Customer experience improves significantly as booking a container with Maersk becomes as easy as booking a flight ticket.

With the introduction of instant booking confirmation, Maersk customers can now complete their bookings within seconds compared to previous waiting times of up to two hours.

Eliminating this delay, as the first in the industry, is a top priority for Maersk as the delay triggers uncertainty and extra workloads in managing supply chains for the customers.

"We are now making it as easy for our customers to book a container as booking a flight ticket. Instant booking confirmation makes it faster, easier and simpler for our customers to interact with Maersk. It is a milestone for the entire industry and a concrete example of how we are bringing our strategy to life when we improve the customer experience through seamless digital offerings," says Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, A.P. Moller - Maersk.

With the new solution, customers get visibility of sailing options with available vessel space, a list of depots with empty containers to choose from and a choice of relevant value adding services. More importantly - they get certainty that a booking will not be cancelled at a later stage.

Due to e.g. lack of vessel space or equipment availability, around 10% of bookings placed in Maersk's systems were previously either rejected or confirmed for an alternative sailing, often spurring customers to follow up with questions and requests for changes. Such follow-up inquiries have accounted for 15% of all Maersk customer service calls and chats - and close to 200.000 emails every month.

Instant bookings on-the-go
With the release of instant booking confirmation, Maersk is also introducing online booking via the Maersk App. Enabling instant bookings directly from the mobile phone is another functionality that has long been high on Maersk customers' wish-lists, especially in emerging markets

"Maersk operates in several markets where mobile phones make up the primary working tool for the workforce. Here, Instant Booking Confirmation straight from the mobile phone will be a huge improvement for our customers' supply chain managers - it will further enable trade in these markets," said Sonny Dahl, Global Head of Customer Experience & Service, A.P. Moller - Maersk.

Instant booking confirmation is available in beta for all customers through the online booking modules of the Maersk Line, SeaLand and Safmarine brands. The functionality currently covers dry cargo shipments. Refrigerated cargo, dangerous cargo (IMDG) and inland container yards are expected to be added during 2019.


CEVA Logistics announces blockchain-based technology partnership with IBM and Maersk

As part of CEVA's longterm digitalisation initiative, the company announces a partnership with IBM and Maersk. TradeLens - the joint solution - is based on blockchain technology and increases levels of transparency and visibility along the customers' supply chain.

CEVA constantly reviews, assesses and audits concepts in the market such as blockchain to determine how they might be applied in the company's network. Identifying applicable areas in supply chain management in order to increase value for its customers, has always been a key CEVA objective. The new partnership with IBM and Maersk is the first result of this work.

CEVA becomes one of more than 90 organisations worldwide involved in the TradeLens global solution which also includes more than 20 port and terminal operators, customs authorities and 3PLs. TradeLens enables multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared-view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. It aims to establish strong, connected networks which work to a global standard for all parties.

"This strategic partnership with IBM and Maersk provides CEVA's answer to the untapped potential of blockchain applications in the logistics industry," says Xavier Urbain, CEO of CEVA Logistics. "We see high potential in TradeLens because of the real-time access it provides to all partners in the supply chain. It is a big step forward toward establishing a market standard for blockchain solutions. With our integrated network in Freight Management and Contract Logistics, combined with our global footprint and state-of-the-art IT capabilities, we will contribute significantly to both our own digitalization strategy going forward and those of the industry," adds Urbain.

Other initiatives are in the pipeline and are currently being evaluated and expected to start delivering solutions in the coming months. In addition to this, the commercial cooperation between CEVA and its anchor shareholder CMA CGM will impact the digitalization efforts of both companies with talks already under way to discuss potential synergies.


Maersk and IBM Introduce TradeLens Blockchain Shipping Solution

In a follow up to their January announcement, A.P. Moller - Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the creation of TradeLens, jointly developed by the two companies to apply blockchain to the world's global supply chain. TradeLens is the result of a collaboration agreement between Maersk and IBM, a blockchain-enabled shipping solution designed to promote more efficient and secure global trade, bringing together various parties to support information sharing and transparency, and spur industry-wide innovation.

As part of the TradeLens early adopter program, IBM and Maersk also announced that 94 organizations are actively involved or have agreed to participate on the TradeLens platform built on open standards. The TradeLens ecosystem currently includes:

More than 20 port and terminal operators across the globe, including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc, Patrick Terminals, Modern Terminals in Hong Kong, Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Bilbao, PortConnect, PortBase, and terminal operators Holt Logistics at the Port of Philadelphia, join the global APM Terminals' network in piloting the solution. This accounts for approximately 234 marine gateways worldwide that have or will be actively participating on TradeLens.

Pacific International Lines (PIL) have joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers participating in the solution.
Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are participating, along with customs brokers Ransa and Güler & Dinamik.
Participation among beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) has grown to include Torre Blanca / Camposol and Umit Bisiklet.
Freight forwarders, transportation and logistics companies including Agility, CEVA Logistics, DAMCO, Kotahi, PLH Trucking Company, Ancotrans and WorldWide Alliance are also currently participating.

TradeLens uses IBM Blockchain technology as the foundation for digital supply chains, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities can interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data ad shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.

Using blockchain smart contracts, TradeLens enables digital collaboration across the multiple parties involved in international trade. The trade document module, released under a beta program and called ClearWay, enables importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs, other government agencies, and NGOs to collaborate in cross-organizational business processes and information exchanges, all backed by a secure, non-repudiable audit trail.

During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments. One example demonstrated how TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by 40 percent, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost. Through better visibility and more efficient means of communicating, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as "where is my container" from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person.

More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container "gate-in", and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. This data is growing at a rate of close to one million events per day. Traditionally, some of this data can be shared through the EDI systems commonly used in the supply chain industry but these systems are inflexible, complex, and can't share data in real-time. Too often, companies must still share documents via email attachment, fax and courier. TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and offers an immutable record among all parties involved.

"TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitization and transmission of supply chain documents around the world," commented Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals. "This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security. Modern Terminals is pleased to participate as a Network Member in testing this exciting shipping industry innovation."

"As a global logistics provider, CEVA sees a unique opportunity in TradeLens, joining forces with IBM, Maersk and other actors from our industry to promote global standards around an open and neutral solution, delivering on the promise of blockchain. It is an important step in our relentless journey to deliver increased value to all our customers and making business flow," said Christophe Cachat, CIO of CEVA Logistics.

"We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on a single factor -bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain. "Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to form a strong, connected network in which all members gain by sharing important data and that together we can transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted."

Joint collaboration model to maximize industry adoption

Since announcing the jointly developed solution to digitize global trade in January 2018, and based on feedback from various members of the global supply chain ecosystem who would like to adopt the technology, IBM and Maersk have modified the go to market model and will now deliver their solution through an extension of their pre-existing collaboration agreement instead of a joint venture.

"Our joint collaboration model allows us to better address key feedback from ecosystem participants while ensuring TradeLens interoperability and data protection among Maersk, IBM and all ecosystem participants," said Mike White, TradeLens leader for Maersk. "We strongly believe this will maximize industry adoption."

Standards discussions are actively underway with openshipping.org and work to align the TradeLens APIs with UN/CEFACT standards is in progress. The TradeLens APIs are open and available for developer access and feedback from participants in the platform.

The TradeLens solution is available today through the Early Adopter Program. TradeLens is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.


Panalpina Digital Hub launched to promote innovation in freight forwarding and logistics

The international freight forwarding and logistics company Panalpina has launched the Panalpina Digital Hub to embrace new technologies including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain that have the potential to disrupt the business in the coming years. The new business unit, which reports directly to CEO Stefan Karlen, is to explore innovative technologies, develop new digital solutions for customers, and engage with digital start-up companies.

Panalpina, a pioneer of international freight forwarding, is embracing modern information technology and the digitization of services to meet customer expectations and secure long-term growth. As part of its digital transformation process, the company has launched the Panalpina Digital Hub, which is tasked with exploring disruptive technologies and developing new digital solutions for customers as well as realizing business opportunities for Panalpina.

“We, like many of our competitors, are challenged by new market entrants with innovative business models and digital approaches that improve upon the old way of doing things. Additionally, our customers increasingly demand the digital experience they have become accustomed to as consumers: they now expect a similar experience in a business-to-business environment,” says Stefan Karlen, CEO of Panalpina. “It is therefore obvious that the frontier of freight forwarding and logistics does not lie in new modes of transport, but in digital transformation. Knowing that, we want to shape our industry’s future with innovative digital solutions that create new levels of value for our customers and accelerate growth for our company in the years to come.”

Disruptive technologies in focus

The Panalpina Digital Hub will be focusing on innovative technologies with a potentially high impact on the freight forwarding and logistics industry, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

IoT is a technological development whereby all sorts of devices like smartphones, computers, etc. are connected to the internet. “In the short term, IoT can help us streamline our processes and create more efficient supply chains. The challenge will lie in deriving the relevant actions from the wealth of IoT data,” explains Dr Luca Graf, head of the Panalpina Digital Hub.

“Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence will optimize products and services and create new ones, as can currently be seen in Amazon’s recommendation engine,” Graf continues.

“Blockchain technology, which creates a digital record of every transaction made in a decentralized and secure way using cryptography, has the potential to disrupt the industry in the long term by impacting contracts, freight payments, chain of custody, and other issues facing the industry,” he states. While it is difficult to predict when blockchain will reach commercial break-through, Panalpina plans to start pilots with the new technology in Q3. Recently, Panalpina also joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

Potential partnerships with start-ups

The Panalpina Digital Hub additionally acts as a gateway to the bustling community of digital start-up companies, beginning with the European ecosystem. “For the moment, we are focusing on European start-ups of a certain maturity. Further down the road, we will expand our network to the USA, Israel and China,” says Graf. He sees three options to engage with start-ups: to partner with a start-up and act as a vendor for certain applications (SaaS, Software as a Service); to enter into a strategic partnership where the start-up develops customized solutions for Panalpina, allowing the company to enter new markets; or Panalpina could also buy a stake in a start-up.


Zurich and Berlin

The Panalpina Digital Hub is based in Zurich, Switzerland, reporting directly to the CEO. The experts working in the Digital Hub will also frequently be present in Berlin and Hamburg, two European hotspots with a very strong digital start-up scene. “We will engage with promising digital start-ups and work closely together with our colleagues in Air and Ocean Freight, Logistics, IT and finance, to bring viable and value-adding digital solutions into daily practice,” concludes Graf.


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