Global shipping giant Maersk Line has made another move to fully digitalise its supply chain with the adoption of a new platform that will speed up the distribution of contract rates and improve data accuracy.

The company has become the second major ocean carrier to join CargoShere’s “neutral rate network,” following Hapag-Lloyd in March, in a move that will tackle what the technical solutions firm says is a pain point for many logistics companies – the time and labour costs to manage contract rates.

“Digital ocean rate distribution removes many of the manual processes that have acted as a drag on rates management for many years,” says Neil Barni, managing director of CargoSphere. “Having Maersk Line go live on the CargoSphere platform is a big signal of its intent to transform its own key processes and the industry solutions it takes to market. This is a win for productivity and the customer experience.”

Benefits to customers of 100% digital rate distribution include time and cost savings, improved data accuracy, online access to timely rates for better decision making, faster reconciliation of invoices and faster quoting to customers for freight forwarders and non-vessel operating common carriers  (NVOCCs).

Maersk Line says it is now digitally distributing its rates to shipper, freight forwarder and NVOCC customers using CargoSphere eSUDS (electronic Smart Upload and Diagnostics Solution) and the CargoSphere Rate Mesh.

“This move is part of the Maersk Line digital transformation and helps us to offer advanced, industry-leading digital solutions that improve the customer experience,” says Carsten Frank Olsen, senior director and global head of e-commerce at Maersk Line. “Our customers require a faster and simpler way to manage freight rates and CargoSphere is delivering the advanced technology to achieve this.”

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The move by Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd signals a trend of digitalisation in the ocean shipping industry that looks set to accelerate as carriers look to new technology to improve services for customers.

Earlier this year, parent company AP Moller-Maersk joined forces with technology firm IBM to establish a blockchain-based shipping and supply chain company they said will offer more transparency and simplicity in the trading of goods.