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Competitive logistics hubs must be data driven

Published:Wednesday | July 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

One of the most useful resources for forecasting developments in the logistics industry is the recently launched Logistics Trends Radar developed by DHL.

The 2014 version, available at, combines current and cutting-edge developments in the industry, with scenarios that are yet to surface (other than in beta versions) but which appear to be rational extrapolations from the here-and-now.

One of its 2013 assessments is already very clear. The views that as logistics hubs develop and seek to achieve and maintain their competitive edge, "the mastery of complex and extensive data sources (will become) a differentiating factor" is now a reality.

This judgement by a wide range of practitioners and firms, makes it all the more critical that as Jamaica develops and build-out its real and virtual infrastructure, the country should ensure that it puts in the capacity to master complex and extensive data.

According to the Trends Radar, "In 2013, market leaders were seen to build-out advanced data manipulation capabilities such as predictive analytics and real-time event processing, and they started extracting insights from unstructured information."

The report stated that "big data" had begun to make inroads into logistics services by turning large-scale data volumes into a unique asset capable of boosting efficiency in areas of business.

"In the logistics industry, from predictive network and capacity planning, through risk evaluation, resilience planning, and real-time route optimisation, up to crowd-sourced pickup and delivery operations, big data was no longer just hype; 'big data is the new logistics tool'."

Let us hope that this message is understood.