The growth of E-commerce, digitalisation of supply chains and the development of automation technologies are transforming industries and customers’ demands and bring great potential to the container shipping industry now and in the future.
At Greencarrier Liner Agency, we follow and contribute to the digital development in the market, and meet our customers’ needs for accessibility and convenience. I have identified four of today’s most interesting trends and initiatives to share with you in this blog post.
1. Digital Portal business
INTTRA, the largest portal company working in container shipping was sold to E2Open in October 2018. Selling parties were ABS Capital and container carriers CMA-CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk and MSC. This means that the carriers who founded INTTRA in the early 2000 are now completely gone from the portal business.
Perhaps this has something to do with the multiple blockchain startups started by the carriers?
However, there has been many speculations from the deal and most likely E2Open will try to cover the whole supply chain with this deal. Today INTTRA covers roughly 25% of all container volumes and just few years ago, they bought Avantida, a company focusing on reducing the costs of inland haulage services. This move can bring value and efficiency for carriers, shippers and landside companies, since E2Open will be in a position where they can offer a wider range of services to their customers. All the way from procurement to the end of the supply chain.
Not to forget about all the data they receive. By getting the full range of supply chain data stored on a cloud-based platform, E2Open will be able to offer its clients an improved visibility through the entire supply chain.
2. New technical startups in the container shipping industry
The tech startup, Kontainers, has introduced their second platform for carriers and forwarders. Their first platform, Kontainers Enterprise, has a limited target group of the top 20 carriers and top 50 forwarders. Their new product Kontainers Edge, which was introduced in the autumn of 2018, is suitable for every carrier and forwarding company in the world.
Kontainers Enterprise & Edge are digital platforms, which can be configured based on customer needs, and allow carrier or forwarder to handle all business digitally. They also enable smaller companies to invest into a digital platform, which is already tested and working. In this way, they minimize the risk of a digital transaction for customers.
3. Blockchain activities are heating up
Maersk and IBM have published their digital platform for global supply chain, TradeLens, a solution based on blockchain technology. Unfortunately, they have not been successful in bringing in other carriers into the ecosystem. Ocean alliance carriers including Evergreen Line, CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping & OOCL, together with Taiwanese carrier Yang Ming started their own blockchain initiative, Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN). This consortium also includes terminal operators as well as the software partner Cargosmart. Their first step is to digitize dangerous goods documentation.
On top of these two initiatives there is a blockchain pilot starting up in Rotterdam by Rotterdam port authorities, Samsung SDS and ABN AMRO.
4. E-commerce services and electronic Bill of Lading
Greencarrier Liner Agency, together with Evergreen Line also provides a variety of e-commerce services for our customers, in order to digitize the transactions between customer and carrier. For this purpose Evergreen Line has created Shipmentlink, which is the portal of all digital transactions with Evergreen Line. From Shipmentlink customer can place bookings, handle all documentation and VGM submissions, as well as check container tracking and tracking reports.
Shipmentlink is also the platform for Evergreen Line’s solution to digitize documentation flow together with Bolero. This solutions makes it possible to connect exporters and importers with banks, insurers, regulators, customs and port authorities. Evergreen is the first container carrier to integrate with Bolero’s proven electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) solution. Accessed via the Shipmentlink portal, the ability to achieve paperless data exchange among all parties concerned in a shipment will significantly simplify supply chain linkages.
To summarize, the industry as a whole has a lot to gain from adopting new digital solutions and I look forward to following and contributing to these digital developments during 2019.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments about the digital trends in the container shipping industry. If you want to know more about any of these solutions or portals don’t hesitate to contact me.