Imperial had promised to give an iPad to the first one hundred inland waterway shipping operators, who handled consignments via the IFMS from 16 January this year.
While a consignment of aluminium oxide from Rotterdam was being unloaded from the MS “Noordenwind” at the port of Neuss, Cornelis Blonk received his new iPad in the wheelhouse. At the same time, the inland waterway shipper used the opportunity to inform Uwe Gick about his initial experience with the IFMS. “It’s simple to operate and you can quickly find what you need to close a transport deal. This makes my work easier,” the inland waterway shipping expert said.
Cornelis Blonk from Krimpen an der Ijssel mainly operates on the Lower Rhine with his vessel “Noordenwind”, which was built in 2006. After having handled seven consignments via the IFMS, Block is one of its keenest users. He makes use of the functions that are made available. They include looking for and finding suitable loads, submitting quotations, negotiating with schedulers and completing deals. He also uses the handling functions like transmitting position reports via GPS or sending transport documents, which have been photographed with a smartphone, via the IFMS app. Blonk also communicates the loading and unloading times through the app.
Zeger Bouman and his wife Sija, the owners of “Alpi”, have been travelling on board their inland waterway vessel, which was built in 1960, for 35 years. Zeger Bouman has also downloaded the IFMS app on to his smartphone and completed the transactions for one trip with it. He also uses the system to upload loading and unloading documents with the app. It will be easier for him to obtain interesting consignments with the IFMS app on his new tablet in future because of the larger display.
The first user number three is Dirk Verboom, the owner of the MS “Amento” (built in 2001). Dirk Verboom too has gained initial experience with the freight exchange. He conducted negotiations with Imperial Shipping and accepted a consignment using the IFMS app.
“IFMS has made a good start and is very well received by the inland waterway shippers, because it’s easy to use,” says Uwe Gick, summarising the current situation. “Nobody can better assess whether a digital solution is user-friendly or not than the users themselves,” he adds. “We’ll continue to optimise IFMS in conjunction with our first users and our transport partners if there’s still a need for it.”
IFMS stands for Imperial Freight Management System and it describes a web-based e-commerce platform, where shipping space and loads are brought together. The goal is to optimise the scheduling of vessels and make better use of their capacity. The first stage involved simply bringing together the fleet belonging to Imperial and the internal shipping space of all the Imperial business locations within an internal market place. Schedulers from all the Imperial business locations obtain information about the load needing to be shipped and the vessels that are available on screens in their offices in real time. The IFMS has been available for third-party contractors since the beginning of this year and the platform is due to be made available to outside shippers too from the middle of 2017 onwards. In principle, the IFMS works like freight exchanges that have been used for transporting goods by road for a long time. The IFMS also simplifies the handling of consignments on board, because the registered vessels can very simply transmit information about their position or loading/unloading documents, for example, using a mobile app. Once Imperial has fed its complete annual shipping volume of 50 - 60 million tonnes into the IFMS, about 20 percent of the total annual volume of German inland waterway shipping operations will have been registered in the IFMS. www.ifms-freight.com
Imperial Logistics International
As a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African company Imperial Holdings Limited, Imperial Logistics International is responsible for coordinating and managing all the international logistics business of Imperial Holdings Limited outside Africa. The varied portfolio of services at Imperial Logistics International, which has its headquarters in Duisburg, is separated into two divisions: the company pools all its transport services in the Shipping, Road and Express Freight business units in the Imperial Transport Solutions division. The Imperial Supply Chain Solutions division covers all the services in the contract logistics, contract manufacturing and warehousing sectors for the Automotive, Industrial, Retail & Consumer Goods and Chemicals business units. Working together, both divisions provide a full and transparent range of services from one source along the complete supply chain. Beyond its pure logistics services, Imperial Logistics International has also become established as a process consultant for third parties, a fleet manager for outside car fleets and a provider of insurance services related to particular sectors. Imperial Logistics International employs more than 8,300 people and, including the new acquisition, Palletways, generates turnover amounting to EUR 1.6 billion at 170 business locations.
Imperial Logistics International B.V. & Co. KG
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