Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and Ocean Network Express are discussing the setup of a new non-profit body the aim of which will be to pave the way for digitalisation.
According to the founding members, this is to be done through creating common information standards that will be openly available and free of charge to all stakeholders involved in the initiative.
The association has no intent of developing or operating any digital platform. It will also not discuss any commercial or operational matters.
The association will kick off its works in early 2019 (granted it gets the regulatory approvals if any will be needed).
"MSC believes that we've reached the point in the carrier world where we need something that is common, open and done in the framework of a neutral and non-profit association. By collaborating on standardized solutions, we think that's the best way to respond to shippers' demands for technology and innovation, thus shaping the future of the shipping industry. […] Together, we gain traction in delivering technological breakthroughs and services to our customers compared to working in our own closed silos," André Simha, CIO, MSC, and spokesperson of the group, said.
Adam Banks, Chief Technology & Information Officer, A.P. Moller-Maersk, added, "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 digitalization. Ultimately this will benefit all parties in our customers' supply chains."
"Ocean Network Express sees a wave of innovation technology development in shipping and logistics industry over the recent years 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 company 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. With this mind, we feel it would be necessary to do some discussion and collaboration on the area of new technology and innovation to establish common IT standard and governance for the industry to streamline and digitize shipping process in a modern way," Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation, Ocean Network Express, also said.