It is a usual thing that we use smartphones to check the delivery status of what we ordered on Amazon. Digitalization is an unavoidable issue for the people living in 2019. The theme of the 4th Korean-German Logistics Conference, held at COEX on 13 June, was ‘The Way to Digitized Transport Logistics,’ reflecting the current trend. The conference was organized by BVL Chapter Korea, with Mosolf Group and Korea Maritime Institute as hosts. KAMA (Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association), YESFEZ (Yellow Sea Free Economic Zone Authority), KSA (Korea Shipowners’ Association), BPA (Busan Port Authority), KGCCI (Korean-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry) and JadeWeser Port Marketing GmbH sponsored the event.
Welcome speeches of Dr. Jörg Mosolf of Mosolf Group and Dr. Myung-Saeng Joung, the Vice President of Korea Maritime Institute, opened the event. They congratulated the 4th Korean-German Logistics Conference and emphasized on the importance of digitalization which future logistics is heading for. They also expressed special gratitude to BVL Chapter Korea for their efforts for the conference.
In the morning session, Prof. Dr. Frank Straube of Technical University of Berlin and Dr. Jaehak Oh, the President of The Korea Transport Institute talked about the central theme - Digitized Logistics. The first presenter, Dr. Straube, delivered his message to the audience in his humorous way that ‘human’ is still the most important in the digital era. Productivity is crucial, but sustainability weights just as much. Therefore we should protect the environment to maintain the sustainability of the industry using digital technology such as AI and IoT. He introduced his research projects regarding digital transformation, especially in the field of logistics, explaining some of the crucial success factors as data management, smart system, and leadership. Logistics is getting complexed day by day, and AI can help to meet the various needs. It can be used in simulating and forecasting medium or long term terminal capacity, and by doing so, we can prevent congestion and manage supply earlier than before. Smart logistics help the operation of the supply chain. He emphasized, however, that all of these should be based on respect for humans.
Dr. Oh mentioned about two research projects - People-centered transport system and logistics 4.0 - explaining Korea’s strategies and challenges for upcoming changes. The Korea Transport Institute studies innovative ways to improve transport and logistics system as well as green logistics and better working condition for the field workers. He mentioned the needs of last mile transportation service resulted from the increase of e-commerce and climate changes due to poor engine trucks. He also emphasized respect for humans as the former presenter did. He pointed out that logistics 4.0 has more meanings when we help workers to get prepared and to work in better conditions in terms of income and welfare. The institute is now proceeding projects for the automotive operation of public transportation and car sharing in rural areas.
In the theme session in the afternoon, presentations were held on topics such as the automobile industry, new logistics routes, and ports. Dr. Marn-ki Jeong, President of Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, presented 'Trends and Collaboration with the Korean Government for Automobile Industry.' The global car making industry has entered a revolutionary phase and should focus on electric cars in the future. The electric car and battery market is exploding, and the prospects are improving, he said. The speed of technological innovation is fast, and the line-up of trucks and buses is also expanding as well as passenger cars. In the future, the automobile will evolve into an IT device, and it will change the industrial ecosystem. He pointed out Korea has better to have a dual strategy to keep the electric cars at the same level as the world trend, but have the hydrogen cars lead the global market. His presentation ended with a remark that the Korean government needs to implement a little more aggressive policy to support the industry.
The theme of Dr. Jörg Mosolf’s presentation was ‘Government legislation - future mobility.’ He introduced the German Transport Forum explaining they provide practical experience data and advice to the German federal government so that appropriate policy can be established for various transport issues as well as climate change and smart city in a broad sense. He said, in Germany, the industry and research institute cooperate to find practical solutions to overcome challenges that they are facing, and the German Transport Forum hopes to share the know-how with other countries.
Mr. Wolfgang Göbel and Dr. Sung Woo Lee discussed new logistics routes under the titles of 'New Silk Road from and to China – opportunities to connect Korea' and 'Korea Logistics Structure Concept based on New Northern and Southern Policies' respectively. Mr. Göbel, who is the President of the Association of European vehicle Logistics, and at the same time, Chief Sales Officer of Mosolf, explained Mosolf Group's participation in China's ambitious new Silk Road project. The Mosolf group is joining the project to connect Europe and China through the railroad of new Silk Road to transport finished cars to the terminal of Chengdu, China. He explained railroad transportation could save up to 50% more time than sea carriage and also it is cheaper than air transportation. The speaker wrapped up his presentation hoping this Silk Road to be connected to Korea.
Dr. Sung Woo Lee, Director of Port & Logistics Research Division of Korea Maritime Institute, said that the government is making efforts to connect land and railroads of the Korean Peninsula - North and South - so as not to depend on shipping alone. However, North Korea's roads are in bad condition as well as its operational infrastructures. The two Koreas have differences in railroad track gages, signal systems, communication systems, and also in power capacity. Therefore, infrastructure investment must be preceded to narrow the gap if we want to go through North Korea. Also, in that case, he pointed out we will need to expand the railway in the metropolitan area, including Seoul, which would cause cost issues. In the end, he put particular stress that, it is necessary to diversify the logistics system to combine shipping, trucking, train, and we need co-operation to find solutions for it.
The presentation was followed by the introduction of Germany and South Korea's ports. Mr. Ingo Meidinger, Marketing Director of JadeWeser Port Marketing GmbH., showed about the port, which is Germany's only deep-sea port located in Lower Saxony. He explained the port is directly connected to the Autobahn and the railroad is also nearby having the utmost advantages geographically and logistically. He mentioned the Ro-Ro terminal project is being prepared with the Mosolf Group. They are open to business relationships with Korean companies as well, he said.
Ms. Eun Kyung Choi, Special Advisor of Yellow Sea Free Economic Zone Authority (YESFEZ), explained the merits of the Pyeongtaek Poseung District (BIX), which is a special economic zone, with the incentives for the companies, and the future vision. The location is attractive to logistics firms because it is close to the capital city and has Samsung and LG industrial complexes in the nearby area. She said YESFEZ is expecting to be able to cooperate with companies in various fields of manufacturing, not only machinery and electronics but also foods, chemicals, and medicine.
The last topic was 'Korean Smart Port in the Era of the 4th Industrial Revolution,' presented by Dr. Eon-Kyung Lee, Associate Research Fellow of Port & Logistics Technology Dept. of Korea Maritime Institute. Compared to other competitor ports, which are achieving fully automated, digitized, and smart systems, Korean ports have not yet applied the technology of the 4th industrial revolution. To improve this, he examined the challenges and strategies to be implemented in the government and industry. Finally, showing a video clip of Indian lunch box delivery, he reminded the audience that eventually the meaning of logistics is to transport goods to the right place at the right time that needs it.
After the sessions were over, an open discussion started with the speakers on the stage and audience. There was an in-depth discussion about digitization and the new Silk Road. The conversation about digitization and alienation of people was also impressive. This year's conference is expected to have a positive impact on logistics development in Germany and Korea, both countries.