The global shipping industry will improve its approach to technological change through greater collaboration, Andre Simha, Chief Information Officer of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, said on a conference panel in Singapore.
A common approach to standardization can help turn new innovations into actual strategic business initiatives, Simha told the Global Liner – Shipping 2030 Asia conference.
“It’s great that so many shippers and carriers are all here together in Singapore discussing this topic,” said Simha. “We have always had a strong spirit of cooperation behind the scenes. Now we need to think a bit more about how we standardize where our interests are aligned, so we have the necessary critical mass to turn innovation into reality.”
For example, MSC decided last year, in collaboration with another carrier CMA CGM, to back TRAXENS, a French startup that provides technology for smart container monitoring and coordination.
Conference speakers acknowledged that shipping has lagged some other industries on technological transformation and it’s essential for the sector to discuss and address the digital trends that will ultimately benefit its customers. With the industry showing signs of recovery after a challenging 2016, the conference offered a sense of optimism about the opportunities posed by digital change.
The container shipping sector is unlikely to be fundamentally disrupted by the many startups attempting to undermine the business models of the major carriers, Simha said. The impetus for a digital facelift will come from the people who implement new initiatives, rather a single new game-changing innovation, he said.
“MSC has been monitoring and adapting to technological trends for more than 40 years and invests selectively in technologies that spark true innovation and deliver a return on investment,” Simha said. “We are pitched a lot of ideas and have developed a good sense of what is just another hype.”