MSC EVP: Ocean containers must get ‘smarter’

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the need for digitization in the ocean container carrier industry, according to MSC’s executive vice president of commercial operations.

“Our objective is to make the container a smarter object,” Tom Hughes said during a Port Houston-hosted webinar on the state of imports Thursday.

The rise and fall of coronavirus outbreaks has made for “a very dynamic situation” and requires close collaboration among the shipping lines and their port partners, customers and intermodal providers, he said. “It takes a whole community.”

A digital community would provide that needed transparency and visibility as the world’s ports currently struggle with congestion caused by import surges that followed factory shutdowns, particularly in China.

“We need to be able to react when we see things that are turning,” Hughes said. “Watching those trends now so very closely is what’s most important for us right now.”

Based in New York, Hughes oversees all U.S. imports for MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co.

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Source: American Shipper