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New Container Line Association to Tackle Digital Standardization in Shipping

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April 16, 2019

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Some of the world’s top container shipping line are banding together to form an association seeking to drive new digital technology standards to boost efficiency for shipping lines and customers.

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) was officially launched in Amsterdam on April 10th after gaining regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last month. Partners include MSC, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express, with more expected to join in the future.

The plan to create a neutral, non-profit association for ocean carriers was first announced in November 2018. The association, which focuses on driving standardization, digitalization and interoperability in container shipping, is now starting operations with a leadership team made up of senior industry figures, including Maersk’s Thomas Bagge, as CEO.

“For the first time in twenty years, the container shipping industry has come together with a common goal to move the industry into the digital era. With the regulatory approval in place, we look forward for the association to take up work and to begin to collaborate with multiple stakeholders from the entire value chain,” says André Simha, Chief Information Officer of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DCSA.

One of the associations first projects will be to focus on digital standards to tackle the lack of a common foundation for technical interfaces and data. The association is also creating an industry blueprint for processes, which will be another significant part of the future of shipping. The work undertaken will be for the benefit of the entire industry, as all standards will be openly published and available free of charge to interested external parties, the partners said in a statement.

Neutral Headquarters in Amsterdam

The location of the association’s headquarters in Amsterdam, which is seen not favoring anyone one shipping company in the group. At the same time, the association claims, is that it provides proximity to shipping infrastructure and ease of access, as well as an attractive location for talented employees.  

“DCSA is working for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry, so it was important for us that the headquarters is located on neutral grounds, with no specific stakeholders or companies being favoured,” says Simha.

DCSA is also in discussions with multiple other container shipping lines around the world who are interested in joining. Preparations for two more companies to join are already in process, the partners said.

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