MSC CIO calls for the containerisation of data communications

Last November Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express announced plans to establish a container shipping association to pave the way for digitalisation, standardisation and interoperability in the container shipping industry.

IT executives from the companies – among the largest liners in the world – have since been 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.

MSC’s CIO Andre Simha, who’s also the association’s spokesperson, has explained why standardising data among liners is so important, in a blog post carried by MSC, the world’s second largest liner.

It’s time for a containerisation of data communications,” Simha declared in his argument for standardisation.

Simha wrote that competing formats can lead to “friction and frustration” as information does not flow as smoothly as it could.

“In an industry with high degrees of interaction, standardisation is essential,” Simha stated.

Concluding, Simha maintained: “True change will only come when a critical mass within the industry are willing to implement changes that will benefit all.”

Simha, a 32-year veteran at MSC, told Splash last year that the idea for the new association came about from looking at other industries such as aviation and banking and questioning why liners were unable to offer similar initiatives.

The association has “genuine transformative potential” according to SeaIntelligence Consulting partner Lars Jensen, while another regular Splash writer, Kris Kosmala said the initiative was long overdue

“Carriers are finally getting serious about their existing data standards and the way they exchange that data with other participants in the maritime supply chains,” Kosmala said when interviewed last November.

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.


  1. Last week, the Connecticut Maritime Association had a presentation regarding Trade-Lens, which is an IBM- Maersk effort (putting them in alphabetical order, as I am not sure who is calling the shots) to create blockchain venue/ ecosystem re containerized shipments. I am not sure how the efforts described here (with the B-word not appearing) fits together with efforts by Maersk. Maybe someone could advise how the two efforts might be tied together.

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