MSC fleet takes innovative container database over 10m

Shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has joined other carriers in registering its global container fleet on the BIC’s BoxTech Global Container Database. As a result, the technical details of more than 10m containers, or approximately 40% of the global container fleet, are now available to database users, which include shippers, forwarders, terminals and software solution providers.
The MSC fleet upload occurs as BoxTech, the non-profit global container database operated by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) approaches its two-year anniversary. MSC joins other leading global carriers, such as CMA CGM and Maersk Line, in adopting the BoxTech solution in their businesses. Hundreds of other container owners and operators are also utilising the platform, including two of the top four container leasing companies.
“Transparency and easy, standardized data access are vital to many of the digitalization efforts underway in the shipping industry,” said André Simha, chief information officer at MSC. “MSC therefore fully supports the BoxTech Global Container Database and we are delighted to upload our global fleet details to help expand this neutral, non-profit platform. It has tremendous potential to help drive efficiencies in many areas.”
Launched in July 2016, there are now more than 1,500 BoxTech users who rely on the central data repository to efficiently obtain technical container details, such as tare weight, size and type, as well as utilising more recently added functions such as verifying ownership status and posting recovery alerts.  The new features have also proved particularly helpful among users from container leasing companies, making the recovery of units following bankruptcy easier than ever.
The BoxTech user base has also grown thanks to the many APIs available for database queries, which enable companies to digitalise more of their operations and automatically integrate container details into their everyday systems.  Automated API database queries also streamline processes by avoiding unnecessary searches and increasing accuracy by removing the inevitable errors cause by manual data re-keying.
“The industry has changed in recent years as carriers look increasingly to technology and the use of data to drive efficiencies,” commented Douglas Owen, secretary general of BIC.  “Although sharing data is something that has come slowly in our industry, we have seen unprecedented cooperation over the past two years and a new openness to the use of common platforms. Organisations across the world are telling us that they want an open, impartial solution, and there is growing demand for more data from more container shipping companies to be added to the database. Our industry is keen to adopt this new digital and collaborative way of working, and we encourage the remaining carriers and container lessors to register their fleets on the platform now.”

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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