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Maersk to reshape supply chains

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-04 08:35

Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipping company, will seek to reshape supply chains and their activities related to sea-based trade by diversifying its applications of the internet of things or IoT.

Maersk's move comes in the wake of many countries' efforts to increase adoption of digital technologies to stimulate trade volume.

Many economies are seeking domestic consumption-led growth and investment-fueled development.

So, the global shipping industry has already equipped vessels, containers, ports and cranes with digital capabilities to cope with expected rise in trade volume.

Mike Fang, vice-president and head of Greater China, Maersk Line, said digitalization is transforming every industry and it will transform Maersk too in the coming years.

"Data increasingly drives Maersk Line's operational improvements and is beginning to be a source of customer and commercial insight, which will bring, among other things, a better customer experience, more proactive customer service, new products and new revenue streams," said Fang.

Maersk Line launched a new pilot online platform in November, targeting selected spot customers buying ocean freight on selected routes and ports in China.

It will support search of rates and schedules, shipment operations, shipping documentation and payments. Customers can also lock in the price of required cargo spaces by pre-paying a deposit.

Through this pilot, the Danish company aims to provide customers with better digital solutions, and to solve the industrial no-show pain point.

The company believes that the pilot has the potential to serve additional trades and more customers at a later stage.

Over the last two years, Maersk Line launched pilot projects on third-party portals such as Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, OneTouch platform and Yun Qu Na, a business-to-business online platform.

Besides, Maersk Line launched Remote Container Management or RCM software for customers. Its customers can monitor and make decisions about their supply chain as their cargo moves, as well as use the data to study and improve their entire supply chain.

Particularly for very sensitive, higher value refrigerated cargo, RCM significantly raises the total value proposition of refrigerated container trade.

"Physical assets are our core strength," Fang said. "Together with data we have an enormous advantage for optimizing them and to provide better products and services."

"The process of integrating digital into the business is an ongoing and multifaceted process. Overhaul of legacy IT systems will enable cumbersome, manual processes such as bookings to be entirely digitalized," said Luo Renjian, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research.

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