• ITVI.USA
    15,285.200
    -0.340
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.779
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.420
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,255.990
    -0.630
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,285.200
    -0.340
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.779
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.420
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,255.990
    -0.630
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    -0.240
    -6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.950
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.310
    0.060
    1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.150
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.950
    -0.100
    -2.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    1.000
    0.8%
American Shipper

Ballmer: “Not one piece of automation”

Ballmer: “Not one piece of automation”

Ballmer: “Not one piece of automation”

The shipping industry is behind the curve when it comes to its use of information technology, if you are to believe comments made this week by Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft Corp.

On Monday, Ballmer participated in a panel discussion in New York with John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco, that was moderated by PBS talk show host Charlie Rose.

   While shipping companies, forwarders and other participants in the shipping industry have spent millions of dollars on systems for cargo booking, customs clearance, and other sorts of information sharing, Ballmer seemed to think there was a lot of room for employment.

   At one point in the interview, Ballmer said, “We talk about collaboration, and kind of e-commerce and Web 2.0. Well, that’s all great until you meet a customer — I was with one of the large container shipping companies, and they still pass completely by paper all the documentation that’s required to get a cargo container onto a ship. There’s not one piece of automation in that process today; it is entirely paper-based.”

   Ballmer has made the same point about the shipping industry before, in October 2006.

   Speaking at a conference in Florida he recalled how “I was with the top management of this company Maersk Moller, which is the largest container shipping company in the world. And they were explaining to me how ad-hoc, chaotic, unstructured and paper-based it is to load a container, to get the container through customs, and to get it on a ship.

   “There is almost nothing that is nearly as electronic or as structured a process as they would hope for, but that’s their business, that’s where they make their money,” he said. “And we were talking exactly about this issue, the kinds of capabilities to put a little bit of orchestration without sort of too formal a process around some of these structured business processes.”

   Asked for a response to those comments, Eivind Kolding, CEO of Maersk Line, told American Shipper, “there is no doubt that all container shipping stakeholders, including customers, carriers, vendors and regulators, will benefit from more industry standardization as well as alignment and automation of processes across the transport chain.

   “The container-shipping lines, including Maersk Line, have already invested substantially in IT solutions, but further alignment of all above stakeholders is required to fully benefit from modern technology,” he added. “This is very much in the interest of the container-shipping industry as the manual processes today are a cost — not an income — for the container shipping lines.”

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