Recent Updates, Special Feature

COVID-19: People now seamlessly access online supports for container shipment — David Ocholi, Regional Product Manager, Trade Lens, West Central Asia & Africa

There is no doubt that the COVID 19 has significantly and negatively impacted on the global economy and since we are all likely to continue to live with the COVID 19 for a while, we have decided at IWA to go into the market to find out how market leaders plan to cope with the ‘new normal’ occasioned by the COVID 19. We had a chat with the management of Maersk in Africa on the subject matter and below is the extract of the chat:
IWA: Sir, how does Maersk Line plan to cope with the `new normal’ thrust on us by the COVID 19?
David: At Maersk Line we have continued to evolve to remain strong in a world where innovation, agility, digitization and customer-centricity shape market needs and expectations. We are an integrated container-logistics company that connects and simplifies trade to help our customers grow and thrive.
IWA: Are there things that Maersk as an organization use to do pre-COVID 19 that are likely to help your operations in this new era?

David: The truth is at Maersk Line we have always had an online platform (maersk.com). But the truth be told all across Africa, we have never witnessed a higher demand for the online (safe) solutions that we offer as we have seen during the Covid-19 crisis. Using our online maersk.com platform has never been easier than it is today. People are also more disposed to accessing onlinesupports; such as getting quotes for their transactions, placing bookings and delivery orders which can be accessed online 24/7. Likewise, you can also get access to freight quotations 24/7 using your cell phone or computer.Maersk’s vast array of digital offerings allows all customers to continue their business online and to track goods worldwide using the company’s app, as a result of the covid-19 pandemic we have seen a large increase in customers’ making use of the seamless and tailored online services available.Maersk Spot allows customers to book cargo online in just a few clicks while they are also provided with a loading guarantee at a fixed, upfront price. Remote Container Management (RCM) allows customers to virtually have eyes on their cargo from the moment the goods are locked inside the container, right up to when they are delivered to their final destination.

IWA: What are the lessons to be learnt in the way things are now being done in the Maritime Industry in Africa that can aid the development of the industry going forward?
David: At Maersk our intention is to continue our operations in the same manner as we have continued to do in this crisis by working closely with our customers and stakeholders to ensure all parties involved in the logistical supply chain, from terminals to cargo owners. We also intend to continue the spirit of partnership and collectively efficacy to keep the fluidity of intermodal freight transport. We will continue to review and learn as we move towards this “new normal” and share our best practices to find solutions for our customers to cope with the disruption while we also seek to maintain our reach and take appropriate measures to minimize our exposure.
IWA:What are the challenges we are likely to face in trying to build a new normal survival mechanism and how best can we get around the challenges?

David: Collaboration across the ecosystem participants is still a key driver for supply chain visibility and efficiency. The traditional supply chain visibility has mirrored the linear logistics flow with documents published and often passed along the chain.With Trade Lens, information and documents are available on demand, in near real time, to permissioned parties. Breaking down silos, supply chain partners can take action earlier and with more certainty.With new technology available today, combined with a strong permission model, the linear logistics chain can now be re-imaged into a more circular, information on demand platform that will drive efficiencies across all connected parties.
IWA: Are there things we are likely to gain in the new way we have started to do things or everything is all bad?  
David: We are all still learning from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the current situation it is important that all players take a holistic supply chain approach that factors the processes and defines the controls to ensure that disruptions risks are managed. Mitigation is key and using more integrated supply chains increases visibility during a crisis, making it easier to implement strategies and cushion the overall business impact. From our experience, we have seen digital transformation already occurring and also increased interest in our global integrator solutions available for our customers across Africa and globally.

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