Maersk invests in digital shipping platform NYSHEX


Maersk has become the latest line to invest in the New York Shipping Exchange, the digital start-up that aims to bring certainty to the contract-negotiating process between ocean carriers and shippers.

The amount of money committed by Maersk to NYSHEX has not been revealed, but it is proportionally the same as the same as the other two founding members, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM.

NYSHEX went live in August 2017 after several months of trials. It has so far handled 3,250 teu worth of trades, all involving transpacific shipments.

The plan, though, is to expand the business into other markets, with the exchange’s backers hoping transactions via NYSHEX could eventually cover as much as 15% of the global box trades and save the industry up to $23bn a year.

That would be achieved by making contracts enforceable and eliminating broken contract commitments by both parties.

This is a notorious characteristic of the container shipping industry. There is no real mechanism for making either side keep to agreed cargo volumes by shippers, or ship space guarantees by carriers, for example. That means lines may be hit by over-bookings, or shippers by cargo left on the quayside, because neither side has much forward visibility on loadings per vessel.

But transactions via NYSHEX will be monitored, with penalties imposed for non-compliance.

Maersk is keen to be at the forefront of new technologies and procedural administration that are slowly transforming the container shipping industry, but is not the first to spot the potential of NYSHEX.

Five of the top global ocean carriers are already members, with the Danish line bringing the share of global capacity represented by the six to 52%.

Maersk Line joins Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, MOL, OOCL, and Cosco as carrier members of the exchange. 

NYSHEX chief executive Gordon Downes said: “Maersk Line has been a pioneer of many digital initiatives. We are delighted to be working together in digitising the freight contracting process, as well as improving shipment reliability.

“With each additional carrier that joins the exchange, our members benefit from more offerings and services to choose from.”

The member carriers on NYSHEX now represent all three major alliances: 2M, Ocean Alliance and The Alliance.

Peter Hildebrandt, head of revenue management for Maersk Line and future industry representative on the NYSHEX Member Council, said: “Our investment in NYSHEX is another example of our commitment to be a key player in the industry’s digital transformation.

“This platform will help us expand the range of digital products and services to ultimately enhance the customer experience.”