“Maersk is in a different industry but the challenges we face are similar. We have cargo, containers, cranes, trucks, vessels and paper documents, all of which are moving through the value network with data associated with them,” says Gokcen. “These physical assets and our knowledge of operating them are our core strengths. We will never be a purely digital platform, nor should we be. But with data we have an enormous advantage for optimising our assets, operations and enterprise and also for providing products and services that no one else can offer,” he says.
In Maersk Line, the process of integrating digital into the business is an ongoing and multifaceted process. There is the overhaul of legacy IT systems that will enable cumbersome, manual processes (bookings, etc.) to be entirely digitised. When complete, this will provide customers with an online space to handle all their shipping and logistics needs. Another is the continuous hiring of more people with backgrounds similar to Gokcen’s, in areas like mathematics, data analytics, product management and software development.
Then there’s the work at sea, connecting approximately half of Maersk Line’s fleet of 600 vessels to this digital infrastructure. Hardware installations, ranging from bunker flow metres to new computers and servers and communication technology will be done one ship at a time over the coming years. In the end, every relevant operational aspect of the vessel will be visible in the data points in real-time, enabling crews and the shore organisation to make the right decisions at the right time.