The GT Nexus Shipper Council, a group of the world’s biggest importers and exporters, is responding to Maersk Line’s call to change the way carriers and shippers conduct their business.
The group said Wednesday its members have already established dialogue with Maersk and executives from several other leading ocean carriers.
The group, whose members share a common supply chain technology platform, aim to work collectively toward leveraging technology to improve business processes and relationships with industry partners.
While announcing the manifesto initiative at a recent shipping industry event, Maersk Line CEO Elvind Kolding stated that “reliability is not good enough, the industry is too complicated for customers and transparency of its environmental performance and record needs to be greatly improved.”
“Six months ago, shipper council executives from Kraft Foods, Williams Sonoma, Rhodia and Cargill were speaking to a well attended TPM event about this very thing,” said Patrick Halloran, director of global trade and logistics at Cardinal Health. “The key now is to move past dialogue and into action. The Shipper Council is committed to making this happen.”
Created in 2007, the GT Nexus Shipper Council is a group of large shippers with combined annual revenues in excess of $1 trillion. Collectively, the group moves more than 5 million 20-foot equivalent units of containerized ocean freight annually.
“The shipper council has been advocating change for the past two years,” said Mike Murphy, associate director of logistics procurement at Kraft Foods Global. “When we saw Mr. Kolding’s announcement, we immediately saw an opportunity to take action. The shipper council members have some concrete ideas to make doing business with one another more productive and efficient using technology and jointly improving our processes. We intend to provide value for value.”
The council said it is committed to coming up with specific ideas that can be implemented quickly to the benefits of both shippers and carriers. Some of the ideas on the table include:
— Managing allocations and improving forecasting on a secure neutral platform.
— Streamlining documentation and substitute electronic bills of lading for paper to act as "one version of the truth.”
— Using technology to improve business to business processes between shipper and carrier.
— Collaborating "in the cloud" by using the GT Nexus virtual community to its full potential.
“Reliability, predictability and simplicity creates value,” said Siva Narayanan, head of maritime & warehousing, at Rhodia. “We believe that collaboration fused with neutral, industrywide technology adoption will help achieve the vision that Maersk put forward.”
The council said its members are contacting carrier executives and hosting meetings to develop specific plans. The group will then determine what it can do to collectively address some of the shipper side changes that the carriers need to operate better.