Freight forwarders choice to be part of digitalisation of container shipping: Maersk

René Piil Pedersen, group representative Asia Pacific & managing director for Maersk Group RenĂ© Piil Pedersen, group representative Asia Pacific & managing director for Maersk Group

As the world’s largest container carrier Maersk Line pushes ahead with digitalisation of the customer experience its raises the question of role of intermediaries such as freight forwarders.

Maersk has set an out a vision to be a leader in the digistalisation of the container shipping and has tied up with Alibaba Group for online booking from China and IBM on the use of Blockchain to digitise paperwork processes.

“With the growing focus on e-commerce and digital solutions, SMEs and consumers who were not directly linked to the global supply chains, now have the opportunity to connect, giving companies the opportunity to address consumer needs in a more direct and efficient way than ever before,” René Piil Pedersen, group representative Asia Pacific & managing director for Maersk Group, told a Sea Asia media roundtable on Thursday in Singapore.

Quizzed on where this would leave freight forwarders in the booking process for container shipping Pedersen said: “Forwarders can chose to be a part of the solution or not. We own a forwarding company Damco and we think they have a great future.”

While e-commerce can be seen as threat Pedersen also believes there are opportunities. “With e-commerce you see in this region you will reach new customers with the development of warehouses, last mile delivery…. there is definitely a sweet spot for forwarders.

“But as with any other part of the industry they have to embrace the technology and they have to look for where can they help customers – that’s the name of game.”

He concluded: “I don’t think this is the end of the game for forwarders.”

Sea Asia, the premier maritime and offshore conference and exhibition in Asia is returning for the 6th edition on 25 - 27 April 2017 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore and co-organised by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation.

Posted 31 March 2017

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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