About Maersk Group

The Maersk Group consists of a collection of companies operating within two main industries of shipping and energy. Maersk Group has four core businesses which include Maersk Line, APM Terminals, Maersk Oil and Maersk Drilling. Through these companies and several others, the group employs roughly 89,000 people.

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    Maersk’s Star Cool system named in the world’s most inspiring innovations

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    Star Cool’s ability to keep food fresh over wider distances has placed Maersk Container Industry among top-100 in a worldwide survey of more than 900 innovations. The companies ranked in Sustainia100 receive praise from one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair of the UN panel for climate Change, IPCC.

    “While we don’t have the luxury of time to fix the problems, we do have the luxury of readily available solutions. And with Sustainia100, we now know where to find the most inspiring of them,” he says. 

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    Industry tests show Star Cool to be at least 20 percent more energy efficient than all other container refrigeration machines. And with the addition of Controlled Atmosphere (CA), potential shipment time of bananas, avocados and other high-respiring fruits and vegetables has more than doubled. This signifies “state-of-the-art innovation providing businesses with new market opportunities,” according to the Sustainia100 criteria.

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    Mandag Morgen, Scandinavia’s largest think tank, is behind the Sustainia100 index with support from among others UN Global Compact, WWF, Regions20, Monday Morning Global Institute, IFHP, Novo Nordisk, Storebrand, DNV GL, Realdania and Brunata.

    Learn more: 

    The full Sustainia100 publication with 100 selection cases available here. In total, more than 900 innovations deployed in 142 countries were part of the survey. Read it here.

    Read more on our Star Cool units keeping goods fresh over Russia’s vast distances here

    Posted on Tuesday, August 19th 2014

    Tags technology container innovation star cool maersk container industries maersk line global trade

    Automakers to new markets

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    The automobile industry is the picture and paradox of globalisation. Its complex supply chains cry for centralisation, but the industry is local by necessity. Establishing plants in growth markets, automakers face new challenges and Maersk Line is poised to help automakers set up in new markets while continuing to cater for existing plants and markets. 

    Today’s automotive assembly plants produce a vehicle every minute. With roughly 2,000 parts to one vehicle and lean inventories a permanent fixture, the steady and consistent flow of parts through the supply chain is essential. This is a perfect match for Maersk Line’s new automobile division.

    "The key thing for automotive plants is to find the necessary parts in time, so you don’t have a USD 20,000 vehicle not being built because a USD 1 part is missing,” says David Gonsalvez.

    Gonsalvez, a supply chain management professor at MIT-Zaragoza, knows this challenge better than most. As director of the global supply chain strategy at General Motors, he was responsible for planning the steady flow of parts to plants for years. And the challenge is easy to put into words.

    “You come to work every day not looking for what goes right, but expecting that something is going to go wrong. And you have to be ready to handle that. That’s the core of the business,” Gonsalvez explains. 

    Managing expectations

    Lars Kastrup heads Maersk Line’s automobile business segment. The team focuses on consistent delivery, so the automotive plants can retain their lean inventories without increasing the risk. 

    “In our business, the customers do not want to hear that things have gone well. They want transparency, and if a container is delayed, we are on the phone to find a solution so they get the parts,” Kastrup says.

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    Another key service is to manage potential variations in volumes, for example 200 containers one week and 300 the next. Equally important, the team has decades of experience from the industry.

    “Industry knowledge is extremely important to these customers, and they appreciate being able to speak with someone who knows the business. Exceptions are unavoidable, but we can proactively manage them and find ways around when that is needed,” Kastrup says.

    Therefore the first goal is to target major industry players, many of which are Maersk Line customers already, win a larger share of profitable business, drive up customer satisfaction and outperform competition.

    Adding value

    With globalisation set to increase, David Gonsalvez sees new production facilities opening in emerging markets.

    “When you reach a critical mass, you start building vehicles locally. Since the product is so large, that always makes sense. Currently, we are seeing a lot of production moving to Asia, Eastern Europe and South America,” he says.

    is is challenging if you don’t have people who are familiar with the language, the culture and how to get things done in a particular economy. You have to build that skill up within your organisation. Similarly, you have to build supply chain capabilities locally. In many cases, you’re starting from scratch.”

    “If automakers can overcome the challenges, the efficiencies that they gain from producing locally, or from taking advantage of local conditions to produce for a global market, are very large,” Gonsalvez says. 

    While small and medium-sized automotive companies in particular cannot be in every country, they could sell their product if somebody were to enable it.

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    "The key thing for a shipping or logistics company is to transform from being purely a transport provider to becoming a partner that adds value to the product. And if you understand their business, you can propose solutions,” Gonsalvez says.

    Opening new markets

    Currently, Lars Kastrup and his team are targeting a number of up-and-coming Chinese automakers, with the specific purpose of helping to drive their global growth.

    These companies may not be household names today, but that is exactly the point according to Kastrup. 

    Hyundai has been a customer since the early 1990s, shipping to Europe. The brand was establishing itself in the market, and we have been able to assist their global growth. Today, Hyundai is the world’s fourth largest automotive producer and a very important key client for Maersk Line,” he says. 

    “Specifically, we have jointly grown with Hyundai into Russia and Latin America, and this is something we would like to replicate with newcomers from China. In this sense our global network is also a key selling point.”

    The Chinese automotive industry is booming and double-digit growth rates are nothing out of the ordinary. Exports are also rising. By next year, Lars Kastrup aims to have five partnership contracts with such companies, with the specific purpose of developing them abroad, for instance with joint growth aspirations in African countries. 

    Beyond pricing

    So far, the automotive industry has located manufacturing at certain locations for reasons primarily linked to cost. Logistics have been an afterthought. Recently, Lars Kastrup sees a change to that mindset.

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    “Instead of seeing logistics as a cost issue that just needs to be negotiated as much as possible, we are now seeing an interest, very early in the process, to have the right logistics partner that can provide transparency and add value throughout the supply chain,” he says. 

    Therefore customers are not necessarily interested in negotiating contracts every month. If they build a plant worth USD 1 billion in an emerging market, they are more interested in Maersk Line’s long-term commitment to that market, as this is a key factor in their ability to utilise the capacity at the plant.

    Longer contracts with sustainable freight rates are therefore not uncommon for Maersk Line’s automobile sector, as the market is recognising the value proposition to the industry. In return, Maersk Line commits investments and resources. 

    Be prepared

    David Gonsalvez sees these trends in emerging markets representing much opportunity.

    “People don’t do globalisation for globalisation’s sake. The concept is this: how do you make your product more efficiently? How do you make it more cost effective? Right now we see different levels of maturity in different operations. Ideally, everybody would like to access to the same process and the same operation, throughout the world.

    Even in the next decades, we are not going to see that kind of consistency,” Gonsalvez says, adding: ”The key thing is being able to understand that the winners are those who have to identify the trends that are happening in the world, understand how they are going to influence their business and then prepare accordingly before anybody else sees it.” 

    Article by David Gonsalvez, Supply Chain Management Professor at MIT-Zaragoza.

    Written for the Maersk Post

    Posted on Monday, August 18th 2014

    Tags Automakers maersk line new markets growth market automotive automobile industry

    Securing the future of Danish oil production

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    New ideas and technology are needed to extend the productive lifetime of oil and gas in the North Sea. Denmark is no exception, and this is why the Danish Underground Consortium (DUC) has high expectations for its DKK 1 billion investment in a new research centre. 

    100 researchers, ten years and DKK 1 billion. Just some of the impressive numbers behind the newest research centre, soon to open its doors at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). There are high hopes that the ideas generated here will lead to new technology that can help extract a larger potential from the Danish North Sea.

    “The centre is an investment in extending production from the Danish sector of the North Sea. We have already been producing oil for over 40 years, and there is a need for innovation to continue for many more years to come,” says Troels Albrechtsen, Head of Corporate Technology and Projects in Maersk Oil and Chair- man of the Danish Underground Consortium, Operations Committee.

    “Our expectations for the centre are high; otherwise we would not have invested in it,” says Albrechtsen. “By providing security for the researchers with a long grant period, and close cooperation with the industry, we want to create the best conditions for achieving results that can come into practice. However, we also know that all research is attached to uncertainty” he says.

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    Connecting industry and research

    An important part of the equation is the director, Bo Cerup-Simonsen, a former DTU academic and career engineer. He previously headed Maersk Maritime Technology, where he most recently worked on the boundary between research and application of technology with one of the world’s largest vessels, Triple-E. His new assignment at the oil research centre is in many ways similar and just as big.

    “Researchers and operators in industry normally have very different cultures, languages and mind-sets. One of my tasks will be to help get the two different worlds to collaborate. I believe that if we can get these two groups of extremely resourceful people to work towards the same goal, we can achieve great results,” says Cerup- Simonsen. 

    Billions at stake

    Even though the goal for the centre is simple, it is not easy. Even after 40 years of production there is still a high potential in the Danish North Sea; however, it is complicated and can be expensive to improve production from the mature fields.

    Today, recovery rates in the Danish sector of the North Sea are anticipated to level off at around 26% of the total volume of oil in place. The recovery level was made possible by Maersk Oil’s innovative approach to horizontal drilling and water floating. If the new oil research centre can find new methods to increase this, it could contribute billions of kroner in additional revenues.

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    According to figures from the Danish government, each single percentage-point increase in the recovery factor translates to around DKK 70 billion in additional production value.

    The subsurface is complex and therefore innovative thinking is needed to help increase the recovery factor. Every additional barrel of oil that can be recovered from the North Sea creates more tax revenue for Denmark. At the same time, it can help to prolong Denmark’s energy supply independence for a longer period than previously anticipated,” says Cerup- Simonsen. 

    (Hear more from Bo Cerup-Simonsen in this video here)

    In order to succeed in its goal, the new centre will attract scientists at the highest levels from Denmark and abroad, while also contributing to the education of tomorrow’s top oil engineers. 

    By Charlotte Holst for the Maersk Post

    Learn what impact sheep’s wool is having on our oil filters here

    See how our Quest for Oil game is sparking an interest in the oil and gas industry here

    Posted on Wednesday, August 13th 2014

    Tags maersk oil oil production technology news north sea

    Training and education with Maersk

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    The training and development of young people such as Brita Nydal and George Lund hold a special place at Maersk. We know that our future success does not only depend on the staff we have at present, but the staff we develop for the future.

    Around the world, we offer graduate and maritime education programmes within seafaring, engineering and logistics. The aim of these is to offer a world-class environment to help young people develop their skills and passion for careers within shipping and energy.

    Below is a list of courses and programmes we offer.

    For those interested in jumping onboard our mighty Maersk vessels:

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    Enjoy sailing the seven seas?

    Our Deck Cadet Education Programme offers theoretical and practical insights into many different areas of vessel operations including maritime technology, navigation, safety, cargo operations, leadership and management.

    Looking for a more technically oriented maritime career?

    Our Engineering Cadet Educational Programme focuses on the engine room and the operation and maintenance of the marine equipment. These skills are highly sought after in the industry and a fully trained marine engineer can look forward to a successful career.

    For those who can’t decide whether to be a Deck Cadet or an Engineering Cadet

    Our Maersk Officer Education Programme covers both disciplines giving you a wide array of skills, competencies and opportunities. You need to have A-Levels or your country’s equivalent school leavers’ certificate and to pass the Maersk admissions test which challenges a variety of logical, verbal and practical reasoning skills.

    For fresh graduates looking for hands-on training:

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    Are you newly graduated in engineering or geosciences?

    MITAS is a 2-year international entry level programme offering three 8 month placements in three different technical positions. This gives you a breadth of work experience in the upstream oil and gas industry. 

    Want to gain a fast-track career in the world’s largest shipping company?

    The Maersk Liner Graduate Programme hires individuals with a view to having a long-term career within a particular function. The primary aim of the two-year programme is to ensure an aligned understanding of our core business and our industry.

    Can you see yourself as a world-class logistics expert?

    The Damco International Graduate Programme runs for two years and offers candidates the chance to be in professional jobs in commercial or operational roles from day one.  

    So whether you’re dreaming of sailing the seven seas, fixing our rigs in the notorious North Sea, or overcoming the challenge of how to get 18,000 containers from Asia to Europe, Maersk has the right opportunity for you.

    Join us today!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 12th 2014

    Tags people training maersk training maersk education career maersk line Maersk Oil maersk drilling

    "You also have to risk losing"

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    Praised as one of Maersk Line’s absolute top performers in sales in 2013 after only 18 months in the shipping industry, Alejandro Goren stands out as a role model for his colleagues.

    “I can hands down say that there is no single week when I don’t speak to my clients at least once or twice a week. That’s the only way I can stay in the loop and know exactly what’s going on at their end, which is so important for business. I see these relationships as partnerships, and partnerships have to be nourished.”

    When it comes to customer relationships, consistency and persistence are essential elements in Alejandro Goren’s modus operandi. 

    Born and raised in Cordoba, Argentina, with a one-year adventurous stint in Alaska when he was only 17, Goren graduated in Israel with a degree in business administration. He then moved straight to Toronto, Canada for his professional debut and subsequent blossoming career.

    In other words, 33-year-old Goren has always liked to go off the beaten path, and his untraditional ways paid off in April 2014 when he was one of ten Maersk Line sales representatives to accept the Sales Master Award for a stellar performance.

    Teamwork and partnerships

    Although Goren only joined Maersk Line Reefer Sales in Buenos Aires in October 2012, the motivation for the award reflects his enormous success. ”Alejandro’s ability to deselect less profitable business and to build a healthy account portfolio based on a medium- and long-term business set-up resulted in an outstanding achievement. Alejandro delivered a 192% result to his business target, with a total revenue of USD 82 million.”

    The result triggers curiosity: how does he do it? When asked, Goren immediately points to the massive support he believes he has experienced from colleagues all over the world.

    “I could definitely not have done this by myself. I would be lying if I said it was easy for me to join an entirely new business and understand the complexity of it. People around me absolutely carried me through the first difficult months, sharing their knowledge and tips and tricks of the trade.” 

    WIn some, lose some

    Maybe a more surprising edge to Goren’s attitude and way of working is his belief in the fact that you can’t always win. “You need to be able to learn to lose,” he says with confidence. “It doesn’t hurt to have that experience once in a while; I actually think it’s beneficial. My advice to others would be not to get too crazy if you lose some business – it happens. You will be back with other results.”

    As for Goren’s own immediate ambitions, he says that he will feel both ‘blessed’ and ‘lucky’ if 2014 proves to be another winning year. “Would I like to receive the Sales Master Award a second time around? Absolutely. When all is said and done, it is an achievement I’m immensely proud of.” 

    By Nina Skyum-Nielsen

    Posted on Monday, August 11th 2014

    Tags Maersk Line people risk taking teamwork partnerships shipping

    Developing tomorrow’s employees today

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    Our commitment to youth development extends to all corners of the globe. As well as our graduate programmes and maritime education schemes, we’re always looking for opportunities to support young people in their career aims.

     Let us introduce you to a couple of teenagers who have joined our educational programmes.

    Brita Nydal

    Jumping on Maersk Innovator at just 18-years-old was a big step for Norwegian, Brita Nydal. Situated in the unforgiving North Sea, offshore life on the ultra-harsh environment jack-up rig was a steep-learning experience but one that offered excellent opportunities.

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    “You are the only one setting the limits on how successful you will be,” Brita says.

    During her time on Maersk Innovator, Brita sought to gain as much exposure to every situation as possible and had this advice to offer.

    “Learn from your colleagues on the rig and listen to them. They have so much experience that is valuable. Show that you are interested in learning, and that you are there to work and want to contribute to the team. At the same time, look at things with an open mind, think, and do not be afraid to make suggestions and come up with new ideas.’’

    And how did she feel about being the only girl in her crew? 

    “For me it doesn’t matter whether my colleagues are men or women. I am here to do a good job.” 

    Keen to join Brita in one of Maersk Drilling’s educational programmes?

    Maersk Drilling is known throughout the business world for actively engaging in training programmes that employing high-tech digital simulation centers and outstanding classroom teaching. Maersk Drilling has four distinctive options for recent graduates and experienced drillers including the MITAS programme and management development courses.

    Learn more on these programmes and how to apply here or why not meet Alexander - one of our current drilling trainees here.

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    George Lund

    It was George’s Dad who first suggested, “Why not try the Merchant Navy?” But after further research, George’s eyes lit up when he discovered the role of Marine Engineering Officer and decided to apply for Maersk’s Engineering Cadet Programme

    “What drew me to marine engineering is that my Dad and Grandad are both engineers in one form or another. I guess that had a strong influence from an early age.”

    “When I found out that I had been accepted onto the cadetship I didn’t believe it at first.”

    And his reasons for choosing Maersk were rather specific.

    “I felt that I wanted to be part of something this big, something that reached from one side of the world to the other”

    On his voyage, George will be learning everything there is to know on the engine room and the operation and maintenance of the marine equipment - skills highly sought after in the industry. 

    After deciding on his next move for the future, George feels rather confident in what the future holds. 

    “It feels good to have a career ahead of me. Before this I had no idea what I really wanted to do or what my ambitions were. But now I have something to aim for.”

    Want to join the Engineering Cadet Education Programme like George?

    The training on this programme aims to equip people for senior and specialist jobs in maritime engineering. Topics covered include management, mechanical engineering, electrical certification, automation, design and systems maintenance management

    For those who continue in the field, future prospects are bright. As Chief Engineer for example, you’ll be responsible for the overall operation and maintenance of all technical equipment on board.

    Learn more on the programme and how to apply here.

    Posted on Monday, August 11th 2014

    Tags maersk education international youth day training Cadet graduate programmes maritime education schemes

    On a mission to make shipping more visible

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    Maersk Line New Zealand and Ports of Auckland have teamed up to create a giant ‘postcard’ as part of a year-long social media campaign.

    The idea behind the creative initiative was sparked by the description of shipping in a book by UK journalist Rose George as ‘the invisible industry which brings you 90% of everything’.

    The ‘postcard’, an eye-catching Maersk Line 40-foot refrigerated container was painted by local street artists during an open day event at the Ports of Auckland’s in January. The container, dubbed the Art-Box, will travel around the world to raise awareness of container shipping as the most low cost, energy efficient form of global transportation that is essential for global economic growth and vitality.

    Click here to watch the video clip of the container being painted by Kiwi artists, Askew One and Trust Me.

    First stop Philly

    The Art-Box was launched back into service in February and just four months later, the container already has an enviable collection of ‘passport stamps’ including visits to Philadelphia, Jebel Ali and Casablanca, carrying a diverse mix of commodities along its journey: seafood, military supplies and chocolate!

    New Zealand seafood exporter OP Columbia was pleased to support the creative initiative with an inaugural shipment of frozen mussels from Auckland to Philadelphia, US.

    “The Art-Box is a great opportunity to raise awareness of container shipping and we’re delighted to start the container off on its global journey with an export shipment of Coromandel’s finest Greenshell mussels,” said Andrew Selby, OP Columbia’s managing director.

    To mark the arrival into Philadelphia, Maersk Line colleagues here organised a number of promotional activities, including a port tour for US consignee Mark Foods and local media releases to promote the Art-Box.

    “The fact that the Art-Box is a refrigerated container further emphasises the contribution state-of-the-art containerised technology makes to providing healthy, fresh food to markets throughout the world,” said Bill Duggan, Vice President of Refrigerated Sales, Maersk Line North America.

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    Where to next?

    After a busy few weeks in North America, it was off to Jebel Ali with a consignment of supplies for the US military. After unloading, the Art-Box played host to a group of excited undergraduate students from Heriot-Watt University Dubai who were keen to learn more about global shipping as part of their studies.

    Similar to its previous stop-overs, Maersk Line colleagues have been making the most of the colourful ‘postcard’ and the busy stop-over agenda has included a port event with customer Somathes, Casablanca city tour, staff photo session and special visits by three local art schools.

    With luck, and a bit of planning, the Art-Box is set to be back in New Zealand for SeePort 2015, an annual open-day event aimed giving the local community a glimpse of port operations and industry insights. Here it will be back on display to tell the tale of its worldwide travels.

    Posted on Monday, August 4th 2014

    Tags containers Maersk Line stories art street art container art art-box new zealand ports

    Building the perfect terminal

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    From computer-simulated design trials to fully automated cranes that learn and communicate, APM Terminals’ new container terminal in Maasvlakte II in the Port of Rotterdam is being built and operated with data. 

    Rik Geurtsen has a pretty good idea of what Maasvlakte II (MVII) will be capable of once it opens for business on 1 November. He has already seen it in action – and dozens of versions of it – on a computer screen. 

    We started with the productivity target and other factors we knew like vessel size and vessel type that would call at the terminal as well as expected delays, and from there we can play around with yard layouts and different equipment,” says Geurtsen, Senior Project Manager for Operations at the new terminal. 

    Computer simulations were carried out over the last six years by a specialist company, which allowed APM Terminals to test the integrity of the fully automated concept in a variety of scenarios in a realistic peak-type work situation. 

    “Without simulations, we would only have our assumptions. It gives us a way to see how it performs before we begin an expensive and time-consuming construction,” says Geurtsen. “Of course, it cannot  be made perfect on a computer, but it gives us a necessary degree of confidence in the design.” 

    imageIf productivity slows during the day at a typical terminal, multiple factors could be involved, from equipment problems, changes in vessel schedules to human crane drivers stopping to open a soft drink or tie a shoelace.

    That is a far smaller problem here. The 27 rail-mounted gantry cranes and their smaller assistants, the 36 steel-bed-like vehicles that carry containers between the ship and yard, are equipped with GPS and Transponder-based tracking, and the ongoing communication between the machines and computer systems is logged.

    “We have all the data. With constant location and operational instructions-related data streaming between the machines and our systems, we have the granularity and transparency to get to the root of any problem,” says William Rengelink, Technical Integration Manager for the project.

    Sifting through terebytes 

    And all of that back and forth communication will be stored in two nearby data centres, each the size of a large meeting room, consisting of eight server racks. This a is a treasure trove  for the future Process Excellence department, and the project team of 40 operations and IT specialists. With it they will be able to work their way through every performance failure that happens every day to find the cause. 

    For example, if a crane waits ten seconds for an AGV, it is ten seconds of unproductive activity. Why was it late? Was it due to a system issue or was the stacking not optimal?

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    "Having all the data doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier to get high performance from the terminal but it does make it easier to identify the causes of poor performance,” says Rengelink.

    “Improving it from there is a different challenge because we may have to fix sys- tems or reprogramme a vehicle or interview a crane operator or all of the above. But no doubt having the data gives us a huge advantage for reaching our targets.” 

    Posted on Friday, August 1st 2014

    Tags APM terminals maasvlakte rotterdam productivity technology computer simulations cranes

    Going Paperless

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    Maersk Line in Vietnam leads the local industry on e-saviness. General Director Bich Nyugen believes that increasing productivity through technological transfer for companies is a major way of boosting Vietnam’s competitiveness. 

    Each day, as thousands of containers are shipped back and forth by Maersk Line between Vietnam and the world, an unseen and even larger number of trans-actions are happening online. From documents to invoices and customs declara- tions, the ‘e-paperwork’ is endless.

    But thanks to automated systems, acuracy, transparency and visbility of data can now be done in less than ten minutes (a booking that previously would have taken two hours). APL Logistics is a client of Maersk Line in Vietnam, and Export Team Leader Nguyen Francra Ninh says that she remembered that it took around two working hours or more to receive booking confirmation last year.

    “Now it’s just five minutes for book- ing confirmation or 30 minutes at most,” Nguyen Francra Ninh says.

    Last year, Maersk Line Vietnam shipped 9,412 FEU (forty-foot equivalent units) for this client.

    In 2002, Maersk Line Vietnam began streamlining its e-booking, e-documentation, e-tracking and most other customer transactions. Paperless transactions have allowed for a move away from complex manual processes, focusing instead on im- proving customer experience. Maersk Line also recently conducted a local customer survey, which found that seven out of ten clients strongly believe that e-commerce is important to their businesses.

    General Director of Maersk Line Vietnam and Cambodia, Bich Nguen, says Maersk saw the trend towards e-solutions and its sweeping benefits many years ago.

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    ”And we knew it would transform not just the shipping industry, but also the business world, which is why we stayed ahead of the game with company-wide e-solutions practices before any of our competitors.”

    A trend towards e-solutions

    Vietnam’s internet penetration is high, relative to its urban population. Of Vietnam’s 90 million population, 36% use the Internet, and 32% live in urban areas. In line with these demographics are the findings of the Vietnam E-commerce Report, which found that the country’s e-commerce industry is booming, where 100% of business and enterprise survey respondents use Internet and  email for work, and 65% had specialised e-commerce staff.

    What all this implies for Maersk Line is that clients with local offices here are well aware of its competitive edge when it comes to e-solutions offered in its services.

    Nguyen Trang from Panalpina’s Europe documentation team for the European sector says: “it’s very impressive to see the improvement that Maersk Line has had in sending the bill draft to us, due to their faster system. It takes just around one hour, a very far cry from other carriers that require about half a day to do the same.” 

    “This fast service provides our customers with extra time to settle other matters pertaining to their shipments,” Trang adds.

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    Fewer mistakes

    Maersk Line’s Bich Nguyen says: “E- solutions mean less time, fewer mistakes and less, if not zero, additional costs being incurred due to documentation errors. As Vietnam seeks to compete in the world economy and trade in higher value-added goods under just-in-time productions, transaction speed and reliability of service will be key.”

    She sums up as follows: “For businesses on the whole, e-solutions mean more opportunities, including increased productivity and savings, thereby attracting more investments. This is an exciting time for Vietnam if we focus on the right methods for driving competitiveness.” 

    By Tan Ti Hui for the Maersk Post

    Posted on Wednesday, July 30th 2014

    Tags Maersk Line technology e-saviness productivity competitiveness automation logistics

    The Data Drive

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    The mountain of data being generated in today’s digital world could transform the way Maersk Group does business – the question is how to use it? 

    In Mumbai, Domingos dos Reis Silva Jr monitors a world map projected onto a giant screen. He is watching the progress of hundreds of blue and red dots, each pinpointing the exact location of a Maersk Line vessel as it goes about its voyage.

    Domingos heads Maersk Line’s Global Voyage Centre, where a team of senior seafarers monitor 200 ships, 24 hours a day, seven-days a week. “We have access to the same navigational aids as on board so all the information is at our fingertips. It means we get real-time updates on the ship’s position, speed, direction and even the weather conditions.”

    The flow of real-time data means immediate action can be taken when something doesn’t go to plan. “The voyage plan for each ship before setting off is compared to the best in class in our database. Our role is to ensure it keeps to the plan and to pick up on deviations. Effective communication with the crews means we support them in executing the most efficient and economical voyage.”

    An alarm sounds indicating that Emma Mærsk in the North Sea is five knots above her planned speed, and an immediate investigation is made to find out why. The team deals with around 7,000 of these alarms every month. “We also monitor global natural incidents,” says Domingos. “When an earthquake triggered a tsunami warning in Chile, our interaction with ships sailing in the region began less than an hour after the incident.”

    Such close monitoring helped Maersk Line save USD 8.5 million in bunker fuel costs last year, as well as providing valuable support for the safety of crews on board. 

    The power of data

    It’s just one example of how smart data use is transforming the way Maersk Group does business. In today’s digital world, where everything is connected via the internet; and every action leaves an online trail, a mountain of data is generated every day that could be used to make critical business decisions. 

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    Jasper Boessenkool, Head of Strategic R&D, Maersk Maritime Technology says cutting bunker bills could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of data use. “New developments in sensor technology and analytics mean decisions can be made based on data coming directly from the ships.

    There are lots of areas where we could improve performance – the dialogue between the ship and the terminals for example. The worst things is when a ship has to wait in a terminal, then speed up to meet its schedule. That causes waste beyond imagination because it costs so much in fuel.”

    Smarter maintenance

    The huge expense faced by the Group in maintaining its assets, means a great deal of excitement about how data could be used to shave down these costs.

    “When you design a ship, an engine or a rig, you make assessments in terms of  when to maintain or upgrade on a fairly fixed time schedule,” says Boessenkool.

    "But our ability to gather and monitor data today could pave the way for a completely new kind of maintenance management system.” 

    This could have major implications in the oil industry where maintenance costs rapidly mount up. Frederik Smidth, Chief Technical Officer at Maersk Drilling estimates the total cost of maintaining a drill- ship over a 20-year lifespan to be around USD 750 million. The annual upkeep is USD 15 million in hardware plus maintenance hours. Then every five years there’s a yard stay which could cost USD 70 million, plus two months of downtime worth USD 30 million. If we could cut even 10% off these costs, we are looking at something very interesting.” 

    Oil wells must also be shut down periodically for maintenance and New developments in sensor technology and analytics mean decisions can be made based on data coming directly from the ships.. It’s very costly,” says Henrik Tirsgaard, Head of Corporate Technology & Innovation at Maersk Oil. “Say the well produces 4,000 barrels of oil per day, if each barrel is USD 100 that’s USD 400,000 lost per day.”

    “Having a ‘real-time’ information flow could make us better placed to make decisions on when to upgrade equipment and potentially save a lot of money. One idea is to measure corrosion using acoustic signals. Combined with other parameters such as salinity of the produced water we could create a more accurate picture of when equipment needs changing.”

    Sweating the assets

    Using data in this way is all about “sweating the assets,” says Boessenkool. “It means squeezing the maximum out of the millions of dollars we have tied up in very costly, heavy assets. Being a big operator gives us a major advantage in terms of data available to us. If you only have two ships, you only have so much data. If you operate 800 ships, you have data you can apply on a completely different scale.”

    In fact, Boessenkool believes the data generated by the Group is so valuable it should be treated as an asset in itself.

    “We need to look at data and take care of it in the same way we do an asset such as a ship or a drilling rig. I think we are just beginning to discover what data can do for us.

    The question now is how we experiment with it, find the potential, prove the value and use our knowledge across the Group to share that journey.” 

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    Big data is watching you

    But while the potential of ‘big data’ might appear limitless, implementing it has its challenges. “Asking people to make decisions less on gut feeling and experience, and more on pure data analysis, means a significant cultural shift. Suddenly you change how people work,” says Tirsgaard.

    “Monitoring and measuring every action through data acquisition has a ‘Big Brother’ feel to it. But it should be used for learning and not blaming.”

    Back in the Global Voyage Centre, Domingos admits there was some resistance when monitoring first began. The captains called us ‘Big Brother’. But now they understand the value of what we do and we work together as one team.”

    While data can help in decision-making, it doesn’t take away the human factor, he says. “We never make decisions for the captains. We are here to support, but it’s always the captains responsibility to make the final command at sea,

    By Monika Canty featured in the Maersk Post

    Posted on Thursday, July 24th 2014

    Tags maersk line technology