Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DHL helps track ocean freight shipments

Steve Rogerson
June 20, 2017

Deutsche Post’s DHL Group has launched an online platform that lets shippers track their ocean freight shipments and therefore improve their end-to-end supply chain planning.
Called Ocean View, it consolidates information from DHL's transportation management system, the ocean carrier and the vessel itself for real-time visibility of the ocean transport. It also provides a forecast on future milestones as well as a notification feature in case of route changes or delays. Also, it does not need any devices to be installed on the container, which makes it simple to implement.
"A survey recently conducted by our global forwarding team confirmed again that low visibility and transparency were major issues for customers using door-to-door ocean transport," said Andreas Boedeker, global head of ocean freight at DHL. “With Ocean View, we created a user-friendly application increasing visibility and thereby improving the control of the overall supply chain for our customers.”
Ocean View provides end-to-end near real-time shipment status including hourly updates on the shipment's location at sea. Its user interface gives an icon-based overview of all shipments and milestones with the option of viewing detailed shipment milestones during transit and activating a preference based alert function.
Additionally, the tool can forecast the freights' journey enabling proactive scheduling. This way, changes in arrival times become visible beforehand, which supports the overall planning of end-to-end supply chains and ultimately reduces costs.
A web based application, it avoids any need for local software installation or intensive staff trainings. No additional tracking device needs to be installed on the container. However, if necessary Ocean View can be combined with DHL Ocean Secure, where security devices are fitted to containers that can monitor temperature, humidity, shock or lighting as required.
DHL has entered a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a start-up ecosystem and venture fund specialising in the development of early-to-growth stage technology start-ups.
The partnership will see DHL join Startup Autobahn, a mobility-centric programme led by founding partners Plug and Play, Daimler, University of Stuttgart and Arena 2036 in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Plug and Play supply chain and logistics vertical, led by Maersk, Panasonic, BASF, Union Pacific Railroad and Ericsson in Silicon Valley, USA.
It will engage with a select group of start-ups that join the Plug and Play accelerator programme, providing executive mentoring, technical expertise and potentially piloting start-ups' services within its own operations to foster their development.
"DHL has a strong track record of working with innovative young businesses and incorporating ground-breaking new technologies into our operations," said Thomas Ogilvie, executive vice president at DHL. "As we look to maintain our global leadership position, we are continuously looking at ways in which we can explore new technology driven logistics business models, and we also recognise the great potential that digitalisation has to drive productivity and service improvements. Plug and Play has proven highly effective in bringing industry leaders together with high potential technology start-ups, and we are therefore very excited about the opportunity to work with them and their global network of young, innovative disruptors.”