“The shipping industry has a profound transformation journey ahead,” says Ioanna Prassou, network and market manager for Maersk Line, Copenhagen. Her motto is ”think out of the box, ask why, and challenge the status quo.”
Necessary technology disruptions, like AI or blockchain, require adaptation. In the shipping industry this is happening rather slowly when compared to other industries, but innovation is underway.
Globalisation and digitalisation shape new customer relationships, that are characterised by high demanding consumers, whose satisfaction does not only depend on customer support anymore. Climate change and environmental awareness ask for more carbon-neutral initiatives. In addition, uncertainty due to socioeconomic and geopolitical factors and shifting of strategies in response to market dynamics is high, which affects global supply chains.
Shipping companies are forced to take actions to navigate their way through these challenging times and explore the new opportunities for establishing a competitive advantage. According to Ioanna, Mærsk has already started to react by exploring blockchain technology and AI solutions to elevate the customer experience to a new standard. She also points out some significant examples for companies reacting on environmental challenges.
“Among others Oslo-headquartered Yara International, a global crop nutrition company, which has already launched a fully electric and autonomous containership named Yara Birkeland to support green shipping. That vessel is expected to reduce 1,000 tons of carbon emissions and to replace 40,000 trips taken by diesel-driven trucks. AP Moller-Maersk group meanwhile is accelerating fleet decarbonisation with the construction of twelve 15,000 TEU and one 2,000 TEU ocean-going vessels to operate on carbon-neutral methanol. Those are just some of the first steps towards a greener future and more carriers are already following a similar approach.”
Ioanna entered the shipping industry seven years ago but has already made outstanding career progress. Through her experience in revenue management and as trade capacity manager, she encountered contingency scenarios that obliged her to take decisions based on risk management analysis to balance service quality, cost efficiency, and revenue optimisation. Such episodes, she explains, call for a holistic approach.
“I was required to take multiple decisions where the risk was significantly high and there was no unequivocal solution to hand. At one of these moments, my manager told me: ”Ioanna, there is no black and white solution, you need to be able to operate in the grey area” and that was a moment of epiphany for me."