Container shipping companies plan to establish an industry alliance

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A group of five container shipping companies plan to set up a container shipping association to pave the way for digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the container shipping industry.

IT executives from A.P. Moller – Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express are currently discussing the creation of common information technology standards which shall be openly available and free of charge for all stakeholders of the wider container shipping industry.

“It’s in the customers' and all stakeholders’ best interests, if container shipping companies operate with a common set of information technology standards,” says André Simha, CIO of MSC and spokesperson of the group.

“We are striving for less red tape and better transparency. The timing is right, as emerging technologies create new customer friendly opportunities. Together, we gain traction in delivering technological breakthroughs and services to our customers compared to working in our own closed silos,” he adds.

While the shipping industry already has multiple organisations and associations, the members of the group identified a need for a neutral and non-profit body for ocean carriers that is driven by delivering benefits for the industry and its stakeholders.

The association has no intent of developing or operating any digital platform, but aims to ensure interoperability through standardisation. Similarly, the association will not discuss any commercial or operational matters. The association plans to be operational from early 2019.

“CMA CGM is always looking for best practices and standards to support the innovation and digital strategy of the company. Being a founding member will enable us to work together on setting the standards for digitisation of the entire industry,” says Rajesh Krishnamurthy, executive vice president IT and transformations, CMA CGM.

Adam Banks, chief technology and information officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk, said digital was key for their business.

“A joint set of technical standards will ensure interoperability and enable all parties to concentrate on value adding differentiation as we move the container shipping industry towards further digitalisation. Ultimately this will benefit all parties in our customers’ supply chains.”