Part 2 - BRU Airport’s Cloud Platform

In the second part of our article on Brussels Airport’s newly introduced Cloud Platform, we take a look at the aims and advantages this new system is said to give to the Brussels Airport Community, other airports and the trucking community.

All the members of BRUCargo have to do is to unlock their own system to access BRUcloud  -  courtesy BRU.
All the members of BRUCargo have to do is to unlock their own system to access BRUcloud - courtesy BRU.

Enhanced visibility
BRUcloud will be offered by the Brussels Airport Cargo Community, which will put the system at the disposal of its members. “All they have to do is unlock their own system to BRUcloud. We at Nallian take care of the rest, even of the interoperability so that data potentially can be reused for other communities as well,” states Jean Verleyen, CEO of technology provider Nallian.
Altogether, the community platform will lead to much better visibility in the (air cargo) chain. “At BRUcargo the intent is to include customs as well. It is just a matter of unlocking the data giving other parties consent to use specific parts of your data, all from behind your own dashboard/sharing control center.”
At Brussels Airport, the roll-out is supported by a roadmap set out by the newly founded Air Cargo Belgium umbrella organisation. Within ACB, Jean chairs the working group ‘Digitalisation’.

Pains are big
In the weeks to come the working group will meet on topics such as slot booking (for trucking), pharma dolly monitoring and temperature measurement, and a pharma dashboard. Both the shippers and the forwarders will be included. Jean: “The group will have to find an answer to the question of wanting to be a forerunner or a follower. Do you see IT as an enabler or rather as a necessary evil?”
According to Jean, Brussels Airport’s Head of Cargo Steven Polmans and his team are breaking ground. “We have already been contacted by other airports and we feel that there is still a long way to go. Last May we were invited to present our concept at the Heathrow Airport stand at Multimodal 2016 in Birmingham. In June we replayed our story at the Fly-Pharma conference in Brussels. Interest is massive as the pains are big. At LHR trucks are lining up with delays up to 8 hours. A trucking slot booking system is an absolute must. “

Trucking load clustering
The Nallian concept is not restricted to air cargo communities. The Antwerp Port Authority is also considering switching to data sharing technology. Jean thinks they will have to: “If you want to stay a frontrunner in a volatile competitive environment, you have to be able to manage the data and you have to do so in an agile and controlled way. It is digital transformation or digital catch-up. If you have to go through the process anyway you can as well go early and benefit sooner.”
With Procter and Gamble Nallian has developed CargoStream, a large-scale bundling platform for cargo. The ambition is to bring the transportation needs of thousands of shippers together in one platform so that spotting bundling opportunities becomes a breeze. In such context, to comply with antitrust regulation, anonymization of data is of utmost importance.

The sky is the limit
“Today we are running pilot schemes with 15 shippers on CargoStream. Our aim is to have thousands of companies on CargoStream. One fourth of the trucks on the European motorway system are empty and the rest is only filling up to 55% of its capacity. So there are a lot of opportunities for clustering. It will enable reconciliation of stability as required by logistics operators as barge and rail with predictability and flexibility as required by shippers. With the underlying Nallian platform, lots of data can be unlocked and put at disposal in a hyper controlled way, so that it becomes easy for third parties to analyze and act on this data.” 
The possibilities are endless, Jean concludes. “You can automate multi-enterprise processes and adapt them with the help of self-learning systems, powered by real-time data, including sensor-generated information.”
“To a certain extent we help the world to operate “as one.” Today data often still follows a sequential path. One transaction takes place after the former has been concluded, one part of the chain after the other, and one company after the other. This is what happens in a classic air cargo chain, and this is what leads to excessive delays in the overall process. Compare this to an integrated company such as DHL, where the whole chain is driven by one system. That is what we offer, virtual integration between sovereign companies within the same value network so that the whole network can operate in sync, “as one.”
Part 1 we published in our 18 July issue

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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