Growth of the Shipping Industry

The shipping industry is growing well beyond its original intent. Not only have standardized containers made a huge difference in the shipping of cargo overall, but the ships themselves have made progress well beyond what people originally thought. They are getting bigger, better faster and smarter technologically. With the new laws going into place, they are also going greener which is good for everyone considering the emissions from the ships verses the environment. The most impressive part of the changes are the ease of use. Now that we have technology pushing the industry along, we have all of the conveniences that come along with that.

Fifty years ago, contacting an agent abroad might have been through a sketchy phone call or an overnight mail service. Twenty years ago, companies were still using telex services and fax machines and constant international phone calls were a regular part of the day. Ten years ago, people were emailing and document scanning, and now there are face to face conference calls on people’s cell phones and laptops via video chat. What a difference a few decades can make. And that is not the only part growing in the industry. In the 1990’s, Maersk had a phone line that they created just for its most important thousands of clients. A salesperson would give a customer a pin number and that customer could call in to a call center and get a freight shipping quote. This would be faxed to the customer same day as an official rate quote. After awhile, the pin numbers were no longer needed because less people were calling and more had started emailing and starting to use the Maersk in house information systems. Since Maersk is the largest, they tend to forge ahead in technology a little faster than some of their smaller competitors.

As these technological services grew, more of the freight forwarding and NVOCC companies used these lines of communication to grow themselves. Now the freight forwarding services are changing. It is no longer enough to have a good relationship with the trucking companies and people at the ports. Freight forwarders and NVOCCs need to develop their own programs and technological services to keep up with a faster industry. Customers are looking for them to keep up with the steamship lines only they are looking for bigger, better, faster and cheaper on top of the regular services. is a perfect example. They have introduced instant rate quotes. Just by signing in and putting in the basic information that a customer would give a steamship line, they now can plug into the website and find out their international shipping rates. This makes a huge difference to the customer since not only do they have access 24 hours a day, but they can see rates from a variety of carriers.

Knowledge is powerful and companies like these have taken technology to a new level. As a result, international commerce has grown and supply chains have grown too.

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