As the digital transformation in the maritime industry accelerates, there has been a groundswell of calls to set up relevant standards for maritime digital solutions, amid a large number of players, mostly startups, entering the market in recent years.
A survey released by INTTRA, the largest, multi-carrier network for the ocean shipping industry, at the company’s technology summit in Singapore this week, shows 91% of participants believe the creation of agreed standards and protocols is essential, and 82% would prefer to see an initiative started by a neutral party that works collaboratively with multiple industry players to set and share data-sharing standards and protocols.
Among the standards needed in the digitisation process, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and API (Application Programming Interface) standards scored the highest supporting rate of 26% respectively, while was blockchain the lowest on standards, chosen by only 8% of the participants.
As for challenges for BCOs (beneficial cargo owners) and freight forwarders, real-time container visibility came out on top (47%), followed by securing space/getting containers rolled (45%), managing rates and rate changes (41%) and delivery time predictability (39%).
Overcapacity is still a top challenge for carriers (55%), while no shows/ghost booking and capacity management/asset utilisation came second (52%) and third (48%) in the survey.
The participants were also asked about the progress of digitalisation of their businesses, and 71% said they are well on their way to full digitalisation and 13% of them are near completion.
“While a significant percentage of respondents indicate that a good portion of their businesses are now digitalised, much work still needs to be done around standards for API and EDI, electronic Bill of Lading and other aspects around interoperability,” said Inna Kuznetsova, president and COO of INTTRA.
“There is demand for better solutions, including real-time container visibility, management of rates changes, reducing no-shows and improving asset utilisation,” Kuznetsova added.