- A.P. Moller – Maersk,Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE) have formed the Digital Container Shipping Association after receiving regulatory approval from the Federal Maritime Commission, according to a press release.
- The purpose of the organization is to create digital standards for the ocean shipping industry "to create value and to quickly overcome the pain points in the industry," according to the release. All of the association's work will be published and available for free.
- Thomas Bagge, formerly with Maersk, is CEO of the association, and Andre Simha, CIO of MSC, is chairman of the advisory board. The association will be based in Amsterdam, which the announcement called "neutral grounds."
This effort by several major players in the ocean shipping industry was forecasted in November when Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and ONE confirmed plans to form a global association of ocean shipping lines with the purpose of creating open source tools to speed up digitization in the industry.
"Such future common standards could be a lever to enable the use of new technologies and improve the way existing solutions from different stakeholders work," Simha told Supply Chain Dive in an email in November.
At the time, regulator approval was a concern since the interested members (Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and ONE) represented 60% of the market. CMA CGM is not included in today's announcement, but the announcement said the association is in talks with several other shipping lines, and two additional carriers are nearing membership.
Ocean shipping has been a notoriously slow industry to digitize, and creating a common set of standards could pave the way for the development of industry-wide digital networks that could help shippers track freight across carriers and offer better visibility to all stakeholders.
"The association is also creating an industry blueprint for processes, which will be another significant part of the future of shipping," the release reads.
Standards are also a key component in the development of any blockchain solution. Of the founding members of the DCSA announced today, only Maersk is involved with any of the handful of ongoing industry initiatives — having founded the first in TradeLens.
A number of other carriers not part of DCSA, including CMA CGM and COSCO, agreed to develop a separate blockchain platform in November. Should they join the association in the future, the standards could help with seamless development of blockchain solutions across the industry.