Carriers, Canals and Computers: Innovation in Freight Comes to Amsterdam
A little bit about Amsterdam
Spending too much time talking about ships, trucks, trains and planes? Did you know that in Amsterdam, 58% of the population bikes every single day?! Transportation isn’t the only thing working for the Dutch capital. Boasting over 200 Van Gogh pictures, 2,500 houseboats and 22 pictures by Rembrandt, visitors to the city won’t be bored. And then there are the canals, which just celebrated their 400th birthday.
Canals in Amsterdam (Photo from JoanMaximo on Flickr)
E-Freight and Resistance to Innovation
We’ll get back to Amsterdam in a second…but let’s take a look at your freight business for a second. How many pieces of paper do you generate a day? According to this AirCargoNews
article, traditional air cargo documentation requires 30 pieces of paper for every single shipment
. Which is equal to some 7,800 tons of paper created every year or 80 B747 freighter-loads of paper. And that’s just air!
Schiphol, the major Amsterdam airport, rolled out an IATA initiative called e-Freight
, in order to replace paper with digital versions of the same documents. This was so successful that the IATA awarded Schiphol with a certificate of excellence for the program’s implementation. IATA aims to roll e-Freight out to 80% of all world trade lanes by the end of 2015
. Successful implementation achieves far more than just greener performance (which Amsterdam already aced with widespread bicycle usage and green urban transport on the canals). Freighters now only have to enter information once, saving valuable time and preventing inaccuracies down the line.
While it took over two yearsto implement fully, the e-Freight program was wildly successful. But most telling was one of the project’s key findings – that innovation in logistics is difficult. The momentum required to implement IT programs in logistics is imposing…but once they succeed, IT innovation can provide competitive advantages that you won’t find anywhere else. Computers have changed the way nearly every industry does business; it’s time for freight to get on the train. Amsterdam’s 165 canals weren’t dug in a day but they are now widely regarded as one of the most successful urban planning projects ever.
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And why are we so into Amsterdam today? Our CEO and our Director of Enterprise Accounts in EMEA are both out in Amsterdam at eyefortransport’s 3PL EU Summit. If you’re around, stop by booth #2 to hear about the future of freight. And what do you know – it’s right across the street from Schiphol Airport. Isn’t it nice when stories tie up nicely?
Schiphol Airport Hotel
Freightos CEO, Zvi Schreiber, at the 3PL EU Summit in Amsterdam