Jan 26, 2021 14:02 PM

Digitization, which became the focus of the conversation on January F21 with the publication of a new report from the World Bank and the International Association of Ports and Ports (IAPH), will be critical for ports to successfully recover from the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for the next crisis to come.

A tale of two halves                                                    

The report, titled “Accelerating Digitization: Key Actions to Strengthen Maritime Supply Chain Resilience,” highlighted how we are entering an era of a two-tier system of digitized and non-digitized ports.

COVID-19 appears to have exacerbated the problem, as those less digitized and still dependent on paper exchanges feel the interruption of the pandemic on a larger scale.

The report seeks to kick off the digitization agenda within nations that may be at risk of being left behind.

Meanwhile, in the US, where ports, by and large, have already sought to digitize operations, there have been calls for greater port connectivity and digitization of the supply chain to spur recovery from the COVID pandemic. -19.

In the annual State of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, the port's chief executive, said that he would continue to focus on supply chain efficiency and optimization in 2021. He also asked other major gateways to do the same.

Global supply chains

Supply chains have never been the subject of such scrutiny, but neither have they been so indispensable to the health and well-being of citizens around the world.

But speaking at the global trade review, a commentator said this week that globalization had failed the COVID-19 "stress test."

The World Economic Forum held its report on the Global Risks Report for 2021 on January 19 in which it noted that the risk posed by infectious diseases now ranks at number one, while in 2020 it ranked 10th.

Speaking of the outlook for world trade, Guillaume Barthe-Dejean, director of the office of the president of SK Holdings, suggested that it would not return to the hyperglobalized trading system of pre-pandemic times.

Instead, trends toward nationalism and isolationism were accelerated by COVID-19 and it was clear that the response to the pandemic was not global.

Meanwhile, in a more localized setting, Peel Ports in the UK said the pandemic had not deterred it from its investment plans and claimed it had been able to take advantage of changes in the supply chain and supports the free flow of goods.

The port operator said UK trade has relied too heavily on southern ports, leading to pinch points at the entry of goods into the country. The combined pressures of COVID and Brexit have led to such ports experiencing long delays and restrictions on the movement of goods as a result.

Speaking of Brexit….

While the UK has officially left the European Union (EU), the supply chain is still figuring out exactly how the new system for transporting goods between the EU and the UK works.

One adjustment that we will surely see more of in the coming months is the decision of many to skip the so-called UK land bridge, the route that, before Brexit, connected the Republic of Ireland to the rest of the EU via the UK. continental. Network of roads and ports.

The port of Dunkerque in northern France, for example, has a new Irish Ro-Ro service with DFDS Ferry that will allow freight and unaccompanied trucks to travel between Rosslare and Dunkerque.

Next up is a new Irish containerized service between Dunkirk, Cork and Dublin that launched in October 2020.

This is just one example, but it's a trend the industry is likely to see.

Stena Line, which switches Ro-Ro traffic between the UK and Ireland, is committing its newest ship, the Stena Embla, to Rosslare-Cherbourg service.

Originally scheduled for service on the Belfast-Liverpool route, due to the current Brexit-related change for direct routes and increasing customer demand, Stena Line has decided to temporarily deploy the Stena Embla in Rosslare-Cherbourg.

Source: Port Technology via DGCI

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