Through digitalization, it is expected that the ocean transport of containers will be more efficiently organized. It is without doubt that containerization has revolutionized the world of ocean freight but it is also interesting to note that the business model of liner shipping dates back to the early days of the British Empire.
The system of fixed frequencies of sailing was only continued from the days of passenger and freight transport systems. However, buyers of ocean freight are not really interested on sailing frequencies or transit times because what is more important is guaranteed time of delivery of their goods to the destination. Digitalization will mean more organized and efficient ocean transport of goods or on-demand container shipping.
Digitalization and any corresponding changes in global manufacturing networks will make current business models look inefficient. Since there are more distributed manufacturing networks and more personalized on-demand production of goods, mass production will be replaced. This will eventually lead to a change in the logistic network because the transportation network will be distributed. This means the point-to-point volumes will be smaller and a lot less predictable while the number of points served will be greater.
The winners in a digitalization system will be those that have effectively controlled their logistics with some visibility on the complex flows. With enough aggregation and digitalization visibility in cargo flows, super shippers will be able to organize ocean freight in an organized manner. It could entail chartering for only the tonnage needed or departure time only when required and servicing on ports needed by the particular voyage. The highest possible utilization will be achieved along the route.
However, it is very unlikely for the super shippers to consider shipping operations as their core business. It is more possible for operators and super shippers to join forces in optimizing logistics so that the economics of chartering a vessel will be improved.
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