Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Amazon and Alibaba shaking up ecommerce, says ParcelHero chief

Steve Rogerson
March 6, 2019

Amazon and Alibaba are creating the biggest revolution in shipping for 60 years, according to ParcelHero’s David Jinks speaking at last week’s Digital Ship CIO Conference in London.
He said global ecommerce was leading the biggest shake up in international shipping since containerisation. Shipping lines will be forced to either integrate with Amazon and Alibaba or be submerged by the digital revolution.
“A change in global supply chains even greater than the introduction of containers in the 1950s is underway, and shipping lines that don’t adapt to the new ecommerce revolution will go under in the same way as the many long-established companies that failed to adapt to containerisation,” he said. “The prime need for Amazon to entirely integrate its supply chain means it has already revolutionised its land and air operations – it now delivers 80% of its own parcels in the UK and flies over 40 Boeing 767 Amazon Air jet freighters. It now has the crucial supply chain from China to the west firmly in its sights. At the same time, the Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, whose volumes make Amazon look like a minnow, is fast integrating its own deliveries to the USA and Europe.”
He warned that as freight forwarders and shipping agents became obsolete under the new digitised retail supply chains, shippers must either integrate with Fulfilment by Amazon and Alibaba’s One Touch booking programme, or be overwhelmed by the tsunami that was sweeping over the shipping industry.
Shipping lines, he said, must either adapt to survive - as Maersk is attempting by integrating with Alibaba and introducing its Captain Peter app to track container loads – or face the prospect of Amazon launching its own rival fleet; it already has its own freight forwarding service.
He added: “When the first container ship sailed in 1956, a longshore union boss said: ‘I’d like to sink that son of a bitch.’ He recognised the sea change that would follow. We can now see that this digital revolution will result in internet of things (IoT) connected machines placing orders automatically with Chinese manufacturers, and integrating with autonomous ships like the soon-to-be-launched Yara Birkeland. It’s sad but true that those shipping lines, freight forwarders and agents who still favour personal contact and the phone will be left all at sea as the pace of integration increases.”
ParcelHero is a UK-based international delivery company.