Nicolas Sarrut is the founder and CEO of ADMCS in France and DMCS in Switzerland. This group, which is active in eco-terminals for energy-efficient container management and in software for optimising container logistics flows, set up in the canton in 2020. Passionate about new technologies and sensitive to the environment, Nicolas has been working in maritime container transport for more than 23 years and is one of the 5 European specialists in the field with a global vision. From a very young age, he has been immersed in this field thanks to his grandfather, who in 1960 was the first to transport containers on lorries in the Grand-Est region of France.
A meeting with an eternal enthusiast for whom the multimodal container holds no secrets.
How did ADMCS come about?
I started working in my grandfather’s company at a very young age, where I could see the evolution of the company, the maritime world and new technologies. I could also see that transport is “dirty” and that everyone perceives it in a bad way. Logistics (especially by ship) is polluting, but you have to know that 90% of what human beings consume (from raw materials to waste and semi-finished and finished products) is transported by container. It is now the biggest industry in the world. For several years, I have been asking myself how I could change this? From this reflection a double project of building energy efficient container management Eco-Terminals and a container logistics flow optimization software based on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Deep Learning, IOT (Internet of Things), blockchain, and cryptocurrency followed. The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of the multimodal transport sector.
In what area is your company active? What services do you offer?
We are in the container transport and digital business.I took a little time, because in my profession everything is still done by telephone, fax or email with software siloed by actor. You have to realise that there are many players involved in moving a container from start to finish and that each has his own IT system. In fact, there is no global management software. The idea is to get all these people to use these new technologies without frustrating them too much so that they are interconnected. As I said earlier, the first part of the project is the construction of eco-terminals. These are passive ports for the environment that will use technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, water hydrolysis, and reuse the fauna and flora to develop the land on which we will build. The terminals are passive, they are 100% electric and they generate all their own electricity. The one we are building in Ittenheim (Grand-Est) will even be positive energy. We have just submitted the building permit and the project will be completed by the end of 2024.
The second part of the project is the creation of a supply chain management software. The aim is to sell a connection right so that the different actors can organise and track their containers and documents, as well as deposit or retrieve documentation in relation to a specific container shipment from start to finish. These people or companies, instead of paying in cash, will buy through the token system. These tokens will allow them to connect to the platform where they will have access to the information that the organiser wants to communicate to them.
In parallel, we would like to offer the platform’s customers services on financial assets. With the DMCS token, we want to be able to offer “crypto bank” type services to “corporate” clients. For private and institutional clients, we will offer a brokerage service and all the services for investing in assets, wealth management, etc. Initially, we will create DMCS Finance which will constitute a financial intermediary in the true sense of the word with a licence and in a year’s time, we will start the application for a banking licence which will allow us to open our crypto bank within 3 years.
Why did you choose the Canton of Neuchâtel to set up and develop?
It was the canton of Neuchâtel that chose us. A few years ago, I presented our software at STATION F and among the people who were present was Mr Albert Suissa from the GGBa who invited me to the GGBa Night where I met people from the canton. They liked the project and it was they who proposed that I come and develop it in Switzerland, in Neuchâtel. I had the support of the canton and the guidance of FINMA. Today, this is what has enabled us to have the first supervised currency culture. We work with a large number of players in the region: Le/AX avocats, e-gestion for the accounting part and Revixpert for the auditing part. We are very well supported by the service of the economy and by the canton. As it is the people here who believed in us, who helped us, who gave us the means to do things and to move forward, it was logical to set up here.
Who are your main competitors and customers at present?
We had already had an offer to buy the project, but I refused to sell. So they took the idea. They tried to do the same thing, but for the moment they have no control over the activity. That said, we have several shipping companies, players in the trade who are trying to buy us.
Today, we already have more than 600 contracts for the purchase of DMCS tokens and we are at almost 10% of these investments being business users.
How do you perceive and experience innovation in your company?
Innovation is very difficult, because people think you are crazy. For the first 3 years of the project, the banks closed the doors to me. France, my country of origin, did not support me, and neither did my region. I was very surprised when Switzerland came looking for me. The seriousness of the people here is completely different and so is the openness of mind, especially with regard to innovation. They are not afraid to say that they will help a daring project. I’ve been working on this project for 9 years, I financed everything myself for 7 years, then we raised a little bit of “love money” and then arrived in Switzerland. We obtained the framework and we have been pre-selling tokens for about 2 years.
How do you see your company in 5-10 years?
In 3 to 5 years, we plan to develop the system and put it on several trades. The aim is that in two years’ time, the terminal will be up and running and the software will also be in action. The next step will be to duplicate the system, because it was created to be scalable, so it can be duplicated on all modes of transport.
Today we already have 9 requests for construction around the world, without any communication. I have been approached mainly by people in the trade who know us with large shipping companies and in some cases countries (Emirates, Ecuador, USA).
It is an environmentally friendly project. Why is this important to you?
My grandfather was a farmer and transporter, and I grew up with him. I worked on the farm, I worked in transport and so I saw the changes. Today, without nature, we are nothing. We need transport. Tomorrow, transport should be new and without any negative impact on nature. So the objective is to find innovative solutions to reconcile nature and industry. Today, I think we are on the right track. This is not the only solution, fortunately there will be others. I am open to working with anyone who has this vision.
What aspects could the canton work on to improve its attractiveness to businesses?
Honestly, regarding the whole process with the canton, I don’t see what could be improved, they have accompanied us so much. They’re even helping us to find accommodation for the employees who are going to move here. You have very talented people in Neuchâtel. I even have partners who are going to follow the ADMCS project here because they have seen what the canton has done for us. So I am not coming alone, but with an ecosystem. I would like to thank the canton of Neuchâtel, the service of the economy and in particular Mr Vradis and Mr Mignon from Le/AX Avocats.