Maersk instant booking tool takes flight

Maersk claims today a new instant booking confirmation tool it is launching is a first for the container shipping industry and will make booking a box as easy as buying a flight ticket.

With the introduction of instant booking confirmation, Maersk customers can now complete their bookings within seconds compared to previous waiting times of up to two hours.

“We are now making it as easy for our customers to book a container as booking a flight ticket. Instant booking confirmation makes it faster, easier and simpler for our customers to interact with Maersk. It is a milestone for the entire industry and a concrete example of how we are bringing our strategy to life when we improve the customer experience through seamless digital offerings,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

With the new solution, customers get visibility of sailing options with available vessel space, a list of depots with empty containers to choose from and a choice of relevant value adding services. They also get certainty that a booking will not be cancelled at a later stage.

With the release of instant booking confirmation, Maersk is also introducing online booking via the Maersk App.

“Maersk operates in several markets where mobile phones make up the primary working tool for the workforce. Here, Instant Booking Confirmation straight from the mobile phone will be a huge improvement for our customers’ supply chain managers – it will further enable trade in these markets,” said Sonny Dahl, global head of Ccustomer experience and service at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Instant booking confirmation is available in beta for all customers through the online booking modules of the Maersk Line, SeaLand and Safmarine brands. The functionality currently covers dry cargo shipments. Refrigerated cargo, dangerous cargo (IMDG) and inland container yards are expected to be added next year.

Maersk’s claims to be the first in the industry with such a groundbreaking tool are disingenuous however. In August, German rival Hapag-Lloyd launched Quick Quotes, an online quotation tool, which also can book boxes within about 15 seconds according to officials in Hamburg.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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