As Global Spend on IT Rockets, so will its Disruptive Impact on Logistics

The Loadstar —Disruption to logistics from technology is only beginning – its impact will increase as more investment pours into the industry.

According to a new study produced jointly by American Global Logistics and Logistics Trends & Insights, global spend on logistics IT will rise to $87.8bn by 2022, up 17% from the outlay in 2017.

The study’s authors say at least 3% of logistics IT investment in 2017 was funnelled into disruptive technologies, like artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain, which translates into $2.23bn spent on this segment.

Assuming this 3% share will remain constant (and noting that current investment trends suggest a potentially significantly higher rate), the authors see at least $2.63bn being pumped into disruptive technologies by 2022.

Jon Slangerup, CEO of American Global Logistics, said technology had been on the backburner in the logistics industry, but the momentum had changed in the past two to three years.

The report says: “For entrepreneurs, the supply chain market has been a gold mine. In an industry with a reputation for being outdated, inefficient and paper-driven, investors are practically throwing money at companies promising to help transition the industry into the modern age.”

As the need for connectivity and data sharing challenged the traditional culture of hoarding data in silos, the need for technology increased dramatically, helped along by the Amazon effect, Mr Slangerup said.

This not only forced retailers to undergo a fundamental revamp of their business model, but also changed the expectations of consumers profoundly. The result has been a need for far greater agility and for logistics systems that enable agility, he added.

According to the report, a second sea-change in the landscape has been the influx of capital to fund technology-based ventures seeking to meet these needs or disrupt the logistics scene further. By some estimates, more than $8.4bn flowed into supply chain and logistics technology between 2012 and 2017. In 2016 venture capital firms backed 245 start-ups in the shipping and supply chain arena.

Venture capital investment in logistics technology ventures averages about $17m. Resilience 360, which is backed by DHL, received $21m from Columbia Capital this month to accelerate growth. And Mr Slangerup pointed to Flexport, which had been highly successful in attracting venture capital to fund its expansion plans.

In North America, Silicon Valley has been the incubator for venture capital investment in logistics technology, while in Asia, large banks have funnelled vast amounts of money into new technology ventures, he noted.

Cathy Morrow Roberson, founder and head analyst of Logistics Trends & Insights, said the Middle East had emerged as another hub for logistics technology funding, as are some emerging economies, like India.

“For logistics and transportation it’s the renaissance, and technology is driving it,” said Mr Slangerup, adding that this transformation of the industry would gather further momentum.

Ms Roberson says emerging technology levels the playing field for small and mid-sized logistics players; even if they do not have the wherewithal to invest in the technology themselves, they can partner with larger firms to take advantage of its benefits.

According to the study, the start-ups that garner the windfall of capital generally fall into one of five clusters: online platforms, asset management, robotics and autonomous vehicles, shipping execution and tracking, and data analytics.

While disruptive technology captures the headlines, most technology investment is in more mundane arenas such as visibility, and shipping execution solutions to drive efficiency, the study indicates. And it predicts more disruptive elements, like predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, will be embraced later in a broader way. Down the road, these different strands will converge, with profound repercussions.

Mr Slangerup said: “The next wave of supply chain innovation will focus on weaving these technologies together to make global supply chains more efficient, more resilient, more transparent and less costly. While figuring that out will take time, I think this is the most promising investment opportunity of the next two to three decades.”

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American Global Logistics CMO Tania Garcia Takes Home the Bronze for Female Transportation Executive of the Year

11.27.18—Atlanta, GA: The 15th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business honored American Global Logistics (AGL) Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Tania Garcia with the Bronze for Female Transportation Executive of the Year. Garcia oversees all aspects of marketing and communications, helping drive sustainable growth and establish AGL as a trusted advisor to customers and prospects. She joined the company in 2017 following positions with industry leaders including First Data, Iron Mountain, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and Equifax, and has worked extensively in Europe, Asia and Brazil.

“I appreciate the honor, but this recognition is really a reflection of the great team and selfless culture we have at AGL,” said Garcia. “We believe in a culture where all team members are encouraged and empowered to continuously improve their knowledge and skills as we work together to provide powerful, purpose-built solutions for our customers.”

Tania has helped establish a work culture of innovation, collaboration and mutual support among its team members. As a member of the executive leadership team, Tania focuses on establishing programs and processes that drive sustainable benefits to the company and its customers.

“I’m extremely fortunate to work with a highly talented Team driven by results and performance, and grateful that AGL understands the value of Strategic Marketing to all of its stakeholders,” said Garcia.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run–worldwide. This year’s Stevie Awards for Women in Business event, hailed as the world’s premier business awards, took place in New York City on Friday, November 16, where women executives and entrepreneurs from across the United States and several other countries gathered to be honored.

More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year for consideration in more than 90 categories, including Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Company of the Year, Startup of the Year, Women Helping Women, and Women Run Workplace of the Year. Finalists were determined by the average scores of more than 200 business professionals around the world, working on five juries.

About American Global Logistics
Founded in 2007, American Global Logistics is a specialized supply chain software and services company that provides end-to-end multi-modal transportation solutions, customs brokerage, compliance consultation, carrier allocation management, warehousing, distribution, and advanced purchase order management to select customers. Its proprietary cloud-based technology provides real-time shipment visibility and forecasting and an accountability-based customer service model allow customers to deliver a consistent experience to their end-users. AGL’s client base represents a broad range of industries including automotive, furniture, chemicals, raw materials, perishables and consumer goods, and represents some of the world’s largest importers and exporters.

Media Inquiries:
Will Haraway Backbeat Marketing
william@backbeatmarketing.com
404.593.8320

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AGL CEO: Visibility Next Year’s Goal, Adaptability and Automation Three-year Outlook

FreightWaves — Overall supply chain and logistics tech spending will rise to a whopping $87.8 billion over the next three years. That’s according to new research from Logistics Trends & Insights and American Global Logistics (AGL). The study results show that U.S. companies will spend more than $2.5 billion in disruptive logistics and supply chain technologies by 2022. The report, “Supply Chain Technology Investment Outlook,” explores the rapid growth in supply chain IT investment and which technologies are likely to take the lead in the next five years.

“It’s an interesting time,” Jon Slangerup, chairman and CEO of AGL, tells FreightWaves. “Bottom line is this is long overdue renaissance with advance technologies in this industry. I don’t view it as disruptive so much as an enabler to allow companies to approach logistics in a whole new way. It could be disruptive like with what say Walmart is doing to capture as much data as possible. The rest of the industry hasn’t had good analytics and the industry is probably a little confused about what to do and how to get there.”

“Since the last major supply chain investment cycle, technologies like artificial intelligence, connected devices, sensors, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and distributed systems are transforming the technology landscape,” says Slangerup. “The next wave of supply chain innovation will focus on weaving these technologies together to make global supply chains more efficient, more resilient, more transparent, and less costly. While figuring that out will take time, we think this is the most promising investment opportunity of the next two to three decades.”

As supply chain startups continue to develop innovative tools to serve customers, that innovation is fueled by the venture capital that continues to pour into the sector. Between 2012 and 2017, supply chain and logistics technology firms received more than $8.4 billion in investments and the average total venture capital investment was about $17 million. Many of these investments are in tools that didn’t exist during previous investment cycles. In particular, startups are focusing on applications that sit atop or alongside established enterprise software, whether it’s AI, blockchain or machine learning tools.

“U.S. logistics costs have increased at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2 percent. Projecting this same five-year CAGR, the estimated $75 billion in total logistics IT spending in 2017 increases to $87.8 billion in 2022,” said Cathy Morrow Roberson, Founder and Head Analyst, Logistics Trends & Insights. “The estimated $2.23 billion in disruptive logistics technology spending in 2017 will rise to $2.63 billion in 2022. It’s important to note, however, that technologies considered disruptive today may no longer be disruptive in 2022, which means those investments will be part of total logistics IT spending instead.”

“From my perspective I look at it from a much longer lens than a lot of others. I can’t help it. When I grew up in logistics from the 70s through the 2000s at FedEx (NYSE: FDX) it paled in comparison to what the advances have happened. FedEx was pioneering custodial end-to-end solutions in the 80s,” says Slangerup. “I was always so puzzled in 2013, 2014, 2015. I was stunned at the lack of technology and visibility. The lack of applications. Truly the ineffiency. I view it as a highly disparate of siloed entities running the supply chain, particularly in the marine space, maybe less so in the air.”

Slangerup sees all the buzz around AI and autonomous and machine learning, and all of that is real and coming, however, that’s not going to be the focus of 2019. “The focus is visibility,” he says. “Is the product really there and can you really analyze the efficiency of moving goods through the supply chain. Eventually analytics will move into predictive analytics, and move away from some of the rote kind of work and eliminate the paper and allow people to be more proactive at the various points in the supply chain. What problem am I solving today that I couldn’t solve yesterday? The folks we deal with are looking for simplicity. They’re looking for clarity. They’re looking for efficiency and saving money.”

“We’ve taken a learning process with our customers,” he says. “We sit them down and walk them through a workflow analysis. We literally map their supply chain end-to-end. Sitting down with the people who make it happen for hours and really helping them map. Once mapped where all the failure points are and how you can improve each of those points on a priority basis. When we don’t have a solution with our own proprietary software, we go out and find it for them.”

The idea is making visibility on a granular basis so everyone in the supply chain can do their job more effectively. “Ideally, the tech is going to take us to a place of predictive capabilities. Like knowing if we have a chassis shortage, we can plan for that and manage the expectations. It’s a wild world. I’m looking out at our room of operators in Virginia. This is what they do day in and day out managing all the operations of this crazy world we’re living in,” says Slangerup.

“Eventually analytics will move into predictive analytics, and move away from some of the rote kind of work and eliminate the paper and allow people to be more proactive at the various points in the supply chain.”

It’s also about creating adaptive technology suited to each customer’s needs rather than a one-size-fits all approach. Also, interestingly enough, Slangerup sees automation as creating opportunities for a more human-centric approach to customer relations.

“We serve both large and mid-size companies. The larger companies tend to use us a 4PL where they really want a common, enterprise system that optimizes the supply chain. On the 3PL side the smaller companies don’t have the resources or desire to manage the operations. Their core competency is managing their single customer or whatever,” he says.

“We have both logistics specialists that we call our operators that are dedicated to a customer. When we onboard a customer we do the mapping but they are assigned a human being, a logistics specialist or manager. They become a 24-hour, one-stop-shop, person. Over the life of that relationship it’s almost as if they’re an employee of that customer. A common theme is that these individuals are what are relied time and again. A year ago maybe two-thirds of an operator’s time was spent gathering data from origin to destination through the various stages, then populate a field of information to the customer as to the progress of their shipment. If there was a failure they spent the rest of their time reporting to them. Today, all of that is automated. All of that data capture. It’s amazing. Our operators now get to spend their time on a much higher quality basis. I call it analytics. Actually being able to think about how to help solve the customer’s problems. All of that customer experience is enhanced by automation. It allows our company to scale without adding people—from the selfish side,” says Slangerup.

“The same thing occurs externally,” he adds. “We have built purpose-built supply chain. No one’s supply chain is identical (rarely). So when we build out whatever applications they want we build it out for them—it’s their workflows, not ours. We adapt to their workflows and supply chains to theirs. It’s agile and friendly and works for everyone. The winners in the future are going to be the companies that are adaptive in nature like ours. Rather than a cookie cutter trying to make everyone adapt to their technology.”

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Supply Chain Now Radio Feature: Jon Slangerup

Supply Chain Now Radio — AGL CEO Jon Slangerup talks with Supply Chain Now Radio about disruptive technologies and how to approach them with purpose and planning.  

U.S. Companies to Spend More Than $2.5B in Disruptive Logistics and Supply Chain Technology By 2022

11.15.18—Atlanta, GA: New research from Logistics Trends & Insights and American Global Logistics (AGL) projects that U.S. companies will spend more than $2.5 billion in disruptive logistics and supply chain technologies by 2022. Overall supply chain and logistics technology spending will rise to $87.8 billion. The report, “Supply Chain Technology Investment Outlook” (download here) explores the rapid growth in supply chain IT investment and which technologies are likely to take the lead in the next five years.

“Since the last major supply chain investment cycle, technologies like artificial intelligence, connected devices, sensors, cloud computing, cybersecurity and distributed systems are transforming the technology landscape,” said Jon Slangerup, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AGL. “The next wave of supply chain innovation will focus on weaving these
technologies together to make global supply chains more efficient, more resilient, more transparent, and less costly. While figuring that out will take time, we think this is the most promising investment opportunity of the next two to three decades.”

Slangerup recently spoke on this subject at the Logistics Technology Conference in Las Vegas on Oct. 29-30.

As supply chain startups continue to develop innovative tools to serve customers, that innovation is fueled by the venture capital that continues to pour into the sector. Between 2012 and 2017, supply chain and logistics technology firms received more than $8.4 billion in investments and the average total venture capital investment was about $17 million.
Many of these investments are in tools that didn’t exist during previous investment cycles. In particular, startups are focusing on applications that sit atop or alongside established enterprise software, whether it’s AI, blockchain or machine learning tools.

“U.S. logistics costs have increased at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2 percent. Projecting this same five-year CAGR, the estimated $75 billion in total logistics IT spending in 2017 increases to $87.8 billion in 2022,” said Cathy Morrow Roberson, Founder and Head Analyst, Logistics Trends & Insights. “The estimated $2.23 billion in disruptive logistics technology spending in 2017 will rise to $2.63 billion in 2022. It’s important to note, however, that technologies considered disruptive today may no longer be disruptive in 2022, which means those investments will be part of total logistics IT spending instead.”

Download the full “Supply Chain Technology Investment Outlook” at https://americangloballogistics.com/landing/supply-chain-technology-outlook/. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Logistics Trends & Insights LLC aims to cut through the content noise and provide customized logistics research and consulting services utilizing a global network of trusted and experienced analysts.

Media Inquiries:
Will Haraway Backbeat Marketing
william@backbeatmarketing.com
404.593.8320

Download the Press Release (PDF)

Shipper Benefit from Logistics Start-Up Funding Boom Murky

JOC.com—The amount of venture capital (VC) investment entering the freight logistics market is eyepopping, but it’s still unclear to what extent trumpeted software innovation is trickling down to shippers’ containerized supply chains.

According to research earlier in 2018 from the strategic consultants Simon-Kucher, more than $2 billion has been invested in logistic technology startups globally, with hundreds of millions more added to that total in recent months. The exact figure can be tricky to calculate, since logistics funding tends to include everything from freight-oriented entities to those involved in warehousing, last-mile/last-touch, and even areas such as food delivery apps.

Without context, this money can look like foolhardy bets on fledgling, non-asset-based companies with little revenue and no reputation in a highly fragmented industry. But it’s important to understand that VC groups have a roadmap in mind when investing in logistics technologies. And the companies that take on VC similarly understand the model they are using, one that allows them to grow quickly in personnel, geographic reach, and engineering scope, but one that also compels them to sell a stake in their own potential success.

VC and logistics providers — the overriding questions

The broader questions when it comes to the compatibility between the VC and logistics worlds are: will the investments ultimately benefit the end users, and specifically shippers; is VC funding of startups penalizing wellrun companies that are not VC-backed; and whether principals at VC funds understand the logistics industry well enough to be placing multimillion-dollar bets in the market.

Matt Tillman, CEO of the logistics software startup Haven, quantified the impact of VC on his customers at the JOC Logistics Technology Conference in late October in Las Vegas. Tillman said he is able to turn $100,000 in subscription revenue from a shipper into $1.5 million in value for that shipper. That’s because a start-up software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider is valued by VC groups at roughly 15 times its revenue, so that $100,000 invested in Haven turns into $1.5 million in potential investment in the company by its investors, money that is reinvested in serving the customer since the early phase of startups is built on rapid growth of topline revenue.

There are varying viewpoints of whether this approach benefits the industry. Many in the logistics industry believe the amount of VC flowing into the market is unhealthy, creating a looming bubble in which VC groups will disappear if the economy turns or take their money to the next hot space if it doesn’t. Others believe that even if VC money is creating unrealistic expectations around what software can actually do to make logistics more efficient, the cumulative effect of money flowing into the industry will have a net positive effect.

“Before we make an investment, we’ll sit down and whiteboard how we can meaningfully help the company — that’s where we’ll say, this could be an interesting match,” Santosh Sankar, director of Chattanooga-based Dynamo Venture Capital, a VC focused purely on supply chain technology, said at the Las Vegas event. “If you sit in the seat of a shipper, we’ve seen the rise and fall of large businesses, household names, so now everybody is more proactive. There’s a culture of solving problems using solutions that might be startup-generated. It doesn’t matter who they’re backed by.”

Sankar, whose $18 million fund backs early-stage supply chain software companies, also said that potential buyers of solutions should not necessarily be awed by a multimillion-dollar investment in a software company. “Just because you see a splashy fundraise doesn’t mean that’s a successful business,” he said. “It’s just one step and milestone in the broader journey. Anyone could be an investor, but what actually matters is helping the founders build a business and harvest the return on the backend.”

Software startups can often get lost in the buzz around an idea and fail to understand why shippers might choose other products in their market, said Julian Counihan, founding partner of Schematic Ventures, a New York-based supply chain-focused VC. “To be able to break that down and the variables your customers care about — that’s something a lot of startups can improve on,” he said during a panel on how VC firms look at the industry at the Logistics Technology Conference. “Just knowing what the format of VC is, knowing the VC is going to look to take 15 percent of the value of your company. Understanding what the investment round is.”

Does it matter if the VC firm understands its client’s business?

One question voiced among logistics veterans regarding liquidity coming into the industry is the extent to which VC groups (particularly those that are not supply chain-focused) are arming themselves with enough knowledge to make educated bets on certain startups. In other words, are investors enamored by ideas, individual founders, or broader market potential? And does it matter if they don’t truly understand the logistics industry before investing in it?  “The average investor is very talented,” Counihan said. “If they don’t have domain expertise, they know how to find it and hire it. To those folks in the industry, when you see outside faces and they don’t know the vernacular of supply chain, it can look like they’re shooting from the hip. But they’re good at their jobs, and perhaps they don’t need to be close to the industry to make good investments.”

Sankar agreed, saying there are pros and cons to running a dedicated fund for a certain sector. He said the bigger, multi-vertical funds can apply basic principles in horizontal industries to investing. “They’ll find someone who has worked in the industry,” he said. The flipside, though, is that Counihan said some newer investors find supply chain “boring.”

“We’re excited about it, and that has worked out well for us. If you’re new to the industry and someone is describing their TMS [transportation management system], or whatever layer in the supply chain stack, you kind of have to love the industry to want to dig in.” There’s also the issue of whether VC funding is artificially pumping up the value of certain startups, to the detriment of companies (profitable or not) that haven’t attracted such funding. The bulk of those companies in which VC is uninterested are established or legacy software companies or service providers, companies that are no longer in a rapid growth stage.

“The level of innovation that’s occurring is mind-boggling and while it comes with a lot of confusion in the marketplace, it also comes with a phenomenal amount of opportunity,” Jon Slangerup, chairman and CEO, American Global Logistics and former executive with FedEx, said at the Logistics Technology Conference. “As Flexport (a digital freight forwarder that has landed $300 million in VC and strategic investment) and all these other companies emerge, we have challenged ourselves internally to say ‘do we have the best platform?’ Is it what our customers need to scale and grow? The answer was no. We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in the past year-and-a-half to make sure the platform could handle bolt-on technologies. We will be able to offer a robust array, that’s what our customers count on. If we don’t, we lose the race, and we’re no longer relevant. There are many companies like mine that are struggling with the same issues. The bigger they are, the bigger the struggle, because those legacy platforms are hard to change.”

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Managing Traffic Congestion Around Atlanta’s ‘Gateway to the World’

Supply Chain Dive — For 20 years and counting, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) has worn the badge of honor of busiest airport in the world. About 275,000 passengers traverse the airport each day, and nearly 650,000 metric tons of cargo and mail passed through the facility in 2016.

“It is a major gateway to the world — one can reach pretty much any destination within one or two flights from Hartsfield-Jackson International,” Jon Slangerup, Chairman and CEO of American Global Logistics, told Supply Chain Dive.

With the airport’s sprawling network of flights and connections, it’s no surprise major companies such as Coca-Cola, Home Depot and UPS have set up shop nearby in the city of Atlanta, offering them close proximity to the airport to receive supplies and ship their goods.

With growth comes growing pains, and one of the biggest issues plaguing the city’s streets is traffic congestion — but the city has a plan.

“Technology can be a great enabler of easing congestion in high volume areas,” Slangerup said. Through satellites, sensors and automation, the greater Atlanta area is implementing technology solutions to ensure people and goods flow freely — both in the air and on the ground.

Technology to manage hundreds of flights per hour
Despite thousands of flights arriving and departing every day at Atlanta’s international airport, air traffic suffers from very little congestion. In fact, in addition to being the busiest airport in the world, ATL has also been ranked the most efficient airport in the world since the early 2000s.

“Air Traffic Control is a very well-planned, highly-structured system,” a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told Supply Chain Dive.

Atlanta’s international airport has five parallel runways, allowing several flights to take off and land simultaneously. In good weather conditions, as many as 132 flights can land each hour, the FAA said, with that figure dropping to 98 flights per hour in low visibility conditions.

The efficiency has been the result of numerous sophisticated technologies used to manage air traffic.

“Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) is an important tool that air traffic controllers use very effectively to manage traffic at ATL,” the FAA spokesperson said. The tool monitors planes’ locations in the air and determines the most efficient schedule to get the aircraft to its destination.

In addition, the FAA has deployed satellite and automation technology at ATL for greater accuracy and more efficient routing, through tools such as Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM).

“In the past, pilots flew over one ground-based radio transmitter and then flew over the next one in a zigzag pattern,” the FAA said. “PBN enables aircraft to fly much more directly from departure to destination by using satellite signals.”

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Tech Holds Promise for Logistics, but Patience Required

JOC.com—Unquestionably, a wave of technology innovation is rolling across the transportation and logistics space, forcing literally every firm to take a hard look not just at technology but where the impact leaves it competitively. And, ultimately, that is what all this change amounts to: who will be best positioned to profitably offer the services customers demand and who alternatively will be rendered obsolete and fade away.

It’s an exciting but risky time. Because tech innovation isn’t native to incumbent players, the risks of a wrong decision are inherently greater and are compounded by the accelerating pace of development and the increasing presence of tech-native players asserting themselves in many segments of the market.

“I am very excited about the pace of technology development in our industry. It’s a renaissance, an opportunity to develop something we haven’t had in our space before,” Jon Slangerup, CEO of American Global Logistics, told the inaugural JOC Logistics Technology Conference in Las Vegas in late October. “The level of innovation that is occurring is mind boggling. It comes with confusion, but it comes with incredible promise in the marketplace.”

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Tech Innovation to Transform Logistics: Just Not Yet

JOC.com— Unquestionably, a wave of technology innovation is rolling across the transportation and logistics space, forcing literally every firm to take a hard look not just at technology but where the impact leaves them competitively. And, ultimately, that is what all this change amounts to: who will be best positioned to profitably offer the services customers demand, and who alternatively will be rendered obsolete and fade away.

It’s an exciting but risky time. Because tech innovation isn’t native to incumbent players, the risks of a wrong decision are inherently greater and are compounded by the accelerating pace of development and the increasing presence of tech-native players asserting themselves in many segments of the market. “I am very excited about the pace of technology development in our industry. It’s a renaissance, an opportunity to develop something we haven’t had in our space before,” Jon Slangerup, CEO of American Global Logistics, told the inaugural JOC Logistics Technology Conference (https://events.joc.com/joc-logistics-technology) in Las Vegas in late October. “The level of innovation that is occurring is mind boggling. It comes with confusion, but it comes with incredible promise in the marketplace.”

Tech conference — separating hype from reality

The goal the industry set for itself in Las Vegas was to attempt to separate hype from reality in logistics technology, an area swelling with startups flush with venture capital cash but where the actual impact is, even today, more difficult to see.

The discussions around blockchain were a case in point. A technology that a year ago was touted as the solution to all inefficiency is moving forward at what can only be described as a snail’s pace. As Randy Lawson, senior technology analyst for JOC parent company IHS Markit, told the conference, blockchain is making headway in a number of areas including remittances and over-the-counter trading, and it is, of course, the foundation of bitcoin trading.

But it’s encountering headwinds in this market. “We do need to get the other carriers on the platform. Without that network, we don’t have a product,” the IBM lead for TradeLens, the IBM-Maersk joint venture bringing blockchain to shipping documentation and visibility, told CoinDesk earlier in October. Whether other carriers (https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/container-lines) will share data with a competitor without a stake in the business, however, is unclear, given the historically high level of distrust among container carriers.

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Gateway Georgia

The Loadstar—The combination of its geographical location, a growing economy drawing in new talent and businesses, a well-developed logistics infrastructure, the presence of a host of logistics providers of all sizes and a burgeoning culture of innovation, backed by a state government with a coherent strategic plan, makes Georgia a powerful contender to attract flows of cargo well beyond its state borders.

In August, Georgia governor Nathan Deal and other state officials were present at the opening of the Appalachian Regional Port, an intermodal facility equipped to handle 100,000 containers a year.

It is linked by rail giant CSX to the port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal, 388 miles away and, according to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) which built the facility, the link will remove an estimated 50,000 trucks from local highways every year.

It also strengthens the port’s reach to customers in northern Georgia as well as Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, and it is intended to draw business and industry to the south-east. “It enables the port to reach further into the heartland,” says Craig Camuso, regional vice-president, state government affairs at CSX. “It feeds freight into the port and expands its Mid-America arc,” he added, referring to the port’s ambition to be a gateway for a radius as far as the Mississippi.

“The port of Savannah is poised to capture new rail cargo across the state, the south-east and well into the American Midwest,” adds GPA executive director Griff Lynch. Atlanta-based American Global Logistics has pursued a similar trajectory since its inception in 2007,  expanding its footprint beyond the state border. “Our business has grown from regional to truly international operations,” says chairman and CEO Jon Slangerup, previously CEO of the port of Long Beach.

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