The changes in container industry practices called for by Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding will take years, according to shippers and Maersk Line who are getting ready discuss a new way to do business in the next few months.
Representatives of the 60 big global importers and exporters that are members of the GT Nexus Shipper Council are setting up meetings with Maersk Line and 30 other top ocean carriers to discuss improving their electronic communications to ease cargo booking and shipment tracking.
“We zeroed in on the technology part, because we said ‘this is something we can work with you Maersk on and we encourage further and deeper dialogue’,” said Patrick Halloran, director of global trade and logistics at Cardinal Health and chairman of the Shipper Council.
Maersk Line said the dialogue with shippers is likely to be only the beginning of a long process. “It’s not easy to change the way things have been done year after year, even when both carriers and shippers agree that the industry needs to change its operating model. This is an old industry,” said Timothy O’Connell, senior director of trade and marketing for Maersk Line USA.
“What goes on in China is different from what goes on in the U.S. and Europe,” said Halloran. But he said the information is the same. “The key is how can we leverage the IT platforms we both have in place to get the information we all need throughout the shipping process more efficiently and usable without creating expensive customized solutions for each customer or carrier.”