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Competing with Amazon

Big data helps Maersk Line adapt to changing times

Maersk Line, the largest shipping company in the world, transports goods at an estimated yearly value of $675 billion. Jon Voelmann, engagement director at Maersk Analytics hosted a panel titled Culture Eats Data for Breakfast: Inside the Maersk Analytics journey at Teradata PARTNERS 2016. He spoke about how Maersk is approaching data analytics to overcome an industry demand growth that is still at its lowest since the financial crisis, all the while keeping the company’s stringent values in mind.

The current problem Maersk faces is that the GDP-to-demand growth multiplier is decreasing.

“The product we have in our industry is unchanged for years and we have the problems of overcapacity,” Voelmann said. “When you have overcapacity prices go down.”

They are now also competing with the largest marketplace, and cloud operator in the world: Amazon.

“Amazon is the competition, not just one of our own direct competitors. Amazon moves boxes, and have a huge amount of data and complexity,” Voelmann said. “We are now going to compete with Amazon, and that is just a different game.”

Computer generated images are able to give Maersk the visibility it needs to determine which of its ships are being underutilised, or even wasteful. The better re-positioning of empty containers will save millions of dollars, according to Voelmann.

The panel host said that decision making was reaching a new stage: it’s gone from gut feelings to a combination of computer and brain power to now being about the man and the machine.


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