The Panama Canal

Last week, looking for some information about Maersk I read that some Maersk vessels aren’t able to cross the Panama Canal because of their size. In a few months, these vessels and many more will be able to cross it.

Panama Canal is located in the middle of the American country, between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Its length is 78 kilometers and it’s one of the most important Canals in the world.


In 1880 a French company tried to build it but it failed. After that, on August 15, 1914, it was officially opened. Along its construction over 30,000 workers died and it cost approximeately 400 million dollars. This Canal makes faster the comercial interchange and relatively reduces costs between the two oceans. Until today, its five main users have been the United States, China, Chile, Japan and South Corea.

Nowadays and since 2007, it is being carried out an expansion project which will allow crossing of bigger vessels along the Panama Canal. So, this project will speed up the worldwide transport.

Since the project started there have been a lot of problems, recently its construction was completely stopped because of the lack of liquidity.

In summary, the project consists of three parties:

  • Construction of two new lock complexes, one on the Atlantic side and another on the Pacific. Locks raise ship from sea level up to the level of inland waterways, they are wider and more efficient.
  • Excavation of new access canals to the new locks and widening of existing navigational channels.
  • Deepening of the navigation canals and elevation of the operational water level of Gatun Lake.

New Panamax ships will be the largest that can cross the new locks.


And new U.S ports are being prepared for Panamax vessels.

The Panama Canal expansion project is expected to be finished in 2015 and people talk about 1,600 million dollars, an incredible cost!!

Curious things:

  • Since its inauguration about 1,000,000 vessels have crossed it.
  • The tonne cost is 2.20 dollars.
  • The Maersk Dellys established a new tollbooth record – 274,590 dollars on May 8, 2007.
  • With the excavation rests we could built a replicate of the Great Wall of China from San Francisco till New York.
  • The average is about 12,000 vessels a year.
  • The cargo record was on December 15, 1981. An Arco Texas vessel loaded 65,299 tonnes of oil.

From my point of view, this project could suppose an enormous change in logistical transportation but I also think it’s a very expensive project which has a lot of dirty rags behind.

Unable to replicate DNA



Toyota´s Philosophy has always been: customer first and Quality first ever since its founding. It is known as the guru of Total Quality Management based on the unchanging principles.

To enhance the quality of life of people everywhere to eventually provide products and services to  meet the customers needs worldwide the corporate  highly engages itself in Research and Development to accurately identify the needs and provide high quality, low costs products. As shown in the following graph, the company invests  time and huge sum of  money to find out what exactly their market needs


Money spent in R & D


The company goes further to improve quality of product and work quality by listening to the customer as well. According to the companys web page, the entire organisation strives to ensure enhanced satisfaction by delivering the voice of the customer to the relevant departments and utilizing it to improve quality

ImageCustomer´s Voice


Despite all this well skilled steps to follow. How did Toyota engineered its downfall? why wasnt it able to replicate its DNA, what damaged its brand significantly?

In 2008 the company doubled it sales, apparently this turned out to be a nightmare instead of a victory for the firm because they had to hire many new employees and suppliers which eventually led to a production system failure because it wasn’t able to scale up and provide adequate training to the many new employees and suppliers that were added( I strongly doubt if the price and quality would be thesame if the entire managment process was overturned here). The company´s DNA was unable to replicate

Secondly, The Toyotas quality image got damaged when they started having problems with brake systems and runaway vehicles. Some think if the senior managers had dealt openly with their problems upfront would have saved Toyota substantial monies and lessed public outrage(Are we still talking about the customer is first here?)


The Ports of LA


LA is home to two large ports, which collectively would make the 8th largest port in the world. The story of the port industry in LA is an interesting one, full of corruption, swindling, and cut-throat competition.

In the late 1800’s, docking in Los Angeles was a detested necessity. The port in San Pedro was in a difficult area with heavy waves, shallow mud flats, rocky shores, and overall very difficult access. Access required careful attention, and even rowing the giant boats into shore to avoid damaging the propeller. Furthermore, getting to the main transit areas from San Pedro was difficult, which was why Collin P. Huntington called for the construction of a railroad to connect and save transportation costs.

However, Huntington’s purpose was not to spread these savings to the transport companies, but instead keep them for himself. As cargo was being transported across his rail line, he would go so far as to check the books, and see the value of the cargo to best squeeze every penny he could. Normally, the cargo would cost more to move the 25 miles from San Pedro to Los Angeles than the 7,000 miles from Hong Kong to San Pedro, but due to Huntington’s monopoly, few alternatives were available.

Eventually, competition emerged to challenge the railroad tyrant, which led to a vicious price war. Huntington’s deep pockets allowed him to charge low prices for long enough to bankrupt the competition, and buy them out. Huntington sought to further monopolize the California port industry with a new construction in Santa Monica. However, the citizens revolted, causing a grass-roots backlash that made its way to the California congressional floor. After bribing, swooning, and lobbying, Huntington won the first fight in the house, but eventually lost support in the senate, causing his port monopoly to come to an end.

With laxed importation standards, the popularity of the ports surged as with the commerce in Los Angeles. Santa Monica restored construction of piers, letting way for the famous Santa Monica Pier. Long Beach became a sprawling city with a giant port, and Los Angeles remains the number one choice for transporting into Western United States. If the story had unfolded any differently, the face of Los Angeles would look quite different.

Returns solutions

Returns solutions for your business


Sometimes parcels need to be sent back. The Australia post company designed the parcel return service to be easy, hassle-free, and good for your business. The customers will have flexibility in how they return items, and that’s something they’ll be pleased with.
eParcel Returns enables you to manage your returns and delivery through eParcel, Australia’s largest business to consumer parcel delivery service.
•Convenient options: customers can contact you, use label provided or go online
•Over 19,000 returns locations Australia wide (Australia Post retail outlets and Street Posting Boxes)
•You have the choice as to whether you offer to pay for the return postage or your customer does
•Specify Australia Post packaging for your returns, or use handy returnable satchels (coming soon)
•Tracking in select locations for peace of mind
•Choose the speed of the return – express or regular
If you want a basic, untracked returns solution, the Return Paid Parcels service is available, which makes it easy for your customers to return items to you.

Preventing Cargo Theft

Reading ´s post Why is the road transport so expensive?, I wondered which technical systems exist to prevent from theft and pilferage as well as from loss of goods. In the United States an estimated $30 billion in cargo is stolen annually.

Several methods are needed to reduce the danger of being robbed. The problem is that there are many stages criminals can get active, and organized gangs have a lot of tricks. Production sites are one of the first stages where criminals can get active within the supply chain, for example by breaking in the facility or observing trucks being loaded with valuable goods. Therefore distribution centers are a favored spot, because usually many goods are shipped there. Of course outside these seemingly safe areas the streets are potential crime scenes for thieves. Stealing the truck when unattended at a rest stop or paying the driver to “look away” are just some handles to get the desired goods. An unconnected trailer at the side of a street can be hooked up by a truck by criminals within minutes and towed to a “secured location”. These are just some examples, but as you can see there are many situations thieves can get active.

Caused by the economic damage by theft and pilferage some systems have been developed to improve facility and vehicle security. By GPS-tracking a warning system alerts the shipper as soon as a truck leaves a specific area or route.  recently posted about the MAN Telematics System, which is a example for a suitable technology. Of course also physical utilities are suitable. There are locks to secure vehicle and cargo, a kingpin lock to avoid the trailer being stolen, seals to limit intrusion. Camera-systems at transshipment-centers can record every incoming and outgoing shipment. An automated software by BOSCH Security Systems links the scanning action of a good with recorded video-material, so any damage or loss of goods can be tracked.

Cross-linked production

By the usage of light barriers production sites or transshipment centers can be safeguarded. Unauthorized vehicles trigger immediately alarm at the security center. To avoid unauthorized persons entering buildings, RFID-locks only let authorized personnel into security-relevant areas .(

The damages by theft will never disappear, but as criminals are working on new methods to organize robbers, experts constantly work on new methods to fight against that.

Improving Logistics and Shipping: The Scanner

As Li has talked in his post about the containers and its importance in the globalization, I have found interesting to type about shipping in logistics and the latest news related to the containers and basically with shipping as well: a scanner to automate container code tracking.

But first, I would like to explain a little bit what involves shipping and logistics. It involves managing the transfer of products from the place of their origin to the place of their consumption. It includes activities such as material handling, warehousing, packaging, transportation, shipping security, inventory management, supply chain management, procurement, and customs service. Basically, as we can guess, in most industries this kind of transportation is part of their supply chain and value chain.

As Li posted, globalization and outsourcing are important trends nowadays and they are the core value in Logistics and Shipping industry.  Because of this that any mistake can turn wrong the best business.

From Australia, a known  technology company, Honeywell, has announced that Australian shipping industry is using scanners to track containers in real time and reduce errors in data capture.

Scanner Shipping

As the Global Logistics Media magazine explains, with this instrument, shipping companies can scan and automatically read shipping container codes and numbers from a distance of up to five meters. The team of Honeywell has introduce a software-based imaging solution what allows to automate data collection by using OCR (Optical character recognition) technology to scan letters and numbers in shipping containers instead of manually. It means to improve the accuracy of container tracking and saving employee time.

Clearly, this is a great progress in shipping and logistics. It seems as nothing else new can come, but for sure it will, I will try to let you know! 😉

The containers: the greatest boxes changing the world economy


Somebody once said that: the containers change the shipping economic rules, thus change the trade flows. Without the containers, there would not be the globalization.

What is it about the container that is so important? Surely not the thing itself. The value of this utilitarian object lies not in what it is, but in how it is used. The container is at the core of a highly automated system for moving goods from anywhere, to anywhere, with a minimum of cost and complication on the way.

The container made shipping cheap, and by doing so changed the shape of the world economy.


The container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system.


According to the goods loaded in: dry cargo container, dry bulk container, tank container, etc.

According to the making material: wooden container, steel container, stainless steel container, etc.

According to the structure: flat rack container, open top container, etc.

According to the whole weight: 2.5tons, 5tons, 10tons, 20tons, etc.


Weights and dimensions of some common types of containers.


It is worth noting that the twenty-foot equivalent unit (often TEU or teu) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals.

Container loading ways:

  1. FCL—full container load
  2. LCL—less than container load

Transportation ways:

Door to door, Door to CFS (container freight station), Door to CY (container yard), CY to door, CY to CY, CY to CFS, CFS to door, CFS to CY, CFS to CFS.

The advantages of container transportation:

  1. Improve loading and uploading efficiency, reduce labor intensity;
  2. Reduce cargo damage, improve the safety and quality of the goods transportation;
  3.  Shorten the transit time of goods, accelerate the turnaround of travel;
  4.  Save cargo transport packaging, simplify tally procedures;
  5.  Reduce freight transportation costs;
  6.  Promote the standardization of packaging;
  7.  Combination of application of the multimode of transportation

The world top 10 container transportation companies:


Rank Company Country Total Ships Total TEU
1 MAERSK Denmark 665 2,568,363
2 MSC Swiss 485 2,170,727
3 CMA-CGM France 393 1,334,802
4 Hapag-Lloyd Germany 147 644,415
5 COSCO China 148 637,667
6 APL United States 144 617,649
7 EMC Taiwan 163 603,358
8 China Shipping China 143 518,489
9 Hanjin Shipping South Korea 103 492,174
10 MOL Japan 99 441,426

source from the Alphaliner TOP100 Feb, 2012

Container shipping the world in a box

The world biggest container ship

Why is the road transport so expensive?

I used to work as a “transport specialist” in a distribution center called “Distribuidora Alcarin”, in Venezuela. Before reading the post, I invited you to take a look to the video on the home page of the company. (ALCARIN HOME PAGE)

Alcarin Logo

The video shows an organize distribution system were trucks come into the distribution center; pick the order and move on to the stores to deliver all kinds of goods. This company also works directly with the clients and with a very complex activity that is called Cross docking. I can tell that transportation by road is nothing but a complex activity, were a lot of factors are involved. It is not only about taking good decision, having good control of indicators, a good GPS system or a specialist logistic group, sometimes it is also about how lucky you are. So, I won’t use references this time, I will write about my own experience.

When I started at the company, I was supposed to work in the principal office, with indicators, charges for theft or misplacement and with directly contact with the clients, making agreements and passing information to the coordinators of each operation. Suddenly, I knew all the names, vehicles plate, and the history of almost the half of the transport fleet. Can you imagine why? I can tell because of the transport charges.

Goods become property of the carriers in the exactly moment when the truck doors get closed “that’s when you start to pray”. You may say: “You are overreacting”, how can it be?. Here are some examples of especial events and robberies that happen during one year and a half:

– Because of poor conditions of the roads, goods can suffer all kind of damage. They may fall, break and bend. But, the must curios thing is when trucks flipped in the wrong area, and people from near village’s loot the truck. So, whom you blame? The government for the conditions of the road, the driver for being distracted, the people from the village?. Anyway, this is all about money, and no matter how will pay and how much, it is a loss anyway.

– Road transport provides limited protection to goods from rain, sun, dust and wind. You can try to take care of all details, the conditions of the trucks, documents, measures, etc, but there is always a small hole in the roof of the truck, that may damage something. And once again, even if you get pay, there is already a big loss of money and reputation.
– Boxes suddenly disappear, units from big boxes disappear, and even trucks disappear. And one last time, your money and reputation is already gone.

I can keep on giving you examples and anecdotes, but the point is that road transportation is so expensive, not only because of the delays, uneconomical long distances, spending on gasoline, vehicle maintenance, and so on. But, because of any amount of details that cannot be controlled. However, I can tell this has been one of the best experiences of my life; these people have a very different way of living and I have learned a lot from them. It is a complex and ambiguous job, but don’t know how it is special and interesting at the same time.

General information about Mercadona

During our next lesson we will discuss about Mercadona. Everyone of us knows Mercadona now, but especially the international students are not that familiar with the supermarket as the Spanish students are. Therefore I just want to give the most important information about Mercadona in summary.

Mercadona is a Spanish supermarket chain which is family owned and was founded in 1977. Mercadona started as a small butcher shop in Valencia and displayed a notable growth. In 1981 the company started to expand worldwide. (Compare

Nowadays Mercadona has locations in 46 provinces of 15 autonomous communities, owns more than 1,100 stores and occupies more than 70,000 employees. (Compare

Mercadona is really rich in using new innovations. So Mercadona was the first Spanish company to implement the barcode scanning system in its stores. Furthermore Mercadona has an automated distribution center. The modern adaptability of Mercadona is still growing  with the needs of the consumer because their main goals are to meet the customers’ needs and satisfy them by low prices. (Compare

Bild in Originalgröße anzeigen

The DHL importance in F1

F1 championship has just started and it’s a sport that I really like. This competition is organized almost over the world (Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australia). F1 has the best engineers, aerodynamic, tyres, engines, technology, and of course the best pilots and we are lucky to have a pilot among them, Fernando Alonso who has won 2 championships. In summary, F1 is the highest class of single-seater auto racing.

Here, in Valencia, it was held a race (urban circuit) during five years (2008-2012). I had the opportunity to see the enormous trucks next to me once in Harbor Avenue and the trainings. It was amazing!

You can think that it can be easy to have ready all the cars, spare parts, petrol, tools, machines, tyres, etc. but it isn’t. Logistics at F1 could be the most important aspect because everything has to be on time and at the precise moment, and that’s quite difficult.

DHL has been the official logistics partner since 2004. DHL is in charge of transporting those things that I’ve mentioned before, including the overseas transportation. This means about 400 tonnes of material and they need 100 trucks for the Europe races and 7 aircrafts for the other races.

They work very hard almost 365 days a year. DHL has to have everything under control and start working about 9 days before each Grand Prix, though sometimes there are only 4 days. They always work against the clock. In addition, DHL guarantees a safe and accurate transport. And they are able to deliver express shipments in just 24 hours.

Each team goes over 160.000 kilometers a year along 19 different destinations which is very awesome.

As you all can see, DHL has an impressive logistics. Maybe it’s one of the most important companies in the world in this sector. Moreover, as we can see in the races, DHL has an important and strong advertising campaign which helps to make it bigger.


Why Hollywood?


People often ask me what my favorite state in the US is, and there is only one obvious response – California. Most Californians would agree, and be hard-pressed to think it’s because of any kind of pat “state-rioticness.” California is nothing short of every kind of awesome. It is the state that has changed the US and the world technologically as well as culturally. It reeks of natural beauty, from the granite sky-scrapers of Yosemite overlooking the bluest river, tallest waterfalls, and greenest forest I have ever seen, to the always-sunny San Diego, to a desert holding the record for hottest place in the world (and arguably the most beautiful desert as well). In the US, we have the tallest mountain, deepest valley, most beautiful beaches (and women), glorious forests…


And then there’s Los Angeles. Attracting visitors from around the world, to be left welcomed by a dirty, crime-ridden shit-hole that’s as much big as it is ugly. However, this giant urban mass has somehow managed to birth one of the most well-known industries in the world, known for bright lights, glamour, beauty, fortune, and fame. The industry is named just as frequently by what it produces as much as by where it’s located – Hollywood. But why would such an ugly city attract an industry with practically the opposite image? The answer lies in Logistics.

Almost a century-and-a-half ago, the film industry (then silent films) in the US was dominated by the Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Co. in New Jersey, who held various patents, and was not afraid to use them. To avoid litigation, filmgoers fled elsewhere, and a film company called Biograph fled west and found a home in Los Angeles, which at the time, like most of California, was filled with orchards and farms.

However, California offered the film industry an ideal combination of factors. Not only did it help film producers escape litigation from the other side of the country, but also offered excellent weather conditions. The lights were not strong at the time, so films often relied on a sunny climate for good lighting conditions. Furthermore, California’s scenic diversity is hard to match, offering mountains, beaches, deserts, valleys, cliffs, islands, urban areas, suburban areas, farms, jungles… and almost any setting a film producer might want; and all within just a few hours distance from Los Angeles. The icing on the cake was the low wages that made the costly process of making a film less so. Biograph spread the news of the location, and as the film industry exploded, so did the urban mass of Los Angeles.

The story of Los Angeles is a complicated one. But at least next time you are driving down the streets of Bel Air looking at the homes of some of the richest celebrities on this Earth, only to have your tire blown out by a gauntlet of pot-holes, it will all make a little more sense.

The Cold Chain

This topic came out while I was the other day at the supermarket and I saw the multiple destinations from where the fresh products came and their package dates, which was surprisingly just a few days before. So I thought it could be interesting to know a bit more about how a “cold chain” system works.

General speaking, a Cold Supply Chain refers to all those products that demand to keep a specific temperature during its supplying process. It ensures to keep the quality until the good is provided to the customer. The most common ones would be: frozen food, seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, medicines, vaccines and chemicals but for sure that others come to your mind. While pharmaceutical products should keep a temperature between 2-8 degrees, in the case of food temperatures should be even lower in some cases such as refrigerated products.

The cold chain shares the same important issues such as time, security or reliability with the common supply chain. Moreover, it demands a higher control and accuracy. The reason is basically, because and inefficiency can derive on a huge waste of products that is translated to a waste of money.

Here you can find some recommendations and needs:

–       Well prepared equipment. Cold rooms at airports or other transportation hubs are needed. As well as special refrigeration trucks, reefer ships and reefer containers.

–       Compact design in order to be able to pack as much quantity as possible.

–       Control processes during all the supply process are demanded. Related with this, workers should have the knowledge and information enough related with the product.

–       Study and analyze the country regulations.

–       Have a back-up plan. In the case of medicines or vaccines, it can help even so save lives.

Finally, I share a couple of videos that might be of your interest. The first one is in a big scale how a big company such as American Airlines deals with the cold supply chain. The second one, in a smaller scale, shows the importance of systems that are needed to provide and store pharmaceutical products.

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The Traveling Salesman Problem

Hello to everyone! The topic I want to share with you is about The traveling salesman problem, I find it very interesting because we can apply it in everyday life actually, in my case I like traveling a lot, so these methods can be useful for me to be able to visit as so many cities posible, find the shortest and best route to fallow, so I can save money and have time for traveling in other places later.

The traveling salesmane problem is basically find the shortest path from the begining to end, going to through all the cities only once and returns to the start point. I think is a very good way to optimize time, distance and costs, and a very organized way of working too. The traveling salesman problem asks the following question: Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city?


But, it is not as easy as it sounds, there are so many applications to solve this problem, it requieres an specific procedure to follow, depending of  wich methods we are going yo use, to achieve the best outcome. I will mention some of them:

As a Graph Problem

TSP can be modelled as an undirected weighted graph, such that cities are the graph’s vertices, paths are the graph’s edges, and a path’s distance is the edge’s length. It is a minimization problem starting and finishing at a specified vertex after having visited each other vertex exactly once. Often, the model is a complete graph (i.e. each pair of vertices is connected by an edge). If no path exists between two cities, adding an arbitrarily long edge will complete the graph without affecting the optimal tour.

Asymmetric and Symetric

In the symmetric TSP, the distance between two cities is the same in each opposite direction, forming an undirected graph, This symmetry halves the number of possible solutions. In the assymetric TSP, paths may not exist in both directions or the distances might be different, forming a directed graph. Traffic collisions, one-way streets and airfares for cities with different departure and arrival fees are examples of how this symmetry could break down.

Symmetric TSP with four cities

Even, due the complexity of TSP, it can be calculated by making formulas or by a computing solutions, with a spcecyfic programs or softwares able to solve the problematic.
So when I have many choices of cities to visit and I dont know what to do, definitetly I will take a time to analyse the paths, and  choose the shortest and best route for me.
Here’s a video that may help you to understand the traveling salesman problem concept with an easy explanation  .

Source: “Travelling salesman problem”

Trans European Transport network

European Union approved last January a new transport policy with the objective to create an efficient transport network. The outcome that they are looking for is to connect Europe by the four cardinals points. For this project they provide about €26 billion to construct transport infrastructures.

ten t



For Spain brings the opportunity to remove our insolated train situation. This insolated was due to prevent invasions for outsiders in the Franco’s age. The current problem is that we have a different railroad width than the rest of Europe. Its width avoid use of train to entry armies and supplies in this hypothetical invasion, now it increases the transportation cost due to use special train (like TALGO) or unload-load the freight and passengers to continue their travel. Several locations aspire to get some of these funds in order to increase their volume of goods moved by their logistics facilities. This is the case of the Valencia sea port, in its 2015 strategic plan includes an extension of the rail road lines. One of them is the famous Mediterranean corridor which will join the east of Spain with the south of France, and Europe too of course. Other is the line to Zaragoza and north of Spain.


I personally wish that these infrastructures will carry out to increase the competiveness of Valencia area

Intermodal Logistics Platform

Supply chains have become more sophisticated in accurately forecasting responding to customers demand. Now it is often to move for longer distances and the cost and capacity are critical points. Then rail road is coming back as a cheaper mean of transport to move big load through countries. But when we are talking about door to door deliveries the election is clear: Trucks. Where the railroad doesn’t arrive, truck is the better option, providing distribution center the goods to distribute among the cities and villages. In the case of big transportation, the maritime transport is the biggest capacity and longest distances, between continents. This is the cheapest option but its main constrain is that only can be shipped in a sea/river port.

The question is how to mix this different mean of transport in order to make easy mix them and reach lower cost and high loads. The first think is to use a standard “space” for transport: TEU. The containers are able to move by trucks, trains and vessels. This is the main reason to the trend to conglomerate distribution centers which allows the three models of transportation: Intermodal Logistic Platform.

For illustrate this concept we must to think in the Valencia sea port as example. In the Sagunto facilities of this port you can ship anything of merchandises from truck or train to vessel and vice versa. Sea ports are increasing its network connections in order to be more effectives and giving better services.

In this case I centered the example in the mix road-train-vessel, but we can abroad the concept to a logistics hub were aggregates different logistics companies, mean of transport (even air) and distribution centers, as you can see in the video of CTV and Menphis Intermodal center.


How is an aircraft sections transport?

I choose the article because I love travelling and I was really surprised how they profited all the means of transport by road, river, sea and aircrafts to move the huge pieces.

Airbus has developed its own transportation system to airlift the large, pre-assembled sections of its jetliners from their production locations to final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg.  This service is performed by a fleet of five A300-600ST Super Transporters.

The A380’s size means its fuselage and wing sections are shipped via a surface transportation network that includes specially-commissioned roll-on roll-off ships to carry these sections from production sites in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom to the French city of Bordeaux. From there, sections are transported by barge along the Garonne River to the Toulouse final assembly line.


A380 takes place in different sites across Europe. Each site produces completely equipped sections, which are transported to final assembly .

Most A380 sections are transported to Toulouse by sea, river and road. A number of smaller components, such as the vertical fin produced in Stade or the nose section produced in Meaulte, France, are carried in Airbus’ Beluga fleet.

 A specially-designed Airbus river barge carries an A380 fuselage and aft section through Bordeaux, France, on their way to the final assembly line in Toulouse.


Docks and Safety at the Warehouse

Hello everybody, I am not quite sure you are familiar with the docks and safety system carried out at the warehouses to make sure  goods from suppliers are stored properly. Before I begin, did you know that, A FedEx agent died after he got pinned between a truck and a loading dock? Another shocking story, A man was crushed  after assisting or engaging a truck coming to the loading bay. Eye witneses say, he was caught in the middle between the truck and the loading bay walls or doors.

In distribution centers and warehouses the loading docks are the primary location of movement of product coming into and moving out , these docks could either be exterior or fully enclosed which typically provide direct Access to storage rooms and freight elevators. The most common hazards which occur are:

Forklifts overturning

Employees being hit by forklifts and other powered trucks

Slips, trips and falls

Trailer creep

Unsecured loads

Debris on floor

Chemical Splash

Taking into account the above, some strict measures are to be carried out to avoid these fatal accident.

  • Shippers often bundle or crate items with strapping(Use safety goggles and leather gloves)
  • Chemical exposure or leaking chemicals(Use the recommended PPE:Goggles and face masks including the right filter cartridges,Heat- and chemical- resistant gauntlet-style safety gloves,Heat and chemical-resistant full aprons)
  • Dock Levellers and portable dock plates, this might happen when a lift truck may hit the dock leveler or its frame if the operator does not point the forks up while driving into the trailer(Make sure that your lift truck is checked for hydraulic drift, which can cause forks to point down unexpectedly)
  • Poor delivery weather conditions,If a truck is parked on a slope outside the building, ice from the roof may slide back towards the bay door and hit a worker on the dock or cause the dock to become slippery(Ask your employer for equipment such as shovels, salt or sand, and flashlights)
  • Lifting below the knees and above the shoulders (Avoid lifting , bending or reaching overhead.use specialized equipment for heavy loads)


I find this link very useful:


Batch Picking Warehouse

Hi Guys, as my Slide Show is related to the Batching Method in Warehousing, I found interesting to talk about it and to explain what it means because is a very important part in Logistics and is one of the method  most used to ship products from warehouses until the shops or supermarkets.

First of all, let you know that warehousing professionals consider order picking as the highest-priority area for productivity improvements. This is because the order picking-the process of the order picking-the process of retrieving products from storage in response to a specific customer request- is the most labour-intensive operation in warehouses with manual systems ans a very capital-intensive operation in warehouses with automated systems (Goetschalckx and Ashayeri, 1989; Drury, 1988, Tompkins et al., 2003)

Basic Warehouse Design


When orders are fairly large, each order can be picked individually, however, when orders are small there is a potential for reducing travel times by picking a set of orders in a single picking tour. These is the common case of food, non-food, fashion and e-commerce, and this method is called Batch Picking or Multi-Order Picking.

Batch picking  is characterised by combining product demand from multiple orders into one pick instruction. After order picking, the goods are sorted/consolidated by order or shipping destination.  This method increases throughput and operator efficiency. It optimises order picking efficiency by maximising pick quantities and minimising operator walking distances. It prevents congestion in the aisles that occurs during traditional order picking. Orders are sorted/consolidated by order/destination automatically, reducing manual handling.

For sure, this short video will help you to understand and view the whole system of batching:

Hope guys you will understand the idea of batch picking with this short explanaion.



The Maersk hugeness

Last Friday I was near to the harbour, in Pinedo. Suddenly, about 20-25 Maerks trucks appeared. In that moment, I thought about Captain Phillips film in which Somali pirates try to board a Maersk ship. So, I decided to write a new post about this enormous transportation company.

Although A.P. Moller-Maersk Group is a Danish business conglomerate based in Copenhagen, it’s working worldwide, in more than 135 different countries, in Europe, South America, North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. They are always focussed on growth markets.

Maersk works in a big number of activities in different business sectors (transportation, oil, APM terminals, retail, drilling, etc.) but mainly works in transportation and energy activities. Consequently, since 1996 it has been the biggest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world. We can have a look at the following video and see its business activities:

From my point of view is amazing how Maersk works, its work keys are quality, service and reliability, and Maersk gets them with effort and sacrifice. Its purpose is deliver products anywhere and anytime, always on time. Furthermore, security and safety have high priority.

I think they have the most important supply chain in the world because of all the activities they do. In addition, They have the biggest ship in the world in which fits 18,000 containers, simply incredible.

Finally, I would share with you this very interesting video in which you can see the majesty of Maersk:

MAN TeleMatics

MAN TeleMatics® – the telematics service for maximum transport efficiency

Consistently increase your fleet economy. With MAN TeleMatics®, you can significantly reduce the fuel consumption of your fleet, optimise loads and maximise the economy of your company. With the telematics service package tailored to your individual requirements, you’ll be well ahead of the competition.

More clarity and planning reliability for dispatchers

Control the use of your trucks efficiently with an individual MAN TeleMatics® solution. MAN TeleMatics® shows you the current locations of your vehicles at all times clearly and conveniently on a digital map and also provides you with a range of technical vehicle data. The analysis of deployment data, total weight and the topography of the route reveals areas where there is still a potential for savings. Shipments can therefore be managed reliably and, above all, efficiently. Dispatchers can utilise their fleets to optimum effect, while avoiding unloaded journeys and detours. Fuel consumption can thereby be reduced by up to 10 percent.

Vehicle deployment analysis at any time

MAN TeleMatics® provides you with the most important information in real time. Communication between the vehicle, driver and dispatcher provides a transparent source for fleet management and therefore ensures the long-term success of your company.

MAN TeleMatics® tutorial video

With the Fleet Monitor, you always know the current location of your vehicle fleet. Detailed driver and vehicle deployment analyses show improvement potentials and provide the basis for training programmes. Orders, tours and messages can be collected and assigned to specific vehicles. The maintenance information portal gives you active forward-looking maintenance planning.

In this video you learn everything about the most important functions offered by MAN TeleMatics®:

What´s behind your Internet shopping?

I really like that post! It’s very interesting what complex processes are connected with one simple buying process online. By using different kinds of machines or robots a huge amount of money can be saved but of course this represents danger of jobs. I’d like to add a very crazy project from Amazon concerning the future delivery. Amazon thought about delivering by drones. By the use of drones the desired product could reach the customer within about 30 minutes. Products with a weight of 2,5 kilogram could be delivered over 16 kilometers. This drone projects just seems crazy at the moment and you can’t imagine that in reality. But at the moment Amazon is even testing some small prototypes. I am very excited how this project will develop in the future…

The blog of Logistics at MGEPS at UPV

When you are shopping online, for sure you are not thinking about the massive distribution network required to bring you that special product you are buying. Well, it is a huge work, and companies like Amazon have to invest heavily to keep competitive in this sector. (Rapacki. E, 2014)

In march 2012 Amazon acquire Kiva Systems (an innovative robotic order picking system) for $ 775 million in cash (Gilmore, 2013), from that moment, Amazon warehouses has hundreds of “autonomous mobile robots” scurry around the floor and delivered entire shelves to stationary pick stations, where laser scanners and indicator lights assist people in processing orders(Mills. M, 2012).

How does this acquisition improve Amazon productivity?. “It´s seen that this new technology triples productivity while simultaneously improving the seed, accuracy and flexibility of the operation” (Kiva System, 2014). Frist of all, working with robots is much more efficient than sending…

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A brief talk about the seaport

According to the definition from Wikipedia, “A seaport is further categorized as a “cruise port” or a “cargo port”. Additionally, “cruise ports” are also known as a “home port” or a “port of call”. The “cargo port” is also further categorized into a “bulk” or “break bulk port” or as a “container port”.” Well, in the logistic way, we mainly talk about the container port.

Honestly, I really didn’t know that there were more than 5 ports from China in the top 10 rank of world biggest ports until I studied the case in detail. As a man from Shanghai, I know it is the biggest port in China, I feel very proud of the fact and the same time I also feel guilty that I didn’t know that it was the biggest port in the world now.

Port throughput is the amount of cargo that passes through a port and is measured in volume or units and categorized by cargo type. Container port throughput is usually measured in the number of TEUs moved. The handling capacity of ports is measured in terms of TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). Based on this unit of calculation, we got the 10 ship ports as the biggest ports in the world.


Source data: The Journal of Commerce, August 20, 2012 and August 19, 2013 and ports

From the table, it is easy to find that the 10 biggest ports in the world are all located in Asia, the dominance of Asia in container port throughput signifies the importance of the region in international trade. The country with the largest share of container throughput continues to be China, with seven of its ports, rules the modern container port industry which titling China the world trade leader.

Why does the seaport become so important in the logistics area? I think mostly due to the booming shipping trade. Although we got other transportation way to deliver the goods, by the air or by land, the shipping by sea is always the best way to transport goods as more as you want.


 Here I bring some brief introduction of the most important and influenced ports in the world.

  1. Shanghai (China): Having a total of five working areas, the port of Shanghai became the biggest port in the world, surpassing the port of Singapore. The port of Shanghai is a source of great economic activity in the Yangtze River area which has helped further the economic status of regions like Zhejiang, Jiangsu.   SHHuangpuDocksLLQ15127
  2.  Singapore (Singapore): Once rated as the world’s largest port, the port of Singapore has slipped a couple of places and is now ranked third in the same category. From the Singaporean economic perspective, the port of Singapore plays a very important role as it caters to the re-export market on a mammoth scale. eightfish-night-view-of-the-port-of-singapore-authority-psa-in-singapore
  3. Rotterdam (The Netherlands): The only European marine port listed, the Rotterdam port is ranked fourth in the list of biggest marine ports in the world. It also served as the largest port in the world for 42-years between 1962 and 2004 before it was surpassed by Singapore and Shanghai, in that order. The Rotterdam port is the largest port in the whole of Europe.rotterdam_port 

What´s behind your Internet shopping?

When you are shopping online, for sure you are not thinking about the massive distribution network required to bring you that special product you are buying. Well, it is a huge work, and companies like Amazon have to invest heavily to keep competitive in this sector. (Rapacki. E, 2014)

In march 2012 Amazon acquire Kiva Systems (an innovative robotic order picking system) for $ 775 million in cash (Gilmore, 2013), from that moment, Amazon warehouses has hundreds of “autonomous mobile robots” scurry around the floor and delivered entire shelves to stationary pick stations, where laser scanners and indicator lights assist people in processing orders(Mills. M, 2012).

How does this acquisition improve Amazon productivity?. “It´s seen that this new technology triples productivity while simultaneously improving the seed, accuracy and flexibility of the operation” (Kiva System, 2014). Frist of all, working with robots is much more efficient than sending people through warehouses to retrieve the goods and it also improved picking time. In addition, it requires less material handling equipment (such as pallet jacks, forklifts, conveyors) than traditional warehouses. Here you can see a video that will help you to understand what I´m talking about.

What we are observing is the migration of robots out of the manufacturing sector into the supply chain where we handle and deliver stuff, leading many people to assume “robots kill jobs”. What do you think about this?

How to put 150 pallets inside a truck in an hour

I have chosen this topic because my OneSlideShow was about this. It is a really interesting system as it helps to reduce a lot the shipping time. I had heard about it before but I had not got the chance to get a bit deeper on it until now.

The ATLS (Automatic Truck Loading System) automatists the loading and unloading of trucks and trailers with products either with pallets, slip sheets, racks or containers in the warehouses.

 It´s main goal is related with the time it saves as it can handle around 150 pallets per hour in any possible load pattern. Nevertheless, it has a lot more benefits such as:

– Eliminates human mistakes: everything is controlled and automatically mechanized.

– Reduces accidents: reduces the amount of wheelbarrows and other mechanisms used for load and unload.

– Allows a big flexibility in the sense of pallets, type of trucks.

– Environmental impact: connected to the electrical wire eliminates the use of batteries.

-Reduce space for shipping.

About the process, it can be briefly explained in the following steps:

-The truck is placed in the door. An automatist order is sent to the ATSL which comes to the specific door.

– The ATSL opens its doors and measures the size of the truck.

– The pallets are transported to the ATSL. It can be done basically in three different ways: with a conveyor belt placed up of the doors or directly in front of the doors or using  AGV (automated guided vehicle).

– The load module of the ATSL goes into the truck and places it´s load.

– It closes the doors and goes to the following door.

You can see all this process in a visual way in the following video. In this case they are using the conveyor belt in front of the door.

In case you want to see other cases, you can go to this link. There you will find a lot of real cases with the different ways of moving the pallets to the ATLS.

Fonts: www. loading-automation .com;  www. atlsinc. com;  www. ancra. nl

Roman Logistics in the Conquest of Hispania

Over 2000 years ago, a strong campaign had been under way by the Roman Empire to conquer Hispania, or what was in part present day Spain. A study of this conquest can show timeless lessons in logistics.


The conquest of Hispania did not come without difficulties, namely due to the character of supplying Roman warfare. Roman legionaries relied on impedimenta, or supplies which they carried with them to the vanguard and afore, as well as commeatus, or the restock of supplies coming from the imperial capital.


The amount of impedimenta which could be brought to battlegrounds was of course limited to the weight which could be carried. Use of pack animals, namely donkeys, helped carry additional supplies for the campaign. The further supplies, commeatus, came from the capital through the use of what were then sophisticated supply lines. These lines took various forms adapting to the difficulties of the location. The use of bridges and carrying ships were used, as well as the employment of third party suppliers, or publicani, hired as private contractors to ship the supplies.


Supplying campaigns could of course be costly due to the remuneration of the publicani, or the use of resources in the form of men and food, which caused problems if a campaign was neglected in the home front, as politicians limited the allocation of resources to the legions. The soldiers then needed to rely on the procurement of their own resources. Harvesting food and wood could be a dangerous task on enemy lines, due to the time required, and the need to spread thin, making them a target for ambush. Often, legions would purchase from local vendors, or in one case, created trade agreements with the Celtibereans to organize trade on the mountain tops.


The Romans 2000 years ago faced many of the same difficulties in logistics as present day organizations, and these timeless examples underline some of the questions to be asked in regards to logistics. Such questions include how many resources to dedicate to a campaign, how much a campaign should finance itself and how much by the rest of the organization, what third parties or agreements could be necessary, and much more. Although the answers today might be quite a bit more complex, the problems remain very much the same..


Over 6000 years ago, a crude old farmer from the Ancient Chinese province of Quiansang and took a portion of his Spring’s harvest of rice, and met with a gentleman in the neighboring hills to exchange them for a dried bag of his finest tea leaves. Thus, the idea of outsourcing was born.

If you are wondering where Quiansang is. . .  I don’t know. I made it up, as well as the story. But the point is, the ideas behind outsourcing and the ancient act of trade are basically the same. If multiple producers focus on one or few products, they can create more due of expertise, standardization and so on. Then, by trading, a community of producers can create wealth. Currency was adopted to make this trade easier, and we eventually arrived to where we are now.

As ancient as the concept of outsourcing may be, it had not been formally recognized as a business strategy until the late 1980′s (see “Managing the Outsourced Enterprise” by Rick Mullin). The study of outsourcing is focused on answering the question of what a given company should do themselves, and what they should have someone else do. Like most questions in business, there is no one right answer.

To decide if one should outsource a business area, the first two questions should be if is it a strategically important area, and does it contribute to organizational success. If the answers are no and yes, respectively, outsourcing is likely necessary.

When choosing an organization to outsource to, much consideration needs to be done. Areas to consider include:
Price, congruence of the two companies, and hidden costs and risks.

Price is one of the first and last thing to consider in outsourcing decisions. An organization can quickly eliminate potential providers by deciding what they simply can’t afford. However, the broader area of cost must be firmly assessed before price is considered, or one may well find out they can’t afford not to pay a high price. For example, if a computer network stops working, costing $100 each hour its down, you should be willing to pay the technician who can fix it faster a little more.

When an organization confronts the idea of outsourcing, they need to understand just as well who they are, as well as who the outside organization/individual they are considering handing over responsibility to. To do this, an organization needs to take a look back at their mission and vision statement, and choose organizations that share the same goals, and fit specific business needs.  For instance, if you’re a lawyer, you probably have access to sensitive information, and would not want to outsource your IT to a company with a poor security reputation. Likewise, if you are a military with a mission of fighting terrorism, it is perhaps not the best idea to outsource retaliation to rebel groups with links to terrorist organizations. . . For instance.

Another area to look at includes hidden costs, which can come fairly obvious areas like fees or price fluctuations, as well as less obvious areas such as  delivery delays, market instability, trouble adjusting to capacity changes, and so on. An organization must do their due diligence in assessing an outsourcing company, and a risk premium should be included into the price of the good or service. For instance, a 10 euro product in Greece is not worth the same as a 10 euro product in Germany, regardless how similar those products might be in quality and all other areas.

Outsourcing is a relatively new study, and is growing extremely significant. While no definitive guide can be made with all the right answers as to how to outsource correctly, it can be said that it has certainly become a lot more complicated than bartering rice and tea leaves.


In my opinion, a good example of management that shows the best logistics capabilities is a Swedish company IKEA. IKEA’s competitive advantage on the global market is very strong and unique. Business strategy of this Swedish company combines following goals: delivery of high quality products at the lowest possible prices, market expansion, social and environmental responsibility. Based on its core competences, IKEA makes an effort to ensure better life conditions for people. Crucial for IKEA’s business success is effective organisation of processes in supply chain. IKEA continuously reduces the environmental impact of the transportation of its products. IKEA’s aim is to create and maintain flexible transport solutions in order to meet all the service needs of customers in the most efficient and environmentally aware way. Wherever possible, IKEA uses railway and combined road-rail transport. Effective organisation of deliveries requires high filling rates. So, the most important purpose is the achievement of the critical mass for effectiveness of shipments. IKEA sources 17% of its furniture and home furnishing products from Poland and cooperates with about 80 Polish producers. The most important purpose is the effective organisation of shipments from Poland to distribution centres and stores. To achieve this goal IKEA implemented the project of the supply chain structure reconfiguration. New network design includes close cooperation with Polish suppliers. The chosen ones play the role of consolidation point in IKEA’s supply chain.

IKEA’s Supply Chain


Comparing picking ways

From my point of view, industrial automation is a theme that directly affects to the employees. Every time, companies operate with less people, an example of that we can see it in Mercadona, a video of a previous post shows how this company works in its warehouses, everything is automated, they don’t need any operators.

On the lower level are semi-automated processes like Pick by voice, Pick to light and RF Scanning (handheld). How does each one work?

  • Pick by voice: The warehouse operators wear headsets and microphones in order to be guided by the system to complete every order. The system gives quantity and location instructions and these must be confirmed. It´s a very easy way to work.

Lydia voice

  • Pick to light: At first, the warehouse operators have to read the bars code and afterwards, lights appear in every slot what indicates the quantity you must pick. When the operator finishes every action confirms pressing the button and the light disappear.


  • RF Scanning (handheld): The warehouse operators have a device  where they can see order position in the warehouse and the units that they have to pick. It’s based on bar codes and the operators confirm every pick by reading. This system is the most widely used by a wide margin.

RF scanning

Now, we have a table where these systems are compared (valuation between 1-3):


Last warehouse logistics trends show that pick by voice is becoming a great solution and is expanding slowly around the industrial world.  This video shows how it works easily:

Sustainable logistics at Metro

Last week my topic for the one slide show was the logistics at the company “Metro”. Sustainability gets more and more important and Metro follows really interesting guidelines concerning their logistics, so I don’t want to detain that.

Metro is a holding company of wholesale and retail enterprise, the company has about 2,200 outlets in 32 different countries and distinguish by a very good distribution network. The Metro logistics show positive ecological balance, the utilized trucks are nearly full, empty runs are minimized and detention times could be reduced drastically. All retail processes are organized efficient and cost-effective. Metro counts on close cooperation with the manufacturing industry as well as with their suppliers. Only sustainable suppliers are selected. Within the Policy for Sustainable Sourcing concerning environmental, social and economic terms, high guidelines have to be met. So Metro obligates their suppliers to animal welfare and to offer acceptable working conditions for their employees. Furthermore Metro tries to support their suppliers. Within the project “Star Farm”, the company helped Chinese producers to fulfill international quality standards and achieve continuous traceability to food producers, farmers and fishmen. (Compare:


I’ve just read the blog about Walmart. In 2012 I’ve spent one semester in the United States and I was really impressed by Walmart and their expanded range of products. Today I was wondering why this retail giant is not represented in Germany…

Walmart dominates a big part of the whole US market.  After the list of “Fortune Global 500” Walmart is the second successful company of the world based on the turnover.  In 2012 the store sales reached $443.9 billion. (Compare:
Why should this company not also be successful in a European country? So in 1997 Walmart tried to enter the German market by starting with 21 branches all over the country. But after diverse changes in the top management and high losses Walmart had to leave Germany in 2006 again. But why did they fail? The short story of Walmart in Germany is marked by crises and cultural misunderstandings. First of all the German buyers didn’t like the American philosophy of selling, they felt bothered by reception guy at the entrances of the stores and also the employees didn’t like the daily rituals, so called “appeals” at work. Moreover the American company could not reach the German market conditions. (Compare:

Walmart Germany

“Clearly, the failed experiment was a severe blow to the company’s pocketbook and pride. And while no one can predict where a company as aggressive and acquisitive as Walmart will turn up next, presumably, they will pick up the slack by opening a store in Libya.” (

Walmart: Science and technology are the primary productive forces!

After studying the case of the Walmart logistics management, I have to say that its success is the organic combination with both good business model and advanced information technology applications. Through the analysis we can find that Walmart fully uses of modern information and communication technologies to build up electronic logistics management system. Including the satellite telecommunication system which surprise me a lot, I think they are the unique company with its own satellite in the retail industry. And the RFID technic was also first widely used in the logistics area by them. Due to these, Walmart not only wins a cost advantage, but more importantly, has got a deeper understanding on customers’ needs and suppliers’ situation through this system, thus makes the relationship between suppliers and customers closer and has improved the speed to respond to the market and the ability to meet customer demands, which has earned a sustained competitive advantage and has been always the leader in the retail industry. Walmart’s development experience tells us that the foundation of modern retail development is modern logistics operation system, and in order to strengthen the foundation, the modern logistics system must rely on modern information and communication technology, we must develop electronic logistics. In comparison, China’s retail sector is still very weak, there is rarely a retail company with a good basis of electronic logistics system. So for that, I want to make some suggestions to the Chinese retail enterprises:

  1. Build up the own distribution center.

With the trend of retail chain stores, logistics distribution centers become increasingly important, it is one of the important sources of enterprises to reduce operating costs.

  1. Use the third party logistics.

With the advancement of technology, the division of production is more and more specific, there have been many companies undertake specialized distribution tasks, some of the chains don’t build own distribution center anymore, instead relying on the socialization distribution centers. Socialization distribution center is particularly applicable in China.