Our second blog-interview is with Mr. Gerwin Zomer, focusing on CORE – Consistently Optimised Resilient Secure Global Supply Chains.
Hi Gerwin, greetings from the Shanghai Customs College, from a very interesting Customs education and training seminar, organized as part of the EU-China co-operation program – who are you and what do you do?
I’m Gerwin Zomer and I work at TNO, The Dutch Institute of Applied Scientific Research and manage an Innovation Programme on what we call Smart Trade Logistics. In that programme we jointly develop and implement innovation programmes with trade and logistics industry and governments and inspection agencies. We often play the role of Innovation Catalyst. For TNO, FP7-project CORE plays a crucial role in this Programme, but we also coordinate national research programs with the same overall ambition. Since I am the technical coordinator of CORE and also the Programme Developer of the National Innovation Programme (Topsector Logistics – Trade Compliance & Border Management), I can connect them as one programme strengthening each other.
Can you explain more about the FP7-project CORE, where we are working together still for the coming 3.5 years?
CORE is one of the large scale demonstration projects funded under the EU FP7 Security Research Programme. CORE and its 70 partners have committed to work together to enhance supply chain security and safeguarding other societal challenges related to global trade and logistics. This often would involve additional compliance costs for legitimate traders. But in CORE, we develop innovative concepts that can do this in a way that also maximizes the speed and reliability of fulfilling global trade transactions and minimize associated compliance costs. In that way, the knife cuts on both sides, a win-win situation! In order to realise this, we need collaboration between industrial partners, governments and knowledge institutes. The industrial partners include shippers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, terminal operators, trade associations and information technology providers. Governments include different national customs, police, food safety authorities, World Customs Organisation and INTERPOL. And Knowledge institutes universities, applied research associations and consultants. CORE demonstration tradelanes for improved supply chain security and trade facilitation include: Automotive parts from Europe to USA; Spare parts from USA and Europe to Spain for Aerospace industry; Flowers and plants from Kenya and Colombia to the Netherlands; Retail goods from China to the UK; Tractors from the UK to Australia and New Zealand; as well as Modular truck components from The Netherlands & Sweden to Singapore, Malaysia and Russia.
You mentioned couple of key innovation concepts for the CORE-project – can you please elaborate bit more on them?
Actually we want to accelerate two major transitions. Supply chain actors have to rethink their supply chain risk management portfolio, the combination of treat, transfer, tolerate and terminate risks. Despite often pretty effective internal control measures, we underutilise the potential of collaborative risk treatment throughout the value chain, while we know that in many cases this would be a commercially viable business case. We call this collaborative chain controls. Examples are data validation measures, such as validating during container stuffing that packing list information is in accordance with what is actually stuffed into containers. This sounds trivial, but it isn’t and discrepancies can result in high logistics costs in downstream activities.
The other transition is that we want control agencies to think in supply chain dynamics and also act accordingly by applying corresponding supervision models. This means other ways to intervene, respecting the impact it has on supply chain reliability or landed cost implications. In practise it includes ideas such as pre-release, system based audits instead of physical checks, shift necessary controls from ports to warehouses in the hinterland, often less disturbing, to name few examples. The trusted tradelane supervision model is the concept supporting this, but requires standardisation: what makes a tradelane trusted? How do you get recognition? What alternative controls mix can you expect, and does it make sense commercially to consider this? A trusted tradelane needs to be smart and secure. Smart in the sense that the quality and completeness of relevant data can be guaranteed and shared with customs if needed. Secure in the sense that the integrity of the container can be guaranteed from the moment of stuffing, for instance through container security devices.
The third pillar is IT innovation. This includes architectures and delivery infrastructures for data sharing in interoperable ways against minimum costs.
Please have a look at the CORE website for more details: www.coreproject.eu
And the last question: what kind of concrete results you expect coming from the CORE-project, by April 2018?
We have sound business cases of collaborative chain controls, demonstrated in real life, we see these ideas being taken up by the market. We have developed a standard for trusted tradelane supervision and made serious progress in adopting this concept in policy frameworks, and we succeeded in reducing the interoperability costs of sharing data in communities.
Thanks a lot, Gerwin, and see you soon in one of the coming CORE-meetings.
Looking forward to it!