The Global Shared Container Platform looks set to save shipping lines money and completely change the way they manage their container fleets. Its founder explains
Blockshipping has taken a major step towards its Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP) with the launch of an initial coin offering (ICO) on 14 May.
And it already has a top-20 container carrier signed up to the world-first registry of the world’s 27M containers – and is in discussions with six other shipping lines.
Chief executive and founder of Blockshipping Peter Ludvigsen, who has 39 years of experience in the container shipping industry including lengthy spells at Maersk, has been interested in setting up such a platform since the mid-1990s and told Container Shipping & Trade “It is my life’s dream to make this happen.”
The platform promises a lot to cash-strapped carriers – it is set to save the global container shipping industry US$5.7Bn annually through smarter handling and repositioning of containers.
Mr Ludvigsen explained “It is a completely new way of managing containers – carriers are spending huge unnecessary costs on repositioning empty containers.”
The blockchain register of the world’s container fleet will allow much better transparency, allowing the location of containers to be seen in real-time through sensors. It will be possible to reduce the container fleet by 15%, not only reducing costs but leading to annual CO2 reductions of 4.6M tonnes.
It will have a ‘huge impact’ as carriers will no longer need to own a fleet of containers as they can simply make a reservation on GSCP. Currently around 50% of containers are owned by leasing companies and 50% by carriers – but GSCP is set to change this. Mr Ludvigsen said “Leasing companies that are savvy and modern and see the benefits of sharing containers will probably embrace this and carriers will see that there is no need for them to have a lot of financial assets tied up in containers when they have that same kind of security and certainty by using our platform.”
He said he had a long-term vision for Blockshipping whereby container investment syndicates of ordinary citizens can be set up via the platform to invest in containers. “This means that they are no longer wholly owned by around 12 leasing companies but will democratise containers, lowering the costs for carriers to lease them.”
Carriers join up
He is very pleased with GSCP’s first customer, a carrier ranked in the top 10-20 largest shipping lines. “This carrier has always been interested in shared containers and was the perfect match,” he said. This shipping line will also be Blockshipping’s first member of its customer advisory board, and so will help to shape and develop the products developed by Blockshipping.
“I am quite confident that we will get some of the biggest carriers joining, but in the beginning, it will probably be medium-sized carriers who join.”
Crucial to the register is that it will use blockchain. “Carriers are fierce competitors but using blockchain makes it easier for them to use a shared platform. They can get comfort from using our platform because all operating rules are built in, so they need not be afraid of one company getting an advantage over another. Carriers can decide who they want to share equipment with.”
Crucial to launching GCSP is the ICO, which will run until 14 June. The target is to raise US$24.8M. “I am very confident that we will achieve this,” Mr Ludvigsen said. “Our ICO is quite unique. It is built on a sound business case and we have had a lot of interest from the container shipping community.” The ICO also provides credibility to the company, underlining that their outlook is long-term.
It is the first shipping ICO in Scandinavia and the first ever in Denmark. “The ICO is the fastest way to get funding in place for the full development of the platform – without it, it would take about five years to develop.” The ICO will cut this down to two and a half years.
Product development will start in June this year, with the plan for the first product to be up and running in January next year. When fully developed, the GSCP platform will include more than 34 different products and services related to the global handling of freight containers.