Powering the Future of Container Liner Collaborations
Imagine a Grab or Alibaba.com environment for the container liner business. Connecting more than vessel liners, such multi-sided platforms can serve the interests of various groups of suppliers and consumers in the wider industry value chain, including shipping portals, freight forwarders and more, creating an open and self-perpetuating ecosystem where business and innovation can thrive.
The term multi-sided markets has been succinctly defined as “platforms that serve two or more distinct groups of customers who value each other’s participation.” They primarily enable direct interactions between two or more participant groups.
In this B2B2C network, container liners will be able to collaborate better, not only with each other but potentially with more parties throughout the entire oceanic logistics supply chain. These include ports and terminals, freight forwarders, booking lines, shippers, shipping portals and even newly emerging platform-bases businesses. The ultimate outcome is a self-perpetuating oceanic logistics ecosystem that is open and supported robustly by the right numbers and types of participants, essentially connecting consumers and suppliers around the world.
Currently, CyberLogitec’s CARA leads the way as an advanced producer-consumer platform that is transforming the way container liners collaborate. The platform covers the major processes involved in liner collaboration including vessel operations, cargo handling, contracts, and settlement. CARA enables inclusive collaboration, such as joint operation, slot swaps and alliances among shipping liners, and enables shipping liners to share information from management of delicate cargo – such as Out of Gauge or IMDG – to settlement management. Users can access this single platform for improved collaboration that streamlines business processes.
Producer-consumer networks provide more functions, use bandwidth more efficiently, increase information flow, and reduce network traffic.
With the way container liner businesses work together, there is no permanent ‘Producer’ nor ‘Consumer’. For instance, a vessel operating line can take the role of a ‘Producer’ in providing the ship’s schedule information which needs to be shared with the booking line(s). At the same time, it can be a ‘Consumer’, for example, when it takes an application for special cargo received from a booking line. In the environment where a party can play the role of both ‘Producer’ and ‘Consumer’ at the same time, we have a two-sided market from an information handling perspective.
Advanced iterations of CyberLogitec’s CARA recognizes that many non-core processes are required to connect with various stakeholders from ship owner or charterer to shipper.
All these supporting players will be able to derive new value from participating in a multi-sided market environment enabled by CARA. Beyond just about improving efficiency of time and money, CARA 3.0 aims to promote synergy through collaboration. Using its multi-sided platform, all participants in the ecosystem will be able to benefit from incremental network effects gained with each new user that joins the network.
 New Research Explores Multi-Sided Markets by Sean Silverthorne, Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School.
 More Versatile Networks Boost Motion Control Capabilities, by Dave VanGomple, Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley, Machine Design.