“Instant” is the word of the day. We can instant message people; stream movies instantly; buy a new book online with only a click of the mouse, reading an e-copy right this instant; and even book a flight to another country in seconds. It seems that every industry has utilized technology to give consumers what they want: instant service. That is, every industry except the cargo shipping industry. Certainly, the international nature of shipping cargo overseas makes it a more complicated industry than many; however, does that mean instant service is impossible? Elvind Kolding, CEO of the world’s largest container shipping line, doesn’t think so.
Kolding released a manifesto to the industry calling for a change in practices. Traditionally, the sea-based cargo shipping industry has been focused on battling over rates. There is no doubt that numbers matter when it comes to the importing and exporting customer. Yet, Kolding wants to put a greater focus on what the consumer really wants and needs. According to Kolding, Maersk Line has identified three areas that will meet the future demands of customers when focused on. These areas are top environmental performance, unmatchable reliability, and ease of business. Ease of business? Does this mean no more back and forth with bills of lading, paperwork, and all the hassles customers have to go through every time they import or export? Kolding certainly thinks technology can be utilized to make this process much easier. “What if placing a shipping order was as easy as buying an airline ticket,” he asks.
We’re sitting on the brink of change in the sea-shipping industry. Could Maersk Line use technology to shake up this industry as companies like Amazon and Netflix did to their own? Technology has not yet brought us teleportation technology to instantly transport cargo from country to country, but surely it has created the means to set up overseas delivery instantly.