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CMA CGM and CEVA detail tie-up

Chris Dupin has an interesting article in the most recent American Shipper.  CMA/CGM is trying to buy a majority interest in CEVA, the 3PL firm based in Switzerland.   CEVA has been the target of another buyout effort by DSV, another 3PL.  the time was certainly ripe for a consolidation in both the 3PL and the maritime transport space.  This merger or combination is another attempt to deepen the reach of a maritime company into downstream supply chain management.

Like all of these mergers, we’ll have to see if it works out, and if the combination succeeds in improving results for shippers and receivers of goods.  But for me it is  a step in the right direction for a maritime company.  If you try to tackle the downstream problems, you will start to understand how to improve and deliver more value.  Whether a purchase is the best route is an open question, but it is certainly a good try.

The article also points out that CMA/CGM is innovating in other ways now.  It has an in-house incubator, ZeBox, of small concerns that have ideas for improvements. It’s moving ahead on tracking containers and monitoring some of the risk conditions they face while traveling; and it is making some investment in bill of lading improvements through a blockchain technology project with BuyCo, another startup.  These are certainly ways to get innovators thinking about the maritime supply chain problems.  Who winds up with the rents is yet to be determined.

 

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via CMA CGM and CEVA detail their tie-up

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Six operators join to form the UK’s largest logistics company

Alex Lennane has written in the Loadstar about the merger or assimilation of six UK diverse logistics firms under one management.  Perhaps this is what’s necessary to get firms to work together– a bigger hammer.  If they cannot learn to do it on their own, let’s put them together under one management.

However, this approach is fraught with issues. Most mergers do not reach the state of grace they envisioned, because of resistance to change within.  And much of the value of a firm is in its people, and their skills at dealing with the countless exceptions that mark any business.   Another is the heterogeneity of the businesses– every firm in a merger thinks their way of doing something has to work that way for them.  It might not be true, or it might, but even thinking it draws boundaries that can take considerable effort to crack.

We will have to see if this new management structure generates rewards the size the PE firm expects.  Of course if they just make something big enough to sell publicly with temporary results, that will be enough for them to make their money and pass the risk on.

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via PE firm puts six operators together to form the UK’s largest logistics company – The Loadstar

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Has Blockchain Reached its RFID Moment?

 

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A good summary by Alexis Bateman and Chris Cottrill of MIT comparing Walmart’s intro of blockchain for leafy greens to their introduction of RFID. As before, they are compelling suppliers to participate.  That gets it done, but does not ensure that there will be a fair division of the benefit.  And of course, it is not clear that there will be benefit.  The technology is still too new.

I’m troubled by the fact that a permanent log of readings from handheld devices may not allow device errors to be corrected.  Some suppliers may be unfairly implicated if reading errors occur. However, if the application only tracks possession and not the presence of disease bacteria, that may not be much of a problem. I suspect that mixing lots from several farmers in a single bag may be a bigger and more contentious legal dilemma.

And it’s not a solution for the little guys. Only a behemoth like Walmart could impose such a requirement.  About as far from the original blockchain concept of decentralization as one can get.

Nonetheless, I’m sure we will learn a lot from the experiment.

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via Has Blockchain Reached its RFID Moment?