Benoit de la Tour, the new president of Navis, has laid out the IT solutions provider’s growth strategy, highlighting a willingness for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), backed by his experience in the field.
The container industry newcomer is looking to target inefficiencies in the container transport market by “building or buying software”, centred around port community systems, booking systems, berthing management and capacity management.
De la Tour, who took up his post in February, highlighted the period of time he spent at software company Infor, where he helped to complete 31 acquisitions in five years, growing the company’s annual revenue from US$100m to US$2.5bn.
In addition, the Frenchman stated that he hopes to build software in close alignment to the needs of industry stakeholders and utilise his knowhow in change management internally at Navis.
He told a media briefing at TOC Europe in Germany last week that more “collaboration, standardisation, visibility and business intelligence” are needed after listening to quotes from APM Terminals, Hapag-Lloyd and DHL.
De la Tour also emphasised an aim to reach beyond the upper end of the market with terminal operating system (TOS) solutions, in order to cater to smaller terminals.
In particular, this could involve the use of Statistical Analysis System (SAS) based platforms, he added.
With regards to collaboration, the Navis head discussed wanting to make cloud-based collaboration platform Xvela go beyond “exchanging Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) documents in the cloud”, in an effort to increase collaboration between all stakeholders.
Furthermore, de la Tour stated that the industry lacks standardisation since “there is no culture around bringing different stakeholders round the table to try to define standards”.
At the same briefing, Xvela co-founder Robert Inchausti, said that the initial set of results from the ongoing pilot involving terminal operators and ocean carriers would be ready by quarter three of this year.
Following previous announcements that a number of major players in the industry are involved in the pilot, he added: “The value is directly proportional to how many terminals and how many carriers are participating.”
According to OOCL, Inchausti said, saving half an hour at each port of call would result in US$10m in annual savings.
“Once there’s a platform to communicate, to work, to have real-time integration points with TOS, stowage systems, port community systems, then you can get even more efficiencies,” he stated. “If all goes well I think it’s a matter of time before EDI becomes a redundant historical legacy way to communicate.”