Maersk on Tuesday said it will begin hitting customers in the US and Canada with fees for changing bookings or documentation by phone or e-mail in a move designed to push users toward digitization.
The fees — $50 for a booking amendment and $75 for a documentation amendment — go into effect Sept. 1 and also apply to changes made by live chat, Maersk said in a customer advisory.
The extra costs can be avoided by using Maersk’s online portal or non-Maersk electronic platforms, such as INTTRA.
“This reflects our continued commitment toward digital evolution, and we encourage customers to utilize these tools for a simplified customer experience,” Maersk said in the advisory.
Maersk has been a proponent of migrating traditional ocean freight processes to its digital channel over the past year, a drive accelerated in June 2019 by the introduction of “Maersk Spot”, a digital product that penalizes shippers for container no-shows and Maersk if it rolls cargo booked online via the Spot channel.
Driven by a digital imperative
That product has seen broad uptake from forwarders wanting to offer shipper customers instant quoting capability, Maersk told JOC.com earlier this year. It is estimated that roughly 25 percent of the carrier’s spot volume is booked through Spot, and growing monthly, while no-shows have dropped.
More broadly, a range of container lines are seeking to drive core ocean freight processes online to drive broader shipment digitization. Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, and most recently, Mediterranean Shipping Co. have all built quoting capabilities on their websites.
However, broader digitization is also being driven by the carrier industry under the auspices of the Digital Container Shipping Association, which is developing guidelines for carriers to follow related to track-and-trace, vessel schedules, and electronic bills of lading.
Maersk’s ambitions to digitize are also tied to its ambitions to expand to integrated container logistics, with its e-commerce functions a key part of that transformation.