Nov 21 2022

C4L Conference: Digital transformation needs forerunners and public support

Complex supply chains and disruptions are gaining increased attention in times of crisis. In order to enhance the efficiency and resilience of the sector, a digital transformation is necessary. The digitalization of the processes goes hand in hand with the digitization of documents. The Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg (C4L) in cooperation with Deloitte Luxembourg organized on November 16th 2022 the conference “Digital Freight Papers and Transformation of Supply Chains: Quo vadis?”.

Christophe De Sutter, Deloitte Luxembourg, Leader Consumer & Energy and Resources, welcomed the guests in the Deloitte headquarters at the Cloche d’Or. In order to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, the transport sector will require a transformation, says De Sutter. It will be a challenge but also an opportunity. The customer experience will be different, with better data management. Digital transformation will enhance efficiency as well as the speed and the way goods will be delivered. As a Tax Partner, De Sutter mentioned that there is now a political readiness to incentivize digitalization. In the future, a Tax credit could be possible for companies that invest in digitalization.

Carlo Thelen, President of the Cluster for Logistics, gave an update of the economic situation in Luxembourg. The economic barometer is showing a new drop in business confidence and while it is still higher than during the pandemic, the companies saw an increase in confidence after the vaccine. However, with the actual crisis, there is no outlook on what will happen in the future. More companies see a decrease in profitability. The C4L therefore calls for public support for investments into the energy transition. The price of Diesel doubled between last year and now and the sector is seeking to achieve more energy and resource efficiency. Regarding financial support, the alternative energy network for logistics is in competition with the electromobility network of the public transport. And the public electric network is in the lead.

Malik Zeniti, Director at Cluster for Logistics, is glad to see a heightened interest in Digitalization projects. The Digital Transformation in Transport and Logistics Survey held in June 2022 showed that 91 % of the 39 responding companies actively drive projects, while half of the companies have already implemented specific digitalization projects. Enhancing Track & Tracing and transport planification are the first priorities for most companies. The process of collecting data to evaluate and predict certain operational processes and sharing data is still not very high on the agenda of the industry. The survey also showed that lack of time and lack of expertise are seen as the main barriers for digital transformation.

Luxembourg is a forerunner on digital documents when it comes to electronic CMR. It is accepted since 2018, but the industry is only scarcely using it yet in specific partnership projects. Rudy Hemeleers, Co-leader of the EU -eFTI Architecture of the Digital Transport & Logistics Forum, gave an overview of the upcoming regulation requirements for European governments and logistics companies. The EU 2020/1056 eFTI (electronic freight transport information) regulation foresees that on 21st August 2025, every European Market surveillance authority will have to accept eFTI data like eCMR . In 2029, economic operators will be obligated to use eFTI documents which will need to be interoperable with other e-enforcement systems.

Early adopters are looking to reduce paperwork and enhance efficiency

Some forerunners in Europe are now implementing specific digital documents. In Germany, the organization GS1, has just started a project for a Digital Delivery Note in a cloud-based environment. Oliver Püthe, Lead Industrial Engagement, and Stefanie Müller, Junior manager Logistik & Supply chain management, GS1 Germany, presented the project that includes large manufacturers, retailers and logistics service providers. As almost all deliveries to retail companies in Germany are accompanied by a paper delivery note, there are 20 million documents per year just in the food retail sector. The efficiency of this platform, which works via QR codes on standard mobile phones, is much higher. Every step is documented right away, and the system can easily include pictures of damaged goods. The classic paper documents require extensive manual handling, consume a lot of paper (with duplicates), and take a long time to return to sender.

A similar practical case was presented by the Italian firm Gulliver that recently started its operation Luxembourg. The new C4L-members, Stefano Capoferri, Head of Sales and Danilo D’Aversa, General Manager, presented its software for the digitalization and optimization of the logistics and transport activities, G-Transport. The company is market leader in Italy and has many large logistics companies in its portfolio already to enhance to enhance transport efficiency. Their app is a managing solution for FTL, LTL, parcel, groupage, express, intermodal which helps the driver in accomplishing services and digitize documents. The solution also offers Yard management and HR management. An AI project can even help optimize routes and forecast demand.

Mathieu Weber, VP Digital Sales & Marketing at Cargolux Airlines, gave an update on the advancement in E-freight of the cargo airline, more specifically the electronic airway bill (eAWB). Similar to the aforementioned projects, the digitalization of documents is backed up by a g handheld device. The system eliminates a lot of paperwork and offers real-time visibility. In September 2022, 85% of all Cargolux shipments flew with e-AWB and the company is aiming to reach 100%. Only the destinations which are not yet up to handle electronic documents still require paper copies. The electronic documents are not only useful for logistics. Also in sales, the electronic channel helps to save a lot of time and the customers are increasingly accepting the new electronic API portal.

Deloitte Luxembourg presented its view on sustainability in transport and logistics. Sylvain Santrisse, Director, and Dany Demarcy, Senior manager, at Deloitte, presented statistics on enhancing efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint. They noted that the logistics sector is the backbone that connects everything together and Deloitte is increasingly interested in supporting the industry and transport sector in Luxembourg. After all, one truck out of three is transporting food, says Sylvain Santrisse.

Regulatory pressures are pushing the logistics sector to innovate but the sector needs support from the government as well. Alexander Kainer, Partner at Deloitte Consulting in Austria, responsible for Strategy, Analytics und M&A presented his view on energy strategy in Europe and sees opportunities in electric trucks for short range and Hydrogen for long haul. According to a Deloitte study on Hydrogen mobility, the transformation will necessitate public support for companies for the additional costs for the vehicles and the necessary infrastructure.

The afternoon was enhanced by a networking session with companies. The Cluster for Logistics thanks Deloitte for the second C4L event in their premises and the sponsorship of the event.

Download the presentations of the evening below

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