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Maersk Spot Gives Cargo Customers Online Price Assuredness

Maersk has expanded its product offerings with Maersk Spot, a digitally enabled online product that provides customers with a cargo loading guarantee at a fixed price upfront.

Maersk noted that shipping containers has been a complex process for many years, with a buying and booking process that was often confusing and inconsistent. With the launch of Maersk Spot, Maersk aims to introduce a fully online product that can break the cycle of overbookings and offer a simpler way to ship a container with load guarantee.

“It is not uncommon to see overbookings to the tune of 30 percent and often this leads to rolling of the customers’ cargoes, since there is overbooking to compensate for the high downfall. This creates a lot of uncertainty for our customers,” Silvia Ding, global head of ocean products at Maersk. “With Maersk Spot, we provide full visibility of the price and terms that will ensure cargoes get on board, ultimately allowing customers to move their cargo in a much simpler and more reliable way.”

With Maersk Spot, the ocean carrier’s customers can search and get competitive rates online 24/7. The all-in-one price is calculated and fixed when the booking is instantly confirmed. This online pricing fixed at booking creates one transaction for the customer from quotation to booking confirmation, simplifying the buying process.

“Maersk Spot radically simplifies the buying experience for our customers,” Ding said. “Today’s offline process can be up to 13 individual steps, often involving a lot of communication and paper work from rate sheets to terms and conditions and surcharges…With Maersk Spot, this cumbersome process is reduced to five simple and integrated steps–all online.”

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When a booking is confirmed by the customer, Maersk commits to load and confirms certainty in operational execution. This is a mutual commitment between the customer and Maersk that ensures that the troublesome cycle of overbookings is addressed.

Maersk noted that in case of booking cancellations, fees apply at the customer’s charge. If cargo is rolled, Maersk compensates the customer. The mutual commitment paired with increased visibility of sailings and certainty of prices has been embraced in a pilot by more than 3,000 customers each week, with already more than 50,000 Forty-Foot-Equivalent (FFE) units booked in the second quarter.

Maersk Spot is now available on all trade routes, except in and out of the U.S. Currently available as a beta site, the product will be fully implemented on at the beginning of August.

CMA CGM recently developed a set of digital services including ePricing, which gives customers real time access to their rates and instant spot quotation, and eBooking, offering booking in a simplified, more intuitive and autocomplete format.