Meeting with Fleet Management Limited and Attending Cryptocurrency and Forecasting Lectures

After an amusing weekend in Paphos, we returned to Nicosia ready to dive back into our business and academic endeavors. In the morning, we met with the ship management company, Fleet Management Limited and in the afternoon, we attended lectures about cryptocurrency and forecasting.

Fleet Management Limited (FML) is the only ship management company in Nicosia. They are headquartered in Hong Kong. They do not own any vessels themselves, but they currently manage 625 vessels worldwide. They manage ships that transport raw materials (iron, coal, and oil) for suppliers. The types of ships they manage are: bulk carriers, oil tankers, chemical and gas tankers, container vessels, car vessels. Some of the services they provide are: provide adequate crew for manning the ship, arrange for loading and unloading of the cargo, pay the expenses on behalf of the owner, and arrange for the insurance in relation to the ship. They are located in Cyprus because it is at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have created software called Planning and Reporting for Infrastructure Ship (PARIS). It is a visual dashboard to track your ship anywhere and uses a cloud based system with real-time data. Through PARIS, one can view crew lists, cargo details, maintenance schedule, and ship performance. This allows ship owners to see problems before they happen. FML was going to market PARIS, but decided to keep it to themselves to have an edge in the shipping industry. Before the PARIS system, paper was used. Now, PARIS has improved the efficiency of their operations, thus improving the efficiency of the supply chain. Around 90% of goods are transported by ships, making ship management an essential aspect of the supply chain.

Our first lecture in the afternoon was about cryptocurrency, block chain, the metaverse, and NFTs. The CEO of UNIC, Antonis Polemitis, gave this lecture to us, but he also gives lectures on a normal basis to students at UNIC. So I was impressed to see how involved he was his the students of UNIC. UNIC was the first university to accept bitcoin (2014), offer a credit-bearing course about crypto, and offer a crypto-related degree. Bitcoin is useful because it is fast to transfer and irreversible once transferred, while credit is reversible and wire transfers take a couple of days. There are two ways society can store data: databases or blockchain. The lecture explains to us a perspective in which the metaverse will become as significant as the internet in the next 10-25 years. However, I remember the challenges people had with switching to remote learning or remote conferencing during the pandemic. Therefore, I am not sure of the extent to which people are willing to live in an augmented or completely virtual reality as opposed to normal reality. Lastly, NFTs are non-fungible tokens, meaning that they are unique digital identifiers that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided. They are recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership. An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency.

Afterwards, Professor Spyros Makridakis gave a lecture about forecasting. Forecasting uses statistical methods to discover patterns and make predictions about the future. Because forecasting depends on the past to predict the future, it is important to recognize that the future will be different from the past. However, forecasters still try to estimate future events as accurately and objectively as possible. Forecasting is important in the supply chain because it allows suppliers to match consumer demand. For instance Walmart is the largest company in the world by revenues and the biggest forecasting user (2.3 billion items to forecast). As a consumer, I know it is rare when I am unable to find my desired item at Walmart, which demonstrates how useful forecasting is in the supply chain. There are two types of forecasting: one with little fluctuation and one with high fluctuation. High blood pressure pills and milk have little fluctuation because they are commodities with stable patterns since people typically take one high blood pressure pill per day, and milk expires relatively quick compared to other goods. Technology, luxury goods, fashion, and cars have high fluctuation are are more difficult to predict. For the case of cars, the demand of cars is directly related to the economic environment since their demand drops during a recession. Recessions are difficult to predict since forecasters must ask: when will the next recession start? and will it drop below the long term trend? Professor Makridakis also is the founder of the M forecasting competition. This competition improves the field of forecasting because it provides objective empirical evidence about the accuracy of different methods used in forecasting.

Overall, I enjoyed learning about current topics and how they relate to the supply chain. I hope to explore them more when I get back to the U.S!

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