BoxTech, the database of technical details for containers, has introduced a number of new functions which will help shippers save time, and enable equipment owners to register container sales and flag units with exception alerts. Two of top three global carriers are already using the new features.
The fast-growing database, which is provided by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) and already includes the technical characteristics of more than 30 per cent of the global container fleet, is continually evolving to meet the needs of the shipping industry.
One new function allows owners to indicate in the BoxTech database when containers have been sold. This will alert anybody, or any system, searching for a container which has been sold that it is no longer part of that company’s fleet. This will help prevent improperly-marked containers from circulating with the markings of their previous owner, improving safety, reducing risk and helping to encourage the proper neutralization of sold containers.
This functionality is already being used by leading ocean carriers CMA-CGM and Maersk Line, both of which have uploaded their entire global container fleets to the database and are now flagging units whenever they are sold.
“CMA-CGM was an early adopter of BoxTech and Maersk one of our more recent, but both clearly understand the value of a central, non-profit information source and both have provided leadership to the industry,” explains Douglas Owen, Secretary General of the BIC. “Both have provided input that has been instrumental in developing new ideas and updates for BoxTech, in particular the new container sales function.”
“Maersk is on a journey to integrate and simplify global supply chains, so we are in full support of the neutral BoxTech database as a tool to help improve transparency and efficiency in the industry,” says Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Head of Equipment at Maersk. “The new container sale function offers additional clarity, showing a clear dividing line between our current fleet and containers that have been sold. We appreciate that the team at BIC continues to innovate to bring new tools to benefit the industry”.
Another new feature, the new BoxTech Recovery Alerts system enables container owners to create alert lists to flag specific units in case of bankruptcies and other recovery situations, such as lost or stolen units. It can also inform users whenever a special status exists for a given unit.
“CMA-CGM was one of the earliest supporters of BoxTech, so we are happy to see how it has grown over the past year,” says Philippe Berard, Equipment & Depot Senior Manager, from CMA-CGM. “We are especially pleased with the new container sale flags function, as this allows us to clearly indicate when containers have been sold and are no longer our responsibility. We also appreciate the exception alert flags, which will help provide much-needed visibility and information to trading partners in case of special situations”.
This new feature is also of particular use to container leasing companies needing to recover units, as well as the shippers, terminals, ports, and rail and motor carriers within the 1100 strong BoxTech user base.
To help container owners keep BoxTech updated seamlessly, new APIs are available to automate the process. This removes the requirement for a manual task, and allows companies to save time, reduce human error and keep the database up to date more easily. The more container information available in the database, the more helpful the system is to users.
APIs can also be put in place for conducting an increased number of database query types, enabling shippers, and other parties, to automatically conduct searches tare weight, size and type, maximum gross mass, or other container characteristics – returning the information directly into their systems where they need it. This provides BoxTech users with easier access to a greater amount of information.
“The new functionality has been introduced in response to industry feedback, giving users more seamless, secure and digitally integrated processes supported by BoxTech,” says Douglas Owen. “Many of the largest carriers and leasing companies are already signed up to BoxTech, and we hope to continue to see more organizations following suit – for their own efficiency and safety gains, but also for the benefit of the industry as a whole,” he concludes.
To sign up to the BoxTech Technical Characteristics Database, or for more information, visit www.bic-boxtech.org.
For more information about the BIC, visit www.bic-code.org.