- A new offering from Maersk, Maersk Spot, will allow shippers to book guaranteed container space in a fully online process, the company announced Tuesday. The service is available on all trades except those going in and out of the U.S., Maersk said.
- This is meant to simplify the process for shippers and also provide more visibility and reduce the chance of overbookings and cargo rollovers. Maersk Spot ensures a customer's cargo makes it onto the ship, Maersk said.
- "It is not uncommon to see overbookings to the tune of 30%, and often this leads to rolling of the customers’ cargoes since there is overbooking to compensate for the high downfall," Silvia Ding, the global head of ocean products at Maersk, said in a statement. "This creates a lot of uncertainty for our customers."
Maersk Spot takes what was a 13-step offline process involving paper and communication and turns it into a five-step online process, the company said.
Maersk commits to load the container when a shipper books through this service. "This is a mutual commitment between the customer and Maersk which ensures that the vicious cycle of overbookings is addressed," the announcement reads.
Overbookings can lead to cargo rollovers, which means a container is not loaded onto the ship it was scheduled to sail on. Rolled cargo is not uncommon in the world of ocean shipping and is more common during peak season and in the weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year, according to the freight forwarder Flexport.
This announcement comes after Maersk CEO Søren Skou said in March the carrier would have instant booking and confirmation on nearly all cargo shipments by mid-2019.
The booking of ocean shipments is becoming increasingly digitized with carriers looking to make it easier for shippers to schedule space on their ships. CMA CGM also announced My Prices last month, which gives shippers the ability to get instant quotes and handle booking through an online portal. In April, the French carrier added "priority boarding" and secured cargo space for customers through its digital platform.