Box shipping digitalisation is more hype than actual success stories, Alphaliner has argued – claiming that about half of all bookings for container shipments continue to be made manually, while up to a third of shipping invoices are reported to contain errors. This is despite the introduction of e-commerce capabilities by shipping lines more than 15 years ago.
The analyst argued “Since the first generation of shipping portals was launched in 2000, the container shipping market has not seen any transformative change in the way business is conducted.”
It claimed that the three main multi-carrier shipping platforms – INTTRA, GT Nexus and CargoSmart – provide “only basic software service solutions to handle cargo bookings, shipping instructions, track and trace and exception management and reporting”.
Alphaliner opined that various attempts to introduce new e-commerce platforms and create a digital marketplace for container shipping have “flopped” and more than a year after Amazon’s entry into the shipping industry with a NVOCC licence, the company has “failed to produce any disruptive breakthroughs in the shipping market”.
Nevertheless, container shipping-related technology start-ups have raised over US$500M in venture funding since 2010, while transactions involving shipping-related technology buy-outs have exceeded US$1Bn, according to Alphaliner.
Alphaliner summed up what it believes are the ingredients for transforming the market: “New technology initiatives that can combine the operation, documentation, information and financial flows across the entire supply chain would have a better chance of success than piecemeal efforts that only address part of the supply chain issues.”