Five of the world’s major container lines are planning to set up an association aimed at digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the container shipping industry.
It is hoped the association would start operating from early next year.
Experts from the AP Maersk-Moller group, of Denmark, the Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) of Switzerland, CMA CGM of France, Hapag-Lloyd of Germany and the Ocean Network Express (ONE) of Japan, are discussing common standards of information technology which would be available and free for all stakeholders.
Andre Simha, of MSC, the spokesperson for the group, said: “It is in the customers’ and the stakeholders’ best interest if container shipping companies operate with a common set of information technology standards.
“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 carriers believe there is a need for a neutral and non-profit body for ocean carriers that would ensure interoperability through standardisation.
“Digital is key for AP 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, Maersk-Moller’s chief technology & information officer.
“A joint set of technical standards will ensure interoperability and enable all parties to concentrate on value adding differentation as we move the container shipping industry towards further digitalisation.”
Noriaki Yamaga, of ONE, said: “Our line sees a wave of innovation technology development in the shipping and logistics industry which can bring good opportunity to the whole industry for digital transformation.
“But at the same time, we’re a little bit cautious about adopting new technology by individual companies since there is no common standard in the market which may be ending up with re-integrating work among all stakeholders in the supply chain.”