A book about Maersk Line’s first 40 years in containers is in the making, and there’s plenty we can learn from history.
Maersk historian Henning Morgen and Chris Jephson, a long standing employee of Maersk, are right now working on a book to celebrate Maersk Line’s first 40 years in containers. The book is set to be published mid-2013.
Change has been the constant “Change has been the constant since 1973 where Maersk Line went into containerised shipping,” explains Jephson. “At that point in time, we ordered nine container-ships and developed the design of the Far East-North America-Far East service.”
He continues: “It is in the nature of the Maersk way of operating to continuously challenge the status quo. But we also need to ensure that we do not try to re-invent the wheel, but instead try to learn from the lessons of the past.”
Chris Jephson (left) talks with Henning Morgen; both are working on a book about Maersk Line
First lesson: We need to collaborate So what has history taught us? Well, one thing is about the power of collaboration. When the original decision about investing in containers was made in 1973, the Crash Committee was asked to ensure that its recommendation was unanimous. That took time to achieve as there were a wide range of stakeholders, but once achieved, it meant a very high level of understanding and commitment to the development.
“If you look into it, what really sets the good and the bad or mediocre decisions apart is the level and quality of the collaboration and commitment around them. Someone, of course, has to make the decisions and take the responsibility, but the good – both informed and bold – decisions seem to always be collaborative in nature,” Jephson concludes.
This is a lesson that Maersk Line has taken on-board. Products like Daily Maersk, with its absolute reliability promise backed up with monetary compensation, have been developed by collaborating with customers and asking them what it is they most want. This collaboration continues to be taken forward with Maersk Line working with customers (and other stakeholders) to continually improve in the areas of ease of business, reliability and environmental performance.