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Digitization and the Port of Antwerp
At the invitation of Nextport, Walter Van Mechelen, Senior Director of Gosselin Logistics, recently spoke to a group of enthusiastic young potentials in Mumbai. All of the attendees had ties to the Port of Antwerp, and all wanted to know how an international port prepares for the challenges of the future. It ended up becoming a two-day discussion on the increasing digitization in logistics and how the port is embracing this movement.
“Antwerp is the number one port in Europe for India,” Walter begins. “Traffic through the port grew to over six million tons in the last few years. The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing in the world.” During a presentation there, he revealed how the Port of Antwerp is preparing for the future.
“The logistics sector has been experiencing a computerization revolution in recent years. The major online players such as Amazon, Alibaba and Google have started getting interested in logistics. In 2016, Amazon announced it would be investing in its own airplanes, and started using its own freight shipping service. What once began as an online bookstore has grown to become a global player in logistics.”
“We naturally aren’t eager to just hand over everything involving data at the port to these new players,” Walter continues. “The creation of Nextport, the Port of Antwerp’s data-sharing platform, is an important step in the right direction. A well-constructed data-sharing platform can represent a huge added value for the port businesses.”
Being smart about data
“Large shipping companies such as Maersk now offer ocean freight via the internet, and the pricing is transparent. The logistics sector is feeling the consequences. At Gosselin Logistics, we are also seeing how the role of the classic forwarding company is changing every day. This is also why we are using a new sales model for large customers which allows us to deliver new types of added value via innovative software applications, such as being able to offer a detailed supply chain including visibility and trace & trace tools, PO and risk management.”
“The message was well-received,” Walter says. “India is a country that wants to play a leading role in the digital world. We talked about the theme for a long time after the presentation, and it even dominated the discussions in the next few days. Being smart about data offers incredible opportunities, both for the Port of Antwerp and all of its customers.”
Collaboration via physical and digital platforms
In cooperation with Ahlers, Gosselin Logistics offers a weekly freight consolidation service from India to the Port of Antwerp. This service usually involves shipments of fashion and textile products. From the Gosselin terminal in Deurne, they are then distributed to every conceivable destination in Europe.
Thanks to our new logistics software, Gosselin Logistics ensures full visibility in the supply chain and we are also taking our first steps in India as a digital freight forwarding company.
(pictured left corner: Walter Van Mechelen of Gosselin, Rick Spruyt of Crosstrades and Luc Arnouts of Havenbedrijf)