Container giants join forces on digitalisation

A group containing some of the world’s largest vessel operators has announced plans to establish a new container shipping association to drive digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the industry, through the creation of common information technology standards that would be made available free of charge to all relevant stakeholders.

IT executives from A.P. Moller – Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express have all declared their support for the new organisation, though any standards agreed upon would also be shared openly with the wider container shipping industry. All ocean carriers will be invited to join the association once it is fully established.

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

The aim of the group is to create a neutral and non-profit body for ocean carriers that is delivers benefits for the entire industry and its stakeholders.

The association says it has no intention of developing or operating any digital platform, but aims to ensure interoperability through standardisation. Similarly, the association says it will not discuss any commercial or operational matters during meetings.

The group hopes to have the association fully up and running in early 2019, subject to any applicable regulatory requirements.

“Digital is key for A.P. Moller – Maersk in delivering on our strategy to become an integrated container logistics company that offers simple, end-to-end services with seamless customer experience,” said Adam Banks, Chief Technology & Information Officer, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

“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.”

Container Shipping Association Participants
  • A.P. Moller – Maersk: Adam Banks, Chief Technology & Information Officer
  • CMA CGM: Madhana Kumar, Vice President, Transformation, Data & Digital
  • Hapag-Lloyd: Martin Gnass, Managing Director Information Technology
  • MSC Group: André Simha, Chief Information Officer
  • Ocean Network Express: Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation

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About the Author

Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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