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Technology-based optimisations to make global trade green

The world is buzzing with conversation on how to rebuild global trade as part of the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. This recovery is, however, moving in the wrong direction.

There is currently a substantial incentive for shippers to sail as fast as possible for as long as possible, which has hugely increased shipping’s emissions – which rose by 4.9% in 2021 alone. Any recovery that we pursue must be based on motives related to both profit and planet and bear in mind the other key challenge on the horizon for the sectors that comprise global trade: decarbonisation. The industry’s path to recovery must find ways to make the supply chain, transportation, and logistics sectors greener and aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The next twelve months will be pivotal in the greening of global trade for another important reason: the mounting pressure for tangible action from regulators, customers, and stakeholders from outside of the industry. We can see this in our daily lives. Every time someone chooses a more sustainable product in the shop, they are indirectly putting pressure on the manufacturer, who then puts pressure on their supply chains.

The global trade industry cannot afford losing focus and the momentum that has already been gained towards less carbon-intensive goods, services, and sustainable technologies as it looks to recover from the pandemic. Although for industries as complex as global trade there are few silver bullet solutions, the requirement to act is clear and we must understand the steps we can take today that can deliver immediate results.

Digital technologies to deliver immediate optimisation

This is where data-driven technologies come into play as a solution, as they can begin to unlock efficiencies today. In shipping and wider global trade, the right digital applications can leverage data to truly enhance vessel performance, increase earnings, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Data can be turned into a true commercial differentiator and driver for the sector. Unlike other cost or fuel efficiency solutions, there is little-to-no capex barrier or vessel downtime for the implementation of digital solutions. Without a requirement for hardware installation and at a low ongoing cost point, advanced digital solutions can also pay themselves back extraordinarily quickly.

This cost saving can be used in many ways, including being injected back into a business or freeing up room to invest in R&D and other efficiency solutions. This circular effect ensures that impact is driven ‘closer to home’ and that global trade takes responsibility for its own greening, effectively laying the foundations for further progress in its decarbonisation pathway.

Connecting the dots across global trade

All stakeholders involved in global trade must understand that technology-powered optimisation actions can both power up commercial decision-making and improve competitiveness and transparency to counterparties. To be able to profitably decarbonise, it is critical that we raise the urgency of technology-based decision-making across the board within shipping, supply chain and logistics.

However, decarbonisation cannot happen in isolation, and more effort must be placed on connecting the value chain that underpins global trade more holistically. This means breaking down silos and ensuring that everyone can find a use for data.

This process will be powered and accelerated through the data network effect or data flywheel, which is the positive feedback loop created when advanced software solutions interpret data. As shipping utilises and interprets more of its data, more robust insights will be generated and smarter products will be created, attracting more users with more data, and boosting the data network effect further.

Combining voyage, vessel, and bunker optimisation into one platform helps shipping companies to connect the dots across all operations touch points. It also allows shippers to use data in a new way and changes the question that operators are asking themselves from how to optimise to what data to use to optimise.

What this means for shipping is an unmatched opportunity to truly optimise its operations, increase the assurance in the recommendations made by technology, and achieve more connected workflows across the supply chain, transport, and logistics sectors - and unlock all the benefits associated with this.

ZeroNorth and a powerful trio of optimisations

ZeroNorth was founded to lead the green transition of global trade. Our platform currently provides the sector with a single destination for voyage, vessel, and bunker optimisation, directly supporting the decarbonisation transition within the marine value chain. By connecting the dots across bunker, voyage, and vessel, and maximising the benefits of the data flywheel, we enable shipping to kick start the decarbonisation journey.

ZeroNorth has geared up to enable the key players in the sector to take effective and immediate action to address the industry’s requirement to act now. Importantly, optimising voyages, vessels, and bunkers will not only be important to cut emissions and improve revenue today, but will also enable the global trade sector to navigate the imminent complexity of the coming decade.