Friday, November 16, 2018

Major Container Shipping Lines Propose an Association of Interest to Freight Forwarders and Shippers

No Common Standardised Platform but IT Systems Free to All Stakeholders
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – With data sharing and mining, not to mention cyber-crime topics that are particularly hot at the moment, comes the news that five of the world's largest container shipping companies have announced plans to create an association with the purpose of paving the way for digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the container shipping industry. News which will doubtless stimulate interest from shippers, freight forwarders and global regulators alike.

IT executives from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM, AP Moller-Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, 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. Something which will go toward reliving those bodies who are suspicious whenever any hint of collaboration between the big box carriers comes up for discussion.

Whilst the shipping industry already has multiple organisations and associations, the members of the group say they have 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. André Simha, CIO of MSC and spokesperson of the group, commented:

“It’s in the customers' and all stakeholders’ best interest, if container shipping companies operate with a common set of information technology standards. That is why we will also welcome new members with open arms to join the association

“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 developers say the association has no intention of developing or operating any digital platform, but aims to ensure interoperability through standardisation. Similarly, the association says that it will not discuss any commercial or operational matters. Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Executive Vice President IT & Transformations, CMA CGM, said:

“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.”

Participating in the discussions are:

  • AP 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