and discussions from the political, technical and implementation points of view, Hans Rook said: “Now is the time not to think and take a long time, but to get on your feet and make it work.”

Conference Presentations are available at “Globally Connected Logistics”

Thanks go to our Sponsors:

DAKOSY, Germany


1-Stop, Australia

PORTNET, Morocco

Altares Dun & Bradstreet, Belgium

Trebuchet, United Kigdom

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