MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express have officially established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) to drive standardisation, digitalisation and interoperability in container shipping.
The plan to create a neutral, non-profit association for ocean carriers was first announced in November 2018 but has started operations now it has gained regulatory approval from the Federal Maritime Commission. Maersk's Thomas Bagge will head up the association as chief executive and statutory director.
The aim is to create common information technology standards to make the industry more efficient for both customers and shipping lines.
MSC chief information officer and chairman of the supervisory board of DCSA André Simha said “For the first time in 20 years, the container shipping industry has come together with a common goal to move the industry into the digital era. With the regulatory approval in place, we look forward for the association to take up work and to begin to collaborate with multiple stakeholders from the entire value chain.”
DCSA said one of the first projects is focusing on standards to overcome the lack of a common foundation for technical interfaces and data, in order to overcome some of the “biggest pain-points in the industry”.
The association is also creating an industry blueprint for processes, which will be another significant part of the future of shipping.
The work undertaken is intended to be of benefit to the entire industry, as all standards will be openly published and available free of charge to interested external parties.
The location of the association’s headquarters in Amsterdam “will not favour any of the large shipping companies”, explained DCSA in a statement. “At the same time, it provides proximity to shipping infrastructure and ease of access, as well as an attractive location for talented employees.”
“DCSA is working for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry, so it was important for us that the headquarters is located on neutral grounds, with no specific stakeholders or companies being favoured,” said Mr Simha.
DCSA said it is in discussions with multiple other container shipping lines around the globe who are interested in joining. Preparations for two more companies to join are already in process, it added.