A.P. Moller - Maersk first container shipping company to launch instant booking confirmation
Maersk Line has become the first container shipping line to offer customers instant bookings, complete with confirmations, in a move it claims makes booking a container “as easy as booking a flight”.
The instant booking confirmation capability is available initially only for dry cargo shipments, with refrigerated cargo, dangerous cargo and inland container yards expected to be added during 2019. It will be available in beta via the online booking platforms of Maersk Line, SeaLand, and Safmarine, as well as via a smartphone app.
Maersk said the customer experience would “improve significantly”, noting that “with the introduction of instant booking confirmation, Maersk customers can now complete their bookings within seconds compared to previous waiting times of up to two hours. Eliminating this delay, as the first in the industry, is a top priority for Maersk as the delay triggers uncertainty and extra workloads in managing supply chains for the customers,” the world’s largest container shipping line said.
Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer for parent group AP Moller-Maersk, said: “We are now making it as easy for our customers to book a container as booking a flight ticket. Instant booking confirmation makes it faster, easier and simpler for our customers to interact with Maersk.
“It is a milestone for the entire industry and a concrete example of how we are bringing our strategy to life when we improve the customer experience through seamless digital offerings,” says.
With the new solution, customers get visibility of sailing options with available vessel space, a list of depots with empty containers to choose from, and a choice of relevant value adding services. “More importantly, they get certainty that a booking will not be cancelled at a later stage,” the line explained.
“Due to, for example, a lack of vessel space or equipment availability, around 10% of bookings placed in Maersk's systems were previously either rejected or confirmed for an alternative sailing, often spurring customers to follow up with questions and requests for changes. Such follow-up inquiries have accounted for 15% of all Maersk customer service calls and chats - and close to 200,000 emails every month.”
With the release of instant booking confirmation, Maersk is also introducing online booking via the Maersk App. “Enabling instant bookings directly from the mobile phone is another functionality that has long been high on Maersk customers' wish-lists, especially in emerging markets,” the line said.
Sonny Dahl, global head of customer experience and service at AP Moller-Maersk, commented: “Maersk operates in several markets where mobile phones make up the primary working tool for the workforce. Here, instant booking confirmation straight from the mobile phone will be a huge improvement for our customers’ supply chain managers - it will further enable trade in these markets.”
01 November 2018