Former Maersk executive Thomas Bagge has been chief executive and statutory director of Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) for nearly 18 months, in an attempt to pull the shipping industry into the 21st century. It is, he says, not an easy quest, but the first fruits of his labour are starting to show.
“The container shipping industry is currently not a digitally advanced industry. We are, however, seeing a shift as many companies are thinking about how to change their supply chain to be more efficient and reliable through digitalisation.
“There is a clear and increasing demand for more digitalisation in the industry,” he explained.
DCSA membership comprises nine of the largest container shipping lines, which aim to create a “digitally interconnected” industry, which will give customers “seamless, easy-to-use services”.
Non-profit and independent, the association’s aim is to drive and develop technology standards and frameworks – a crucial step forward.
“Taking a standardised approach to digitalisation is crucial to enabling interoperability, as this industry depends on collaboration from all industry stakeholders to maximise the benefits of digitalisation,” explained Mr Bagge.
“Since the launch of DCSA in April 2019, we are encouraged by the support we’ve received from many industry stakeholders for digital standards. We look forward to collaborating more with shippers as well and all supply chain participants.”
One of its major efforts has been introducing an e-bill of lading (eB/L), which, it believes, could save the industry up to $4bn a year, even if only half the B/Ls were digital.
The DCSA worked with IATA on the data, which has spent a decade trying to introduce e-freight and e-air waybills, and which currently have about 68% market penetration.