Maersk keeps customer convenience at centre of container shipping
Muscat Daily -

Through all the complexities arise a lot of inconveniences which ultimately end up delaying the service. Shipping a container has no doubt been a complex process for many years. Manual and inefficient, the buying and booking process has been often full of surprises. Uncertainty of cargo movement is an issue which stumps not only the suppliers i.e. the logistics partner, but the customers as well. To elaborate further, there exist three main factors that ascertain bookings made by customers: overbookings, rolling, and downfalls.

In simple terms, overbookings occur if a certain slot(s) is booked but the shipping line still has vacant slots on their vessels; for which purpose, they must permit overbookings of up to 30 per cent of the vessel’s space to account for the high downfall. Upon receiving confirmation of the space, there are several bookings that get carried over, which will then have to be carried over to the next vessel, also known as rolling. These factors which burden the shipping line, also become a pain point for customers. Due to the ambiguity and uncertainty, there is no fixed cost, further creating a lack of transparency between the customer and the shipping line.

Driven by its goal to disrupt the shipping and logistics industry with its innovative solutions, Maersk launched a product to put a stop to overbookings and efficiently enable cargo movement in an otherwise, dicey predicament. Maersk Spot is a fully digitally-enabled, online product offering which aids customers through a cargo loading guarantee at a flat fee. With the launch of this new product, Maersk works towards ensuring trust in their customers through the promise of cargo loading, thereby tackling an age-old problem faced in the logistics industry. Simplifying the container buying/booking process for their customers helps build a stronger customer-brand experience.

Moreover, with the steady implementation of this digital tool on a large scale, there will be a catalysation of bookings made and ease of doing business in the industry at large which will boost the country’s logistics sector. This tool also enables customers to a quick view of competitive prices at any given hour. The all-in price is calculated and fixed when the booking is confirmed, which happens instantly. This dynamic online pricing fixed at booking creates one transaction for the customer from quotation to booking confirmation, profoundly simplifying the buying process while also adding a lot of transparency to the entire process. The process is seamless. When a booking is confirmed by the customer, Maersk commits to load and grants certainty in operational execution. This creates a transparent adherence between Maersk and its customers, thereby delving into the issue of overbookings. In case of any booking cancellations, fees apply at the customer’s charge. Likewise, if customer cargo is rolled, Maersk ensures compensation to the customer. This mutual bond coupled with an increased visibility of sailings and fixed prices has been to date embraced by more than 3,000 unique customers on a weekly basis, with already over 50,000 Forty-Foot-Equivalent (FFE) units booked in the second quarter of this year.

“Maersk Spot radically simplifies the buying experience for our customers. Today’s offline process can be up to 13 individual steps, often involving a lot of communication and paperwork from rate sheets to terms and conditions and surcharges, etc. With Maersk Spot, this cumbersome process is reduced to five simple and integrated steps – all online,” comments Silvia Ding, global head of Ocean Products at Maersk.

Further highlighting the value of Maersk Spot in the Indian economy, Steve Felder, managing director, Maersk South Asia states, “At Maersk, we follow the principle of being open, brave and trusted. Therefore, we are constantly exploring new ways to connect and simplify our customers’ supply chain through innovative and transparent ideas to ensure that our customers get exactly what their businesses require.”

He added, “Over the last year, we have expanded our offering with a product that provides shipping customers a cargo loading guarantee at first port of loading at a fixed price upfront. Online booking is making the buying process simple and easily accessible. The product is currently available for customers in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East on select trades.”

Ramco Cements Limited, ships around 120-200 containers from Kattupalli port to Colombo on a weekly basis by booking their cargo 1-2 weeks in advance on Maersk Spot.

“We are quite proactive about our bookings but there were still cases where our shipments were not loaded due to capacity issues which resulted in the loss of trust with some of our customers,” says Ramakrishnan D, general marketing manager of the Ramco Cements Limited. “With Maersk Spot, we no longer have the uncertainty of not knowing if we can actually provide our customers with their shipments.”

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