As the world’s largest container carrier, Maersk Line is pushing ahead with digitalisation of the customer experience, raising the question of the role of intermediaries such as freight forwarders, play in a digital future.
Maersk has set an out a vision to be a leader in the digistalisation of the container shipping and has tied up with Alibaba Group for online booking from China and IBM on the use of Blockchain to digitise paperwork processes.
Growing focus on commerce and digital solutions
“With the growing focus on ecommerce and digital solutions, SMEs and consumers who were not directly linked to the global supply chains, now have the opportunity to connect, giving companies the opportunity to address consumer needs in a more direct and efficient way than ever before,” René Piil Pedersen, Group Representative Asia Pacific & Managing Director for Maersk Group, said in a recent media roundtable.
Quizzed on where this would leave freight forwarders in the booking process for container shipping Pedersen said: “Forwarders can choose to be a part of the solution or not. We own a forwarding company Damco and we think they have a great future.”
While ecommerce can be seen as threat Pedersen also believes there are opportunities. “With ecommerce you see in this region you will reach new customers with the development of warehouses, last mile delivery…. there is definitely a sweet spot for forwarders.
“But as with any other part of the industry they have to embrace the technology and they have to look for where can they help customers – that’s the name of game.”
He concluded: “I don’t think this is the end of the game for forwarders.”
Edited from source by Ella Donaldson
Seatrade Maritime News