As enormous volumes of global imports and exports flow to and from North Africa, some of today's most interesting companies are dedicated to changing and enhancing the ways that this trade happens.
One of them is Haven -- a firm that has developed a comprehensive online platform to connect commodity shippers and other stakeholders in a globally connected world.
With Haven tools, users can process bills of lading and other documents through the digital platform. Supply chain visibility is also built in to track cargo during the shipping process.
“Haven is working with shippers to capture data from each of the equipment owners and bring our customers greater insights into their supply chain and inventory,” Haven CEO Matt Tillman told Maghreb News Wire on Sept. 1. “In the past, shippers relied on information about the entire ship or track.”
Now, he said, new technologies have made the entire process more granular, driving efficiencies and capabilities.
“As one of our customers recently stated, ‘now we track individual bags of coffee, but it's only a matter of time before we can track the bean.’" Tillman said.
Describing the ways that regional trade works in the Maghreb, Tillman said Northern Africa is an established exporter of various minerals, as well as oil.
“Algeria itself exports about 90 percent of its oil to Europe, and in return it receives wheat, corn and automobiles,” he said.
Tillman also suggested that shippers will look to countries with the best “rule of law” and the easiest customs processes in order to trade aggressively. That, he said, is going to require detailed analysis.
“Trading in these regions requires a strong audit trail because trade doesn't only involve the buyer and seller but also insurance companies, transportation companies and usually banks,” Tillman said. “At Haven, we're seeing a strong move towards traceable collaboration.”
New technologies like Haven, Tillman said, can change regional shipping, but companies also need to match software and other resources to their needs by doing research into their core operations. Tillman mentioned assessing goals like faster shipping times, fewer disputes, less operational overhead, and looking at the ease of adoption for new tools.
“Once a shipper determines that technology will be of value, they should commit to partnering with their vendor to ensure a successful deployment,” Tillman said. “A small test is a great way to start showing value, and it will do a lot to build trust throughout the organization.”