According to MANA, digitalising the many steps required to move a container from one part of the world to another could take “a humungous amount of cost” out of the supply chain, Maersk Line’s chief commercial officer Vincent Clerc said.
At the moment, there may be some 200 interactions involving documentation along the supply chain that could be digitalised. Typically, the shipper and consignee may have to deal with 28 different entities, such as customs, terminals, forwarders and carriers, creating a stack of paper required to arrange a shipment.
There is a “huge opportunity” to simplify the whole process, said Mr Clerc.
Maersk Line is exploring the possibility of building an end-to-end global trade network where each and every interaction can be digitalised, based in part on blockchain technology.
This would be available not just to Maersk Line customers but all shippers, said Mr Clerc.
Maersk is also looking at remote container management to monitor all aspects of a refrigerated shipment. The line has equipped all of its 270,000 reefer containers with GPS technology that provides not just the exact location of the box but temperature, humidity and information of any mechanical problems.
From the third quarter of this year, Maersk will make the data available to customers so that they can follow in real time everything that is happening with their shipment, giving shippers visibility and control of their cargo “that they have never had before”.