16-17 May 2017, European Shippers’ Council represented by its Chairman Denis Choumert addressed shippers’ concerns at the Global Liner Shipping Conference. This annual event gathered almost 200 people, with all stakeholders in liner shipping present. ESC has clearly expressed its worry with the market conditions in the maritime sector. The capacity problem which was already stated in several ESC press releases over the last months was echoed and supported by the freight forwarders and the Global Shippers’ Forum. Although the moderator of the session gave the audience the chance to respond, the representatives of different ocean carriers preferred not to join the debate.
A very recent survey presented at the conference shows that due to the current shortage of space, the disappearance of Hanjin and the forming of the Alliance, shippers are careful to sign long-term contracts with carriers. They will do a more in-depth risk analysis before committing to longer term agreements, and they will put more effort in supplier relationship management.
Regarding the topic of digitalisation discussed at the Global Liner Shipping Conference, ESC presented the valuable CORE project developments. CORE’s objective is to enhance reliability and efficiency of legitimate trade whilst enhancing the effectiveness of supervising and safeguarding supply chain security. But the success of CORE will highly depend on the degree of digitalisation of the supply chain. Liner shipping has high ambitions when it comes to that same digitalisation, with Maersk playing an important role in CORE. The fact that ESC and Maersk were on stage at the same time shows that cooperation between shippers and service providers is indeed possible and rewarding. The cherry on the cake was that the CORE solution with respect to digitalisation aims at the end-to-end process, and not just part of the supply chain.