PSA BDP ACC Gigafactory Dunkirk 3
ACC's gigafactory in Dunkirk. Photo: PSA BDP

BDP, the logistics provider recently acquired by Singapore’s PSA, has signed a deal to handle batteries destined for electric vehicles.

In a deal with Automated Cells Company (ACC), the new PSA BDP will handle logistics at ACC’s first European ‘gigafactory’, a 22,000 sqm purpose-built warehouse in Billy-Berclau, France.

Eddy Ng, head of group commercial and supply chain sustainability solutions at PSA, told The Loadstar: “What we need from the supply chain for batteries is a total end-to-end constitution; not just safety, but eventually circularity, working on the reverse logistics of enabling the return and repurposing of batteries.”

Lithium-ion batteries can pose significant safety issues during transportation, with a risk of high-intensity fires, and PSA says it looked for visibility within the supply chain.

“We need to be involved with trustworthy partners that will enable transparency and reliability and avoid some of the problems with shipping lithium-ion batteries,” said Mr Ng.

One solution for PSA is a two-year project launched this week at Singapore Maritime Week, is a ‘collaborative supply chain visibility system’, coordinated by Mikael Lind, of the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE).

Labelled a virtual watch tower (VWT), the visibility created will not prevent events such as fire or missed loading, but will bring together a supply chain community to find solutions to these events.

According to Mr Lind the project is “a shipper-driven terminal-centric initiative”.

The development group has 19 partners and six advisory parties, ranging from port operators such as PSA International and Ports of Sweden, shippers including Stora Enso and Aleima, government agencies and academic institutions, such as RISE and Chalmers University.

The system leverages the strategic position of ports in supply chains and the “power of connectivity and AI to realise a unique collaborative concept,” according to Mr Lind.

He added: “In a VWT community, a shipper will authorise the network through a power of attorney to allow shipper-related data to be shared with members of the supply chain for the transport of a particular consignment.”

The data will be used to identify any deviation or disruptions to supply chains and support collaborative or individual decision-making.

For other shippers the need is more about customer service and improving customer satisfaction, Berit Hagerstrand-Avall, VP Sea Logistics at Stora Enso explained.

“We can’t do this alone, so we approve of the collaborative idea,” explained Hagerstrand-Avall.

However, a concern for Stora Enso is how much, and crucially which, data it needs to share, as well as who will have access to that data, and it will be looking at how to resolve these issues within the VWT project.

“We can’t share all our data and we need to learn how confidentiality will be maintained within the project,” said Berit Hagerstrand-Avall, VP sea logistics.

Meanwhile, Cheng Peng Tan, the executive director of the Singapore Maritime Institute reassured shippers that the “VWT does not require the industry partner to have any specific technical expertise in order to participate.”

Mr Tan explained that a company only needs to have a role in the international maritime supply chain, with useful data, information or knowledge to contribute to the VWT community.

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  • Pichuiyer Balasubramanian

    April 28, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    This can revolutionise safety related to lithium ion batteries if other players too consider. When it comes to safety, any collaboration and initiatives should be welcomed wholeheartedly.