GT Nexus Shipper Council Takes Action To Support Maersk Line

Oakland, CA: The GT Nexus Shipper Council has engaged Maersk Line in response to the ocean carrier's recently announced "Manifesto," which calls for changes in the way carriers and shippers conduct their business. The Shipper Council is also working with executives at other leading carriers to drive change at an industry level.

Created in 2007, the GT Nexus Shipper Council is a group of large shippers, across industry verticals with combined annual revenues in excess of $1 trillion. Collectively, the group moves over 5 million TEUs of ocean freight each year.

The Shipper Council came together because the companies all share a common supply chain technology platform. The group's mission is to work collectively towards leveraging technology to improve business processes and relationships with common industry partners.

While announcing the Manifesto initiative at a recent shipping industry event, Maersk CEO, Eivind Kolding, states that: "reliability is not good enough, the industry is too complicated for customers, and transparency of its environmental performance and record needs to be greatly improved." The Manifesto can be found here:

"The shipper council has been advocating change for the past two years," says Mike Murphy, associate director of logistics procurement at Kraft Foods Global Inc. "When we saw Mr. Kolding's announcement, we immediately saw an opportunity to take action. The Shipper Council members have some concrete ideas to make doing business with one another more productive and efficient using technology and jointly improving our processes. We intend to provide value for value."

"Collectively, the Shipper Council members control over 5 million TEUs of containerized ocean freight," says Dennis Melgert, strategic sourcing manager, logistics at Celanese Corporation. "We believe there is an opportunity to engage the liner industry as a group and make broad substantial change that benefits everyone. We were thrilled to see Maersk Line take the lead."

The shipper council has already established dialogue with Maersk and executives from several other leading carriers. The group is committed to coming up with specific ideas that can be implemented quickly to the benefit of both shippers and carriers. Ideas on the table include:

  • Manage allocations and improve forecasting on a secure neutral platform
  • Streamline documentation and substitute electronic bills of lading for paper to act as "one version of the truth"
  • Use technology to improve business to business processes between shipper and carrier
  • Collaborate "in the cloud" by using our virtual community to its full potential

"Reliability, predictability and simplicity create value," says Siva Narayanan, head of maritime & warehousing, at Rhodia Inc. "We believe that collaboration fused with neutral, industry wide technology adoption will help achieve the vision that Maersk put forward."

"Six months ago, shipper council executives from Kraft Foods, Williams Sonoma, Rhodia and Cargill were speaking to a well attended TPM event about this very thing," says Patrick Halloran, director of global trade and logistics at Cardinal Health. "The key now is to move past dialogue and into action. The Shipper Council is committed to making this happen."

The Shipper Council members are contacting carrier executives and hosting meetings to develop specific plans. The group will then determine what it can do to collectively address some of the shipper side changes that the carriers need to operate better.