A digital leap in parcel traffic

Competition in parcel traffic is intensifying – digital services provide a competitive advantage for growth and development. Pioneering travel and parcel services provider Matkahuolto implemented a digital leap from on-premise solutions to the cloud in a controlled manner and in a rapid schedule. The successful transition aims at growth, cost savings and a new boost for service development.

The year 2020 will go down in history not just as the year of the coronavirus but as a year of record growth in e-commerce. At best, e-commerce indexes revealed growth peaks of several tens of percent, and the pace is not expected to slow down. This trend has been reflected positively in the demand for parcel services provided by Matkahuolto.

“Consumers and merchants are now accustomed to online shopping, so its popularity is likely to continue once the exceptional circumstances end. In the volume-driven logistics industry, this means more competition,” says Mika Rajanen, CIO & CDO of Matkahuolto.

Matkahuolto, which started operations in 1933, has a strong position in Finland not just as a provider of passenger services but also in internal logistics, which has enabled co-operation agreements with major international players. The positive boost in e-commerce and parcel traffic will also accelerate Matkahuolto’s product and service development, where new technology plays a significant role.

Competitive advantage from digital user experience

With the digitalisation of parcel traffic, customers can now follow and manage their orders on their mobile devices. Matkahuolto’s goal is to further develop this user experience to be even better and smoother.

“Throughout the industry, goods have long moved solely based on logistics considerations. Consequently, although there has been automation, it has not reflected consumer needs. This is the area we want to pay more attention to,” says Rajanen.

The digitalisation of Matkahuolto’s business, which began in 2019, has advanced at a tremendous pace. A rapid leap has been taken from traditional on-premise solutions and the construction of IT services within the subsidiary Trimico to the cloud world and cloud native development. Global IT service provider CGI was selected as Matkahuolto’s strategic outsourcing partner in Finland.

“CGI has a great deal of cloud expertise and experience in application development. Both of these capabilities were required in our major transformation project,” says Rajanen.

From the data centre to the cloud in about six months

Planning for the transfer of IT services began in May 2020, when 17 employees of Trimico, Matkahuolto’s subsidiary, were also transferred to CGI as existing employees. Between August and October, system services were migrated from the traditional server environment to the AWS cloud. This phase utilised the CGI migration model, based on AWS best practices, which enabled a rapid and uninterrupted transition.

“Matkahuolto’s entire production environment was migrated into the cloud by the end of October, and new services were immediately launched in November. All transfers were completed successfully and within the agreed schedule,” says a pleased Rajanen.

In addition to personnel and system transfers, Matkahuolto has addressed information and cyber security issues, which are covered in the agreement with CGI by the services of CGI’s Cybersecurity Operations Centre (SOC). In addition to traditional infrastructure, end-user and application services, the agreement covers the development of new services.

In the implemented cloud migration, CGI operates Matkahuolto’s cloud environment cost-effectively alongside application development and in accordance with the CloudOps model. The next step is to start reforming the application architecture to be cloud-native.

“Matkahuolto’s digital acceleration brings savings in the form of both investment and the dynamic scalability of cloud services. The comprehensive reform will also create better conditions for the development of new digital services and solutions, improving the customer experience and growing the business,” Rajanen concludes.

Awake.AI Enabling Smart Ships to Make Port Calls in Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam chose Awake.AI as a smart port development partner to enable smart ships to make port calls in the future.

Awake.AI is a frontrunner in the field of digitizing maritime logistics for more efficient port calls and smarter operational planning. Port of Rotterdam is fully committed to innovation, maximizing the benefits of the new potential that digitization offers. Together they worked toward a smarter future.

Shifting Toward Autonomous Future in Maritime

Maritime logistics and port operations are experiencing ever more extensive digitalization in the coming years. Environmental sustainability is the key driving force in this transformation. More automation of processes will be introduced, more mandatory environmental reporting will be enabled. As maritime businesses will have to adapt to more stringent environmental regulations, for example complying with the “Paris Agreement” and the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, it will have an improving effect on air quality in port cities as well as providing much greater efficiency and profits for all collaborating actors.

Automation will eventually lead to smarter and even autonomous ships plus more extensive autonomous maritime logistics operations. For the whole maritime shipping industry to stay relevant in the future, it needs to start offering constantly better customer service in all dimensions. This means introducing more digital services throughout the value chain. Those companies and ports who do not fully engage into digitalization now, will be left behind. Trying to play catch up later, gets harder and harder for them.

The Need – Digital Twin for The Port of Rotterdam

The largest seaport in Europe, The Port of Rotterdam, seeks to host smart ships in the future. Port of Rotterdam wanted to make their port operations more efficient, reliable, and predictable with a commitment to provide outstanding digital facilities and data services. Also, the port wants to offer their users a seamless and trusted experience when doing business with them.

To achieve this objective, they wanted to create a digital twin of the actual port to test and learn about the transformational process for this smarter future, without risking their ongoing port operation.

The physical properties and characteristics of the Port of Rotterdam were required to be transferred into a simulation where their multiple variables could be changed and tested fast and effectively, and without risking the physical operation of the port. Also, with digital twins, addressing the potential risks in safety is a tremendous help, when compared with real-world trial and error. The Port of Rotterdam aspires to be the safest and the most efficient port in the world as well, and is constantly working on this ambition.

The massive scale of the operation of the Port of Rotterdam with its 8,8 million containers and almost 15 million total TEU (fourty-foot equivalent unit) also translates to a tremendous environmental impact when port calls, material flows and smart ships are optimized. Using digital twins is a pioneering way to build an understanding of the key metrics of large industrial companies and organizations, as well as to learn.

The Solution – The Smartest Port of the Future Meets Awake.AI

Awake.AI’s solution was to enable smart shipping by creating a digital port and ship platform with digital handshakes between ships and ports through Awake’s own smart platform. This gives an excellent view on determining possible information gaps, standard development requirements and offers better overall optimization of port calls.

For testing smart ships and digital port operations, a smart ship port call management system and simulator was created, which is not only simulating real world scenarios, but also demonstrating the impact of any given changes, before any physical changes would be made to the infrastructure of the port. This truly provides a better operational planning capability and more efficient port calls. Awake.AI specializes in AI and machine learning (ML) in maritime logistics, and thus it was a natural choice for the Port of Rotterdam to work together with Awake.AI for exploring changes in Europe in the field of smart shipping and smart ports.


Toward smarter maritime logistics

Awake.AI expects that the first physical smart vessels in commercial operation will already be operating by 2025. The first vessels can perform missions in or near the port area such as remote piloting.

Awake.AI is highly committed to helping its clients in becoming early adopters and industry leaders in digitizing and automating port operations, as well as optimizing complete value chains. This is done through supporting the clients all the way from conceptualization to design, implementation to optimization.

Leading role for Europe

As environmental concerns are at the very core of the Port of Rotterdam, they are also committed to combating climate change and aim to play a leading role in the global energy transition.

Digitalization and automation are introducing entirely new avenues for making maritime logistics and port calls more efficient, eventually leading to cleaner waters, significantly lower emissions, and lower operational costs, as well as wasting less time. A smarter future is also a greener future.

With Awake’s platform and its growing number of ecosystem partners, the ambition is to reduce cumulatively 10% of the global CO2 emissions from shipping by 2030. Awake.AI is ensuring the future of sustainable and intelligent maritime logistics.

Learn more

Read the whole case story on Awake.AI’s website.