MSC, AP Moller – Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, and Ocean Network Express have officially set up a new container line association.

Named Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), the neutral and non-profit association is headquartered in the Netherlands.

DCSA will work to develop common information technology standards, aimed at making the industry more competent for both customers and shipping lines.

Establishment of the association follows the receipt of regulatory approvals from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last month.

However, the idea to create a neutral, non-profit association for ocean carriers was first proposed in November.

Thomas Bagge from AP Moller – Maersk has been named as the CEO and statutory director of the association.

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DCSA supervisory board chairman André Simha said: “For the first time in 20 years, the container shipping industry has come together with a common goal to move the industry into the digital era.

“With the regulatory approval in place, we look forward for the association to take up work and to begin to collaborate with multiple stakeholders from the entire value chain.”

The organisation’s focus will be on driving standardisation, digitalisation and interoperability in the container shipping industry.

“DCSA is working for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry.”

It will not be involved in discussions related to commercial or operational matters, and the development or operation of any digital platform.

The association will also work on ‘standards to overcome the lack of a common foundation for technical interfaces and data’.

It will develop an industry blueprint for processes that will form another significant part of the future of shipping.

Simha added: “DCSA is working for the benefit of the entire container shipping industry, so it was important for us that the headquarters is located on neutral grounds, with no specific stakeholders or companies being favoured.”

DCSA is in talks with various other container shipping lines to join the association. Two companies are expected to join soon.