Shipping should start to prepare itself for a future where total emphasis will be placed on the efficient and digitised movement of goods along the supply chain rather than on the individual components of the chain such as the ships themselves, according to one of the industry’s most influential thought leaders.
Morten Lind-Olsen, Norwegian entrepreneur and CEO of Dualog, said that while the drivers for greater innovation and efficiencies are now the asset owners because they know that whosoever of them ‘has the better digital strategy will be the one to succeed’, companies like Amazon will demand that the perception of logistics from their point of view is fully understood.
“This means that the value will be derived from the goods themselves benefiting from the whole supply chain being digitised,” he added.
“People talk about digitisation and the exciting opportunities it poses for shipping, but the real challenge so far has been to have enough IT connectivity between ship and shore. Now shipping has made this ‘big leap’ towards more stable and improved IT connectivity, the ships are able to react more in the same way its terrestrial counterparts have reacted over recent years,” he said.
This all raises the this raises the question as to whether we could start to see the large IT and logistics powerhouses like Amazon become shipowners? Morten’s response to this is quite clear: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon owns a shipping company soon, if they don’t already,” he stressed.
But there is a contention that shipping has taken something of a back seat in the drive for a digitised supply chain with many shipping companies positioning themselves to be competing against each other just on price.
“You need to be part of something bigger to survive in the long run. I don’t think a traditional carry from A to B shipping line will have a bright future even if they can operate more efficiently because they will be put up against each other to compete instead of representing added value to the total supply chain,” he said.