COVID-19: a topic that we have all become intimately familiar with over the last two years. And although scientists have made great strides in developing effective vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic, they certainly cannot account for the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted nearly every sector of the economy.

In particular, COVID-19 continues to have far-reaching consequences on global supply chains. This perhaps would come as no surprise in early 2020, when many were scrambling in grocery stores for toilet paper, cleaning products, and other necessities in preparation for quarantine lockdowns.

However, more than a year has passed since this frantic phase and global supply chains are still trying to recover from the whiplash. In turn, major ports across the U.S. – from Los Angeles and Long Beach in California to Savannah, Georgia – are facing unprecedented backlogs. Whether it be buying gifts or purchasing a new car, the shipping crisis is sure to impact many of us.

Port Logistics Operations

Focusing on the ports and maritime industry, the most significantly affected sectors have been chemical tankers, cruise ships, and passenger ships. The ship traffic from Europe to China and the U.S. has declined compared to the same periods in 2019.

To cope with the disruption, changes are expected to happen in operational, financial, and economic areas – as well as sanitary protocols and processes and adjustments to working practices and organizational aspects.

So where do businesses like Tech Mahindra come in?

Based in Pune, India, Tech Mahindra is a multinational technology company with over 125,000 employees. Working with SAP Co-Innovation Lab, Tech Mahindra developed a cloud-based solution for handling port logistics operations. Its Port Logistics solution, built on SAP Integration Suite, provides a unified and collaborative platform for secure and faster clearance processes in ports.

Sailing Past the Paperwork

Leveraging the Port Logistics solution reduces the amount of paperwork and in less time. This translates into more funds, and who doesn’t want to save a little extra money? The solution enhances port operations using automation that:

  • Provides a single window for the port authorities receiving the products to have secure communication and exchange information with the ship personnel for handling the cargo and logistics clearance
  • Tracks transactions and approvals
  • Analyzes deviation reports for transparency

The solution offers real-time analysis for quick decisions, smooth information flow, and automated document verification. The new process saves time in checking in and cross-verifying for each clearance process requirement. This means no more manual paperwork, customers receive their goods faster, and revenue is realized sooner.

In real-world application, the process reduces the cost of data transfer and documentation management by 90% and increases revenue by 20%.

Looking to the Future

Automation is more than convenience – it’s necessary. It saves time and money in unexpected ways, such as facilitating supply chains for food. As we learn to stay afloat amidst a global pandemic, improving operational efficiency for ports remains a priority. Tech Mahindra has been planning for the next generation of smart ports to prepare for the expected upsurge in shipping volume.

To learn more about Tech Mahindra and its Port Logistics solution, check out its SAP Innovation Awards 2021 pitch deck.

Rajshree Chauhan and Casey Tobias are SAP Global Marketing contributors.