Technology and the Shipping Industry

Just as any other industry, technology has made a huge impact on international shipping and logistics. Even just looking at the past 15-20 years, the technology that has come about has allowed the import export business to grow exponentially. In the past, there were no emails, no EDI, no interactive websites and no automated pre-advices. Everything was manual and labor intensive. 20 years ago, the larger international shipping companies like Maersk and then Sealand, were using telexes as opposed to email and faxes as opposed to websites. They relied on phone calls for freight shipping quotes and had massive call centers to manage the incoming calls.

Although they had their own in-house computer software developing, increased use of the internet is what catapulted the shipping industry into the information age. Not only are shipping companies now able to offer their freight shipping rates online, but freight forwarders and NVOCC’s can even book the cargo and track the cargo online as well. No more phone calls to find out rates or to see if a ship came into port. Everything can now be found in a moment’s notice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Instead of faxes loading up the machine, we get our pre-advices in emails and uploaded to websites.

All of these improvements create less paper and faster access to information, but it also means less people interacting. This means that much more rides on websites and technology than ever before.  People do everything from booking to tracking to paying online and so much has become automated it can be hard to keep up. Technology is moving so fast at this point that it can be hard to see where the shipping industry is headed next. Technology has helped people receive instant shipping quotes online.