Transcript #05 – How MCC became market leader in shipping – an Intra-Asia Success Story with Tim Wickmann former CEO of MCC Maersk Part 1 – Industry Trends

Time Stamp Speaker Answer
0:23 Radu Hello everybody and welcome to our fifth episode of “Leaders in Supply Chain Podcast”.  We are happy to have together with us today Tim Wickmann, former CEO of MCC Shipping.  Tim has 27 years career with A.P. Moller-Maersk Group.  He served as vice-president in various portfolios for 10 years.

 

 In the last 9 years, he was the CEO of MCC, the intra-Asia shipping specialist.  During his term, the company became one of the most successful organizations in the history, from humble beginnings, maybe to the 17th largest line of company in the world in terms of capacity, among top three feeders globally, operated 90 ships, and had over 600 staff in local agencies in 14 countries across Asia.  So great success story.  Well Tim, welcome and thank you for joining us today.

1:12 Tim Thank you.
1:13 Radu So for today, as our normal series of questions, we will have questions regarding the shipping industry, questions regarding people and talent, as well as questions regarding personal advice Tim might want to share with our audience. 

 

So without further ado, let’s start.  Let’s deep dive into the first question, which I would really be interested and I think a lot of our listeners would be, Tim.  If you can tell us a little bit about the story of MCC, you know. 

 

How did you start from early beginnings to way you left off?  And maybe if you can derive two or three key learnings in terms of your success story.

1:50 Tim Yeah, I mean, of course it’s a long story I have to admit, but I’ll try to make it brief.  It basically started back in 2007, where we in Maersk Line and I was also working for Maersk Line at that time, where we, through some help from consultancies and so on, identified that it was an issue that Maersk Line was not represented in the biggest market in picking container shipping market in the world.

 

When we look ahead, basically 10 years ahead, where we actually are not, we estimated that close to one out of four containers in the world would be intra-Asia, which is obviously a very large share and when you ask, the world’s biggest shipping line had less than 1% market share in what is the world’s biggest market, then you lose out.

 

Not just in terms of profit, but you also lose out in the biggest growth markets of your biggest customers and, of course, you are presumed of lowest possible cost.  This is a problem because the scale that you have in Asia without being part of the intra-Asia market is actually not that big, so to make a long story short, we concluded that we have to do something in intra-Asia and we then spent about 6 months figuring out how to do that, because there was obviously various ways we could acquire an intra-Asia shipping line.

 

We could set up a Maersk intra-Asia services or we could do something different, and that maybe brings to one of the key learnings that you asked for, being that we really listened.  We interviewed our own people, we interviewed customers, we interviewed suppliers, we interviewed even competitors, who kindly enough suggested various ideas on what would be successful and what would not.  And based on this input, we concluded that probably, the most successful route to take would be to have our own company and it had to be in the region and it had to be dedicated to intra-Asia and nothing else, so that’s less than three minutes.

 

Basically, how we decided to set it up.  And then I got a call from the COO of Maersk Line and he basically said to me that since I’ve been talking about intra-Asia for so long, complaining on why Maersk Line is not doing anything in intra-Asia, he said then “There you go.  Now you go and do it.”

 

And then, of course, it was a huge challenge, but for also, as I saw it a huge opportunity, because not being in the world’s biggest market would mean that in principle, you can only grow, and that leads me maybe to the second key learning of how we set it up.  I mean, we basically looked at what is Maersk Line?  What is Safmarine?  One of the other brands that Maersk has.  What are the popular shipping lines in intra-Asia and why are they successful?  Then we decided to build up MCC around.  You can say the best of both worlds as we call it.

 
5:21 Tim But it was really from the beginning and MCC existed as a feed operator in Southeast Asia, had 32 ships, had an organization like a basic organization, only South East Asia.  So when I came out to Singapore, home office in Asia, we basically had to start from scratch.

 

Then we appointed a manager in each of the countries and then we gave some guidelines to these managers, maybe very unusual or different than many other companies.  We basically said, you know, these are the guidelines.  This is what we want.  We want to build up intra-Asia, but how we do it, we leave that up to you.

6:05 Radu Yeah, so you empowered them to take the business issues.
6:07 Tim Total empowerment.  We basically said anything which is legal.  If this is what the market wants, you do it.  Don’t think about what you have learned in the past.  I mean, everyone came actually from Maersk.  It was key people from Maersk.

 

Don’t think about what you have done in Maersk or what you heard from other companies.  I mean, just do what you think is right in terms of setting this up.  Of course, a gamble and in some countries we were incredibly successful, very quickly.

 

In some other countries, it took longer time because very much dependent actually on the manager that we appointed, and the people that this manager were able to get into his or her organization.

 

Then I traveled a lot because the headquarter, I brought with me a colleague from Copenhagen, intra-Asia for Maersk.  So he was with me in the headquarter and actually both of us traveled around a lot, listening again to people and making sure that all our countrymen are on the right path.

 

We have very few like rules that we have to follow, but one of the rules we set up from the beginning was that there could only be four layers between the lowest rank in the organization and me.  It has been transpired into now five, but still we have grown from basically nothing to actually, the shipping line with the biggest carrying capacity in intra-Asia in just eight years.

 
7:48 Tim We still only have five layers in the whole organization.  Of course, I have learned a lot through 27 years and one thing I definitely learned this, that the more layers we have in an organization, the longer time it takes to make decisions, and having to go through three or four layers of authority and managers, and so I mean, especially not if you want a startup and you have to make decisions very quickly.
8:17 Radu Clients don’t like it as well,  because it translates into longer time.
8:22 Tim Of course and this is why we also gave our countrymen.  It is basically full authority to run the business, including pricing the business.  Of course, looking back, was that 100% successful everywhere, maybe not.

 

I mean I did feel from some markets that other carriers complaining that MCC is under pricing the market because, I mean, we didn’t have the knowledge in certain market.  We had our cost, but not necessarily a knowledge about what’s possible to get out of the market.

 

So maybe we were a little too aggressive in certain markets, but hey you know, the first couple of years in a startup like this, you need to get some kind of phase and some kind of mass.  Then when you have reached that, then you can stop.  You can say put things more into processes and so on.  So we had actually a couple of phases as we call it.

 

Phase 1 was called explosive growth.  I mean how do you reach explosive growth if you many layers and a lot of bureaucracy, and especially not in intra-Asia, where things move so incredibly fast and decisions must be taken.

9:34 Radu Plus your client base is very diverse and it’s extremely also country-dependent, and these people with different needs and different wants, and different realities, and different geographies, and a lot of very localized context.
9:47 Tim Absolutely.  It’s one of the big differences in the intra-Asia market compared to any other market in the world and that is that most of the cargo ship is actually controlled locally.  It’s not nominated from other regions of the world.  We estimate about 80% of the business is actually controlled locally and in some countries, we are talking 90 to 95%.

 

So this means obviously that to be sales in an intra-Asia company, you need to go out and get the business.  You don’t get any help from anyone, so you need to have also the exact right people to go out and pursue this explosive growth.  And again, some place, we were incredibly successful.

 

Some places, it took a little longer, but what we did was we did a lot of best practice sharing in the beginning, so anything that worked well in one or two countries, we immediately share to the other countries.  We said, “Oh hey, have you thought about this?  Have you thought about that?”  The fun part was actually that those countries where we had to set up ourselves, meaning in China, which we have split in three and Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, except maybe for Japan, then the five others actually where we saw the biggest success when we started whereas South East Asia will be too global and already existing MCC organization.  It took a lot longer.

 
11:17 Tim To actually grow.  I can even say it’s only in the last three to four years that we have really seen a major position taking from us in South East Asia –
 
11:27 Tim As well.  And across that brings all that learnings to the table.
 
 
11:33 Radu But it’s very interesting because if we have to summarize right?  It’s the starting.  I mean it’s the fundamentals into – It’s almost like it’s universal fundamentals, like listen.
 
11:43 Radu Ask your clients about what they need and listen to what they told you they need.  Keep it simple and in a full five layers, that’s it.  And if only more companies were like that.  Give empowerment and empower your people to take the right decisions.  Do what’s right, not follow some norms.  And I mean, it’s great.  And then communicate, share best practices.
12:07 Tim You know, when you start a company.  I mean it has a lot of fun, but there’s also a lot of decisions you have to make.  You know, do we go left or do we go right?  And then, and now I don’t want to sit here 10 years after and say that we were so smart and everything went right because we were really smart.  I mean, I have to admit there was also a little luck.

 

I mean, sometimes you have a choice to go left or right and you choose to go right and the pros and cons and both, and then it turns out to be absolutely right.  One of the things we did right, for example, was we didn’t transfer all the intra-Asia business from Maersk to MCC overnight.

 
12:48 Tim We spent a whole year slowly transferring the business over.  We had already established that Maersk really have to step out of intra-Asia if we in MCC were to be successful.  Otherwise, we would –
13:04 Radu Compete against each other, yeah.
13:06 Tim We would compete against each other and that would not have worked.  We would have lost as MCC because it’s all Maersk Line’s containers, so we would have lost.  We needed our own right for containers based on our forecast and without anyone from Maersk interfering in that.  So we also have a lot of choice.  We had to make with what’s, you know, should we continue being what’s called a feed operator?

 

I mean should we continue to serve other shipping lines or should we now just focus in intra-Asia and then carry Maersk Lines’ containers, and we chose to continue being a feed operator.  We are, in fact, these days, we are developing this work  because it’s actually more attractive and many portals than the intra-asia itself.  Hey, it’s one of those where we could have gone the other way.

 
14:27 Tim And we could actually have said, you know, let’s not do the feeder or let’s do it in a separate company or whatever, but then we said no, let’s just keep it because at least it gives us the flexibility and man!  That was a good decision.
 
14:10 Tim So sometimes I have to say also a little luck has to be there as well.
14:16 Radu Always.  And I think there’s a saying that success favors the bold or I mean, you need to have the the courage to take action, right?  And you did try this Maersk rightfully looks strategically in the market, so okay, let’s do something, and then indeed it turned out to be right and okay.  I mean there’s always an element of luck that if you don’t do it, you can never be lucky.
14:41 Tim And then I believed in this project.
 
14:44 Tim I mean I really strongly believed that if we just did it the right way –
 
14:50 Tim Then we would be successful.  And I asked, at that time, CEO for Maersk Line.  I’ve been calling.  I basically asked him for, you know, authority to do whatever I needed to do without anyone interfering and you know, I’m thinking back, you know, what were like the few key decisions made by me or by Maersk Line that this actually would be successful, and I think one of the key decisions was really that if you basically said to me you get five years and nobody will interfere or tell you what to do.

 

Of course, we will seek advice and info from everyone in Maersk Line, but basically the only one who can decide what MCC should do is you.  I mean that’s an incredible faith, I thought.  And you know, it’s one of these things that I think learning, right?  I mean if you really believe in that person and that person is very eager and have strong belief, him or herself in his project and you know, maybe take a chance with that person.  Maybe you set five years just to give me some time.

 

Maybe and he said it was only two years or three years.  I don’t know, but I really felt that okay, this is up to me.  It’s up to me to make it successful.  And I’ve been, you know – the way I have run MCC, there has been some ideas coming from some countrymen.  If you believe so strongly, you know, tell me if I can do something to help you and what you need, but you know run with it.  And then of course follow it very closely and if it goes the wrong way or I can see it’s not following the original, I might –

16:41 Radu Tweak it.
16:42 Tim Tweak it, right?  I mean I saw that as a key role for me as you ought to tweak ideas that my staff were doing, so having somebody who really believes in what they do is right.  Maybe sometimes we as leaders should gamble a little on these people and let them have the chance you know.  That’s what people did on me and it has worked.  Okay, sometimes it could go wrong, but it didn’t.
 
17:08 Tim And I think that was very important.
17:12 Radu And that’s a super powerful message, because I mean it stands true for business, it stands true for sports, it stands true for families, and it stands true for a lot of things.  I mean the principle of trusting somebody, empowering that person to do and that person typically will give his best, especially if he’s also, of course, interested and believes in the project to do much better than anybody else could have told him or her to do.
17:36 Tim Yeah.
17:37 Radu Yeah, it’s a great sharing.  Great lessons.  Thanks a lot for that, Tim.  So if we are to move on a little bit, we have a couple of very good questions regarding the shipping industry in general.
 
17:50 Radu From our listeners.  So Christian Go asks “Do you think the trend of carrier consolidation will go on?  Do you think there’s going to be like, you know, three or four major players left in the future?”  What do you think will happen?
18:04 Tim Well, I think even I have been surprised by the speed of this carrier consolidation.  You know, I’ve always thought that, so now we are looking outside intra-Asia, because intra-Asia is very different.  Intra-Asia still consists of more than 80 shipping lines and I think the prospects for consolidation in intra-Asia is very different from the other trades.

But then, I’ve always said that carrier consolidation is necessary, but the speed that it has happened with has surprised even I.  I have to say.  I do not think that we are more or less with the latest announcement of Costco and  Japanese going together and the Koreans didn’t go together and one disappeared –

 
18:55 Tim And all the rest are kind of try to force some kind of corporation.  I think maybe in terms of carrier consolidation, that there’s maybe not so much.
 
19:09 Tim Yeah.  Because, I mean, yeah sure it might help regional players and so on, but the question is will it happen to a merge or acquisition, or will it happen to just increase corporation, like has been announced that a company from Singapore and Costco will have a corporation.  And those 14 remaining Korean shipping line will have a corporation.  I mean, maybe that’s more –
 
19:33 Tim The way it can happen and maybe the Taiwanese will need to do some kind of corporation instead of fighting each other, but would they actually merge or consolidate.  I think maybe not, but hey, I didn’t expect this enormous change in just two years’ time, so I cannot.
19:54 Radu You’ll never know, yeah.
19:55 Tim What’s happening in intra-Asia and the reason why it’s different is, you know, intra-Asia is 10,000 port picks.  It’s an incredible spaghetti of corridors and you know, all these 80 shipping lines seem to all help you with their own –
 
20:16 Tim Their own strength and so on and because there’s not so much contracted cargo because a lot is on spot or short-term deals with customers, a lot is controlled locally and if a shipping line acquired another shipping line, then what do you actually acquired?  Because you are not really acquiring the customers as such, because there are 80 other alternatives out there and they can be priced away from you in very short time.  So you’re acquiring more the assets, so somebody has great assets.  Okay, and you can get them cheaply, fantastic, but that’s unlikely.  These assets are great.  You are not going to get them cheaply.
 
21 Tim And then what’s the point?  And scale in intra-Asia is different.  You know, many ports that I remember seeing on Linkedin.  There was also question about vessel sizes and the issue in intra-Asia is that many of these ports cannot even take bigger vessels, and people in intra-Asia want frequency, and they want flexibility, and they want direct services, so the argument for larger vessels in an intra-Asia market is basically not there.  It’s actually negative to have large of vessels as I see it in intra-Asia and when I say large, I’m just talking approximately 3000 tons  vessels.  That’s already lots of large vessels for intra-Asia, so if you consolidate to gain scale, your getting a scale is actually not that valuable and you are anyway getting this as you could lose tomorrow.
 
21:57 Tim Well, I don’t think this is confidential, I can  say that when Maersk Line took over P&O in 2005, P&O have a very large share of intra-Asia business, but because Maersk didn’t have a big focus on intra-Asia, we lost every single container in six months.
 
22:16 Tim And we are talking 700,000 FOB of containers, gone in six months, and I think that just shows me that, you know, if you don’t have the right product and the right attention and the right pricing, the business is gone and it has gone quickly.
22:33 Radu Quickly.
22:34 Tim Rather quickly.  So I don’t believe much in consolidation here.  What I do think is very different in intra-Asia from any other markets is just tons corporation between competitors.
 
22:49 Tim Where people help each other and share space, because you can’t.  It’s the world’s biggest market.  There’s so much cargo out there, so if you could improve  your own cost by sharing your ship with somebody else and they can then give you a new service, which you couldn’t actually do yourself, then why not do it.
 
23:10 Tim But you’re not really giving up on a competitor.  Maybe some, a few niche ports.  You can, maybe have a  competitor against you , but okay, so let’s say our 10,000 portals or maybe 500 corridors that can be protected, the rest cannot.  So then you might as well cover it.
23:27 Radu And have access to a lot of other that collaborations.
23:29 Tim Exactly.  And I think, you know, that was one thing that I really have to get used to when I started at Maersk.  “Whoa!  This is very different, intra-Asia.”  I mean, we are also feed operator, so we are faced with this situation in MCC that you know, sometimes the other carriers are our competitors, sometimes they are our partners if we cooperate and , and sometimes they are our customers if we feed up with them in smaller box, so you know relationships and –
24:08 Radu It’s a very high-breed –
24:02 Tim Very.
24:03 Radu Rather changing dynamic ).
24:02 Tim It’s a totally different mindset on how you interact in the industry compared to the other trades.
24:09 Radu And a little more interactive.  I mean, yeah, interconnected and interactive.
24:12 Tim Yes.
24:13 Radu Then Ricardo Daza was asking and Ricardo is from a different continent, so he’s asking “What advice would Tim give to logistics professionals looking to develop and improve relationships with suppliers and service providers specifically intra-Asia?
24:31 Tim Yeah, Not sure I understand the question 100%, but it actually gives me the chance to talk about partnership, because I actually didn’t mention this before when we talked about what MCC did differently, but when we set up MCC, we have to come up with this, of course, you need like a tag line, slogan, and we spent a long time thinking about that and came up with your “Intra-Asia Partner”.

 

Initially, actually the thought was because as I mentioned before, we are both competitors, partners, customers for a lot of entities in the industry in Asia, but quite quickly I realized that in Asia.

 

It’s like a little similar to South America.  I worked two years in Argentina and their relationship is also incredibly important, but I realized that this work partnership is actually something that you can turn into some kind of competitive advantage and something that I definitely needed to rethink from my 18 years in Maersk Line, because out here in Asia, the shipment relationship and the partnership feeling that you need to have with your customers, with your suppliers, with yes sometimes even competitors and even government institutions is unbelievably important.

 

It took me probably a couple of years before I actually realized that I wouldn’t admit, but this is one of the reason I’ve been traveling.  You know, there was one year where my secretary who what is she called?  She takes care of all my business cards and she said “You do now that this year you got more than 1,000 business cards.  Just this year.”

 
26:34 Tim And I thought okay, that’s a lot in one year.  Actually I think it’s one of the reasons why we are seen as a very approachable and actually as a partner.  You know, people use this partnership left, right, and center.
26:53 Radu Yeah.  It’s an empty world unfortunately.
26:54 Tim It’s an empty world, so we are actually dead serious about – I always believe that, you know, there cannot be a winner and a loser in a partnership.  That’s not possible, because then the loser will at first possible opportunity leave the partnership.
 
27:14 Tim And then what’s next to a partnership?  Right?  So we in MCC sometimes forgo short-term profit I would say, with the mindset of a long-cut term partnership.
27:28 Radu Benefit, yes.
27:29 Tim And same goes with our relationship with terminals.  You know, terminal is a big part of our –
26:36 Radu Ecosystem.
27:37 Tim Ecosystem and we pay a lot of money to terminals. Too much if you ask my honest opinion, but again they have to live and what we try to do with them is while we would say “Okay, we’ll pay you this if you can do this for us.”  I mean, again, talking about win-win scenarios, so I don’t know where Ricardo is from in the world, but if he was coming to Asia, my strong recommendation would be to create as many personal relationships as possible and share insights.  I’ve really seriously tried to understand the drivers of the other person, because everyone has their own picture.
 
28:21 Tim Right?  I mean you might think you know something, but you got to put yourself in the other one’s shoes.  Okay.  Because it doesn’t matter what you believe.  What matters is what the other one perceives as being the truth.  Right?
 
28:38 Tim And we have to understand that.  You really have to.
28:41 Radu Yeah.  I mean how can you bridge the gap. Great topic of partnership.  I mean, it’s a divided  continent.  It doesn’t work long-term.  It doesn’t work, especially in the interconnected space of intra-Asia, you cannot.  Because I mean if you screw somebody today –
 
29:05 Radu They will do the same for you tomorrow.  I mean, it just doesn’t work, so yeah.
29:09 Tim And you know, I think one of the issue is that sometimes people think that they didn’t do anything to screw the other person and they might not understand.  And what I keep telling my own staff is, but it doesn’t matter what they think.  What matters is what the other party thinks, so whether you think you’ve done something right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter, because if the other party thinks that this was not right or something is wrong, then that’s what matters.  If we want a business dealing with that person, then that’s not partnership.
 
29:40 Tim It will never embark in a win-win like that, so think rather on what the perception is and that goes for actually anything in life.  What is the perception of the other person rather than what you think is right.
29:54 Radu Hot topic and I think it speaks for a lot, and I think this is a buzzword that everybody or a lot of people use – Block Chain.  So the question is how will Block Chain affect and change the shipping value chain and what it needs to happen for it to change the shipping industry.
30:13 Tim I mean, I was the one to learn more about Block Chain to be honest, but I think MCC has maybe taken a slight back step and let Maersk fund a lot of various projects with Alibaba and with IBM.
30:31 Radu With IBM, it’s the famous one.
30:32 Tim It’s the famous one.  There’s actually a YouTube video.  I thought about it.
 
30:36 Tim Which I have seen and you know, first of all, I maybe not enough familiar with it and secondly, I think we are just at still the learning stage, because this is an institute, also just to learn.  The only thing I can say is just there is an incredible amount of bureaucracy and paperwork in shipping that I don’t think people actually understands and if shipping, in general, could be made just slightly more seamless, it would make life so easy for so many people.  The only thing to be aware of is, of course, that a lot of people is involved in this today.  In shipping goods from A to B.  Anything from customs, quarantines –
31:27 Radu Authorities and ports.
31:28 Tim Inspects and ports, anyone and of course, the more people and paper you take out of that equation, the less people have work and that is maybe how they serve their family and greater livelihood in the country there, and of course, that can be, I would say, not a restricting factor because this is going to happen definitely.
 
31:57 Tim But maybe a delaying factor.
 
31:59 Tim Because people, of course, will fight if you stand to lose your job.
32:03 Radu Then, I mean, there’s going to be some deep social implications to actually across-the-board technology.  I mean, slowly permeating all these industries and definitely, block chain lead to that, but indeed, it would be better without so much paperwork.
32:20 Tim Most definitely.  I mean some of it is ridiculous.
 
32:22 Tim It really is ridiculous.  And it just raise frustrations.
 
 
 
32:28 Tim Yes.  I mean this has to happen.
32:30 Radu Yeah.  “Even the strong increase in volumes and stagnant freight rates, who do you think will be the winners in the intra-Asian container trade?”
32:42 Tim I should say MCC.  Everything else would be disappointing.
32:45 Radu For sure.
32:48 Tim I mean, hey, it’s a difficult market and of course, many players and we have asked also as many times, you know, so how can we differentiate ourselves.  I think the winner will be those that can actually differentiate themselves, one way or the other, because you will have between 5 and 10 shipping lines, who has the same freight rate.  Similar ships, similar transit sign, similar closings.

 

Everything is similar, so who will the customers choose?  I think definitely technology and digitization is something which maybe not yet, but soon will be a differentiator.  I think those shipping lines that actually truly can make life easy for the customers.  Truly, so that the customers really see evaluate it.  I think definitely they will benefit.  Then, I mean, for all shipping lines, what we call the unit cost.

 

Basically, the total cost of shipping a container, which also depends on the cost.  What you can actually do is fundamental when the freight rates are very low as they are in intra-Asia.  I hope also that reliability, at some point in time, will become more important and more value to the trades.  I think at the moment it’s maybe not, because you know, the shipping lines with three to four sailings a week, so if you’re Monday sailing is delayed, there’s another ship Tuesday or Wednesday morning and, therefore, reliability is maybe a little less important in intra-Asia for a lot of goods than some of the other trades, because the frequency is so strong.

 

MCC is a quite reliable shipping line, because of all our feeding from Maersk and all other shipping lines, so we have to be on time in the hot ports as it’s called, so for us, it’s a differentiator, but I just don’t think the intra-Asia market values that so much.

34:58 Radu You’re right actually.  The more time  will go, the more it’s going to become important.
35:07 Tim Yes.
35:07 Radu Back to the point, because it fits in the next question.  “In terms of technology, what do you think the technologies that would really have the most impact for shipping in the next years.”
0:21 Tim I mean, if we look at the travel industry and the bank industry where everyone is doing everything by themselves now.  You know, if a shipping line who come up with something where you have an e-Commerce platform, where the containers automatically assigned to a booking that comes in immediately, so the customers can actually, you know –
35:49 Radu See where it is, exactly.  Yeah.
0:21 Tim Well, see what it is, it has been able to do for a very long time, but you know, when you make the booking, there are still people in the backend that has to allocate a container and so on to that booking.  If that could be totally automated.  I mean, just like when you book with an airline and then you have a seat, and you even have 23-seat immediately, and then you actually don’t need any more interaction with that airline.

 

If we could get to that in shipping, I think that could be a major winner, if somebody could do that.  I think this thing Maersk has just announced also for refrigerated container.  This remote container management –

 
36:39 Tim Where you can actually see the temperature of your – You can see a snapshot of the temperature of your container with your goods inside, no matter where this is in the world.  I mean, it’s actually will going to be easy.
 
36:51 Tim Absolutely amazing.  I mean, if I were shipping fruits or bananas from the Philippines to China, I mean –
 
36:52 Tim Yeah, but I mean, that’s happening already, but now you can follow the process.
 
37:07 Tim It’s one of those people worries that fruit or refrigerated taken out of the equation and actually, I think there’s even a premier version offered where if you pay a little, you can actually even download the data yourself.  You don’t just get the snapshot, but you actually can download and keep the data.  I mean – And that’s an amazing development and I know it has taken Maersk several years to do and, of course, a lot of cost.  If you need to have that ship into all the containers, but it’s just one of those things that really improves the shipping of refrigerated containers, so I mean, the actual innovations coming and those people who can come up with innovations, again a lot of it in the digitized space, I have to say.
37:53 Radu So increasing the digitalization, visibility –
37:57 Tim Yes.
37:58 Radu Traceability, transparency of course, and plus, I mean, as you said it has probably cost a lot of now today to have those units, but in one year, two years.  I mean the cost per unit goes down a year and there was a conference last week TechX in Singapore.  They talked a lot about technologies in logistics and shipping.  3D Printing  for example, I mean, the cost for –
 
38:20 Radu One of those things were I don’t know, thousands of dollars.  Now, it’s $500, so…
 
38:27 Radu That we will continue see the cost going down, but indeed, where was going to be the first among the first to implement it?  They would be winners.
38:30 Tim I’m glad nobody asked me about the effect of 3D printing to shipping, because I think that is still an enormous question mark.
 
38:38 Tim That even I have myself, you know, and people are very split on this, so –
 
 
38:45 Radu Yeah, very interesting.  Now, if you would be an investor, if you had the, you know, one of this private equity companies, which shipping-related startup would you invest in?  Is there any name that would come to you?
38:55 Tim I would not want to give any names.  That’s for sure, but there’s a lot of interesting going on in the digitization space.
 
39:07 Tim And I think one of the places where I think carriers maybe going a little wrong is that they try to develop their own fantastic e-Commerce solution and I don’t think that’s what the market wants, and I also don’t think it’s a solution of the future.  I think the solution is more portals, which can actually cover all the carriers.  You know, like in agodahotels.com or whatever, right?  Where even there you can find Expedia and Trivago, and so on, so I mean, the winner will rather be those portal, so customer exit and they has to go one place, and if you have the whole thing covered, nothing –
39:50 Radu Aggregators.
39:52 Tim Actually, not just shipping lines.  I’m also talking here, you know, custom brokers, maybe even forwarders, basically the whole chain, you can do it.
40:06 Radu Ecosystem, yeah.
40:07 Tim Yeah and then you can choose, you know, who you want to use, and I think all the money carriers are spending developing their own portals.  I mean, hey this is just my opinion and I’m not an expert, but this is just my view.  Those portals will be nothing else that connected through the real portals that all people, all customers actually would want to use.  I don’t think customers would want to go to the carriers’ websites, really.  Customers want to have an alternative.  They want to have five or six choices and that they can get in an aggregator portal.
 
40:49 Tim In terms of hardware, I mean, when you look at it, I mean who makes the money these days in the supply chain?  I mean let’s just face it, it’s the terminals, so I still think if I had a bunch of money, I still think –
41:05 Radu Put it on the terminal?
41:06 Tim I mean the returns I believe –
 
41:11 Tim Quite a bit better and it’s more stable, but hey, terminals also have risks.
 
41:16 Tim Major risks.
 
41:18 Tim And who knows –
41:18 Radu And now you have all these natural disasters happening, as well.
   

End of Part 1

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