Oct. 05, 2020
Sumitomo Corporation

Commencement of Pilot Experiment for Commercialization of Agricultural Logistics Matching Service

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) has commenced a pilot experiment with the aim of fully commercializing an agricultural logistics matching service named CLOW (hereinafter, “Pilot Experiment”).

The current agricultural logistics sector in Japan—where each farming household brings in its agricultural products to a pickup point or wholesale market and agricultural corporations make independent arrangements for transporting produce to large consumption areas—still has considerable room for improvement. At the same time, the labor shortage in the sector, which stems from the nation’s population aging, has long been considered a growing problem. Given such circumstances, the sector is in need of a more efficient logistics system.

The CLOW matching service uses artificial intelligence (AI) to match farmers desiring to ship their agricultural products as well as agricultural corporations hoping to efficiently transport products with logistics companies looking to make maximum use of their transportation space, and to propose optimal transportation routes for them. Specifically, the needs of numerous farmers and agricultural corporations and information on truck vacancies are integrated on the cloud, based on which CLOW automatically plans efficient pickup/delivery routes by using algorithms. Through this service, CLOW enables farmers to outsource their logistics needs instead of having to transport their produce with their own trucks; provides agricultural corporations with a low-priced logistics system based on joint transportation, sparing them the trouble of individually making logistics arrangements; and provides logistics companies with new business opportunities.

Under the Pilot Experiment, Sumitomo Corporation, jointly with Nippon Express Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo), will closely examine the efficiency of the pickup/delivery routes planned by CLOW by using past produce shipment data provided by the Company’s business partner, Tosan Greenhouse Agricultural Cooperative (Toyokawa-shi, Aichi Prefecture). By verifying how effective the CLOW algorithms are and carrying out a number of interviews about the service, including on the user friendliness of its application, the Company aims to launch the service on the market by the end of this fiscal year on a pilot basis.

Sumitomo Corporation also plans to conduct a pilot experiment involving CLOW in partnership with Tango Kingdom Brewery Inc. (Head Office: Tango-shi, Kyoto Prefecture) in Tango-shi, Kyoto Prefecture.

Conceived by an employee of Sumitomo Corporation aged in their 20s, CLOW was selected as a distinguished new business idea under the 0→1 Challenge 2019, the Company’s intrapreneurship program. The Company will streamline agricultural logistics by harnessing CLOW in an effort to solve issues faced by the agricultural and logistics industries, thereby contributing to achieving a thriving and sustainable super-aged society.

Sumitomo Corporation’s Material Issues

Sumitomo Corporation Group positions “Six Material Issues to Achieve Sustainable Growth with Society” as an important factor in developing business strategies and in the decision-making process for individual businesses. Going forward, we will pursue sustainable growth by resolving these issues through our business activities. This project especially contributes to the following material Issues.

Achieving Harmony with the Global EnvironmentAchieving Harmony with the Global Environment
Contributing to the Development of Local Communities and IndustriesContributing to the Development of Local Communities and Industries
Establishing a Foundation for Comfortable and Enriching LifestylesEstablishing a Foundation for Comfortable and Enriching Lifestyles
Providing Diverse “Accessibility”Providing Diverse “Accessibility”

Developing Human Resources and Promoting DiversityDeveloping Human Resources and Promoting Diversity
Enhancing GovernanceEnhancing Governance

Corporate Communications Department, Sumitomo Corporation
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