MSC: New alliance is a major step forward for shipping’s digitalization

As a founding member of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), Swiss container shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has welcomed the creation of the Future International Trade (FIT) Alliance, bringing together five leading industry associations in a commitment to standardise digital trade.

Jointly cofounded on 15 February 2022, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding, the alliance brings together the nine members of the DCSA, BIMCO, FIATA, ICC and SWIFT.

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“It represents a significant milestone in the DCSA’s ongoing journey to further digitalisation of container shipping technology standards,” according to MSC.

All hands on deck

These key industry players had been in action behind the scenes since early 2021 via a working group aimed at bringing a joint vision into line.

Now formally established, the FIT Alliance intends to facilitate the acceptance and adoption of electronic bills of lading (eBL) throughout the industry, including by banks, regulators, and insurers.

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The alliance will also cooperate on developing relevant standards. Working collectively, the partners plan to generate awareness about the importance of shared and interoperable data processes and legislative conditions across the broader shipping community. Ultimately, they hope to accelerate digitalisation, making end-to-end shipping more efficient, more straightforward, and secure for all.

The leading lights

MSC has long been an advocate of digitalisation in the shipping industry.

“Only a collective, industry-wide approach will ensure this happens most effectively,” according to André Simha, MSC’s Global Chief Digital & Innovation Officer and DCSA Chairman.

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“MSC believes that for digitalisation to work at its best, everyone needs to be on board, working hand-in-hand establishing a common language, defined by the whole industry,” Simha pointed out.

“It doesn’t just begin and end with containers; we need to look at the entire journey and create best practices that work for our customers all along the supply chain. By bringing together so many important trade associations, the FIT Alliance represents a major step forward, and it I’m excited to see the benefits that this collaboration will bring about.”

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