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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Future proofing supply chain in the GCC

Positioned between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the UAE, logistics and procurement industry in the Middle East are growing at rapid rate. Air transport industry handles 1.25 million dangerous goods shipments per year, which is one of the many complexities of industry.

- Abigail Mathias

Blockchain in logistics and air freight management sectors is an innovation that will revolutionize our industry. The Middle East, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leading the pack, stands on the brink of this transformative shift. While the UAE government promotes Blockchain technology across diverse sectors for heightened efficiency and modernization, its potential in logistics beckons exploration.

Central to this vision is Blockchain’s transparency, establishing trust in an area marked by its intricate trade dynamics. Married with Internet of Things, Blockchain ushers in real-time tracking, refining inventory processes and route optimization.

Smart contracts promise to eradicate traditional bureaucratic barriers, offering a streamlined operation. In an era emphasizing ethical sourcing and sustainability, Blockchain emerges as the hero, affirming verifiable product origins and advocating responsible trade. To harness this potential in logistics, regional collaboration, skill upgradation, and robust digital infrastructure are essential. Guided by the UAE government’s vision and strategic application, Blockchain has the power to reshape the logistics sector in the Middle East, reinforcing its vital role in global trade.

Adherence to Etihad Cargo’s robust quality standards and the capacity to handle increased cargo volumes, while ensuring consistent service levels contributed to Etihad Cargo’s decision to appoint WFS as the carrier’s cargo handling partner at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. WFS currently handles around 110,000 tonnes of cargo on behalf of Etihad Cargo in the USA annually. This is anticipated to increase with the addition of Chicago airport to Etihad Cargo’s network with WFS and higher volumes of the carrier’s PharmaLife and FreshForward products being transported across Etihad Cargo’s global network.

In the Middle East, as in many other parts of the world, the adoption of innovative technologies and transition to electronic documents in logistics and supply chain management can indeed revolutionize how companies operate.

This transformation can bring about several key benefits:

• Improved efficiency: transitioning to electronic documents, such as e-AWB and digital bills of lading, reduce paperwork and manual data entry. This streamlined approach saves time and reduces the likelihood of errors and ultimately increases efficiency in logistics operations

• Real-time visibility: advanced tracking and monitoring technologies, such as IoT sensors and RFID, can provide real-time visibility into the location and condition of goods in transit. This data can help firms optimize routes, reduce theft or spoilage, and better manage inventory

• Enhanced collaboration: digital communication and collaboration tools can connect stakeholders along the supply chain effectively. This allows for seamless coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, resulting in faster response and reduced delays

• Data analytics: the Middle East can benefit from the integration of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence to make data-driven decisions. These technologies can help the companies forecast demand, optimize inventory, and identify those areas for cost reduction and process improvement.

• Reduced Environmental Impact: Technology can facilitate sustainability initiatives by helping companies reduce waste and minimize the carbon footprint of their logistics operations. Optimizing routes and reducing paper usage through electronic documents can contribute to this

• Customs and trade compliance: the Middle East is a major hub for global trade. Implementing electronic customs documentation and trade compliance systems can expedite the movement of goods across borders and reduce the risk of errors, fines, and delays

• e-commerce enablement: with the growth of e-commerce in the Middle East, efficient logistics and supply chain management are crucial. Technology can help businesses meet the demands of online shoppers by enabling fast, reliable, and traceable delivery services

• Resilience and risk mitigation: technology can play a role in mitigating risks in logistics, such as disruptions caused by natural disasters, political instability, or crises. By using data analytics and real-time tracking, companies can proactively manage and respond to such challenges

• Talent development: as logistics and supply chain operations become technology-dependent, investment in training and developing a skilled workforce is vital. Upskilling employees to harness technology is crucial for successful implementation.

In summary, adoption of tech and electronic documents can revolutionize logistics and supply chain management in the Middle East by improving efficiency, increasing transparency, and providing tools for data-driven decision-making. These innovations can position firms to compete in the global marketplace and adapt to the landscape of supply chain management.

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