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Tuesday, November 20, 2018 

Leading liner companies A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express plan to establish a container shipping association with the purpose of paving the way for digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the sector.

IT executives from A.P. Moller – Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC 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.

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

Whilst the shipping industry already has multiple organisations and associations, the members of the group 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. “That is why we will also welcome new members with open arms to join the association,” Simha furtehred.

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

For A.P. Moller – Maersk, digitalisation a is key aspect in delivering its strategy to become an integrated container logistics company. “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,” said Adam Banks, Chief Technology & Information Officer, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd also welcome the initiative believing it could set the standard for digitisation across the entire industry and help tackle future challenges with a common approach. Indeed, MSC believes that by collaborating on standardised solutions, the sector will be able to more effectively respond to shippers’ demands for technology and innovation, thus shaping the future of the shipping industry.

Noriaki Yamaga, Managing Director, Corporate & Innovation, Ocean Network Express has seen a wave of innovation technology development in shipping and logistics industry over the recent years, despite some reluctance to adopt new technology by individual companies. This, he says, is because  there is no common standard in the market.

He believes it necessary to establish common IT standard and governance for the industry to streamline and digitise the shipping process in a modern way.

“In the end, we believe this style of collaboration can bring value and opportunity to our customers as well as logistics companies, leading shipping and logistics industry to new ecosystem of digital supply chain,” he said.

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