Container lines are moving on from the hype and finding real value in digitalisation, says Ed Martin
Another week and more evidence that container lines are – to paraphrase the title of a recent Riviera webinar – moving on from the hype and finding real value in digitalisation.
While we won’t be seeing autonomous vessels plying transcontinental trade routes any time soon, what leading lines, such as Hapag-Lloyd, are reporting is tangible return on investment on the digitalisation initiatives they are sponsoring. When it comes to their fleet support centre, which oversees digital optimisation and monitoring of its 235 vessel-strong owned fleet, Hapag-Lloyd reports as much as a six-fold return.
It’s not just the ‘big boys’ who are taking the digitalisation plunge. 17 medium-to-small-sized shipping companies from around the globe entered the Contopia Factor competition, led by Israeli firm Loginno, which aims to create ‘the first digital shipping company in the world’. The winner, Brazilian container shipping company Log-In Logistica Intermodel, will have its entire fleet of 20,000 containers fitted – at Loginno’s expense – with tracking devices that enable door-to-door monitoring of containers in transit, including location, temperature, vibration and acoustics.
You know when an idea has really come of age when an industry association or grouping is set up to champion it. April saw the Digital Container Shipping Association come into being. Its aim: to enable digital standardisation in the container shipping industry. Its numbers had more than doubled one month after its foundation.
It’s clear that a little over 50 years since containerisation revolutionised the sector, digitalisation is underway and will have at least the same far-reaching impact.