The word «collaborate» comes from the Latin collaborare and means «to work together on a project». The involvement of two or more parties in achieving a goal, generates the boost and the necessary strength to take bigger and safer steps, as it is well said that «unity is strength».
We had the opportunity to talk to Roberto Fernandez, our Commercial Director at Navlandis, precisely about his opinion on collaborations in the transport sector. All this due to a collaboration agreement signed between the ports of Valencia and Seville.
We started the conversation by talking about his opinion of the collaboration between these two ports.
Starting from the fact that all collaborations are good and favorable, in this case talking about ports, it is especially important because they are organizations that have a lot of influence, in their environment in the cities and all their surroundings. Both positive and negative.
When they come together and develop systems to integrate and get things flowing faster, that results in benefits for citizens and their environment.
Regarding collaboration in the sector
As for the level of collaboration that exists in the sector, he opines that one sees a lot of news and feels the concern with common issues but in reality what he has observed is more of a competition than a collaboration.
«It is easy to notice the strong competition that exists between ports for example with respect to who «steals» the competitor’s traffic. It would seem that collaboration is important but the bottom line really is competition. Similarly with rail transport, there are several collaborators operationally but in reality they are still competing to load more and more freight.»
Roberto refers to «an ambiguous reality» because it is necessary to collaborate in order to continue competing. It is necessary to find more efficient ways of doing everything, to integrate processes, procedures and exchanges, but in reality what results is the need to collaborate in order to be more competitive individually and take better advantage of the situation.
What about private companies
As for private companies like Navlandis, it is necessary to make collaborations to achieve regulations for example, certain things that benefit everyone but in the end from these benefits, you have to be more competitive in finding customers.
«A company alone cannot achieve certain things, for example, talking to ISO or establishing a standard for measurements and nomenclatures. There you have to collaborate to then be competitive.»
Our Commercial Director points to the idea of an interesting collaboration. Ports as great allies to contribute to the dissemination and encouragement of the use of foldable containers.
Although they are not container users as operators, they are great beneficiaries of the use of a foldable container. With which they could reduce especially in the empty storage areas up to 70% or 80%.
This brings improvements in the circulation around the port, brings improvements to decarbonization and emissions reduction, operational efficiency improvements, among others.
Digitalization in the industry
It is known that port authorities as well as the entire logistics chain, road transport, truck fleet operators, maritime, all want to digitize their processes and there is a wide variety of solutions on the market, each organization chooses what interests them most, but it is clear that then a homogenization or standardization will be necessary to find a global compatibility.
Roberto F.: It is definitely a very important current focus, digitalization and AI. Many solutions are emerging to do exactly the same thing, so each solution is changing by adopting its own format, but eventually there will have to be someone who establishes a standard.
For example, a digitized container that goes with a certain system to a port that uses another system will have to be understood. All the systems will have to integrate with each other, they will have to use a conversation pattern between the systems and common codes so that they understand each other.
This collaboration, for example, will have to exist because otherwise the one that is left out of the unification will be left alone.
What others are adding to the issue
In the words of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim: «The pandemic has led to intense collaboration digitally and virtually between and among the shipping and port communities, as well as with governments and international organizations.
It is vital that they pay attention to these issues, which impact not only shipping, but also the global economy and the global supply chain.»
For its part, SDG 17, emphasizes alliances to achieve Sustainable Development: «Successful implementation of a development agenda requires inclusive partnerships (at global, regional, national and local levels) on principles and values, as well as on a shared vision and goals that focus first on people and planet.
Strong international cooperation is needed now more than ever to ensure that countries that have the means to recover from the pandemic build back better.
Ultimately, collaboration in any sector is important and, above all, necessary. Whether it is to generate competitiveness, as Roberto refers to, or to maintain a balance after a crisis, even to drive Sustainable Development and the list goes on. There are certainly many challenges related to collaborations among these two or more parties, but what is clear is that the result will always be mostly positive, by generating more trust, identifying problems and also creating good practices towards a more efficient present and a less individual and more compact future.