Maersk has highlighted its ongoing commitment to a large scale digital overhaul of the company in its newly released Q2 2019 interim report, supporting its process of “replacing legacy systems at the core and digitising at the edge” by building up a technology team that now numbers nearly 3,000 people.
Technology plays a key role in Maersk’s current corporate ‘transformation’ strategy, initiated in 2016 following a strategy review that led to the separation of the company’s energy-related businesses to focus on container shipping, ports and logistics. This restructuring was coupled with a renewed vision of the company as an integrated logistics operation, rather than a shipping or energy operator.
“Given the importance of technology for achieving our vision, over the last three years, we have built a new technology team,” the report says.
“We are growing our technology team (designers, software developers, AI experts, automation engineers, analytics experts etc.) rapidly, to ensure we have the expertise and talent to build solutions ourselves at speed. We now employ almost 3,000 people in our technology team.”
The overall vision guiding this transformation philosophy aims to see Maersk become the preeminent global integrator of container logistics, connecting previously discrete supply chain operations to provide simpler, more user-friendly products and services to customers.
“This includes end-to-end solutions, on land and at sea, that enable our customers to manage their global supply chains in a better and more efficient way, with higher visibility and ability to affect outcomes,” the report notes.
“Technology is core to both our vision to become the global integrator of container logistics and a key enabler to enhance our operating performance. Our technology strategy focuses on three areas.”
The first of these focus areas is digitising customer transactions, with the company aiming to make its website the key transaction platform for all of its products and services. This has been recently demonstrated by the launch of the Maersk Spot service in the first quarter of this year, an online system providing customers with a cargo loading guarantee for a fixed upfront price.
Maersk Spot now covers all of the company’s trade lanes, except in and out of the US, with approximately 8% of spot volumes each week transacted through the online system.
“The second focus area is to improve operations and increase utilisation of ships, containers and terminals through digitisation and automation as well as to improve and automate core processes in the company. Recently, we have achieved improved fuel efficiency for our vessels through technology,” the report continues, noting that reliability figures for service delivery have also increased from 70.4% to 85.5% compared with the previous quarter.
“Thirdly, we want to create new revenue streams from digital products, such as TradeLens. TradeLens builds on an ecosystem of users such as ocean carriers, ports, terminals, 3PL, customs authorities and shippers, that connect to, provide data to, and use the platform.”
“Ocean carriers representing approximately 60% of global capacity have now signed up to support TradeLens, which is an important step for the platform to achieve critical mass to significantly change the way the industry operates.”