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.