The two member organisations will work together to accelerate the digital transformation of container shipping for the benefit of shippers

Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) will now collaborate to accelerate the adoption of the DCSA standards.

DCSA is a non-profit group established to further standardise the digitalisation of container shipping and the ESC represents the interests of around 100,000 manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of maritime transport solutions throughout Europe. 

The two associations will leverage DCSA’s open-source, vendor-neutral standards to help their members and other business partners make data exchange more timely, accurate, and interoperable. 

During recent supply chain disruptions, it has become increasingly apparent how important it is to improve cargo visibility and data communication between ocean carriers and cargo owners.

DCSA digital standards

DCSA creates digital standards, which can be used by companies throughout the container shipping supply chain to achieve interoperable solutions.

These standards provide a foundation for end-to-end data exchange that will increase cargo visibility across the container journey and make shipping services easier to use, increasing flexibility, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability

Another key topic for collaboration is standardizing documents such as bills of lading to further enable paperless trade.

To ensure DCSA standards meet shipper needs and facilitate their adoption, ESC and DCSA will conduct structured engagement activities spanning all members.

Thomas Bagge, chief executive officer of DCSA, said: “Global supply chains have been continuously optimised over decades; present-day technologies allow for the further improvement in customer experience. 

“Unstandardised, paper-based processes for exchanging information to conduct business and keep goods moving should not be needed in the 21st century. 

“The lack of digitalisation limits progress towards greater transparency and end-to-end, real-time cargo visibility. 

“We can only bring about digital transformation together. 

“That is why we are committed to closer collaboration with the ESC and its like-minded members and are confident our joint efforts will accelerate standards adoption among cargo owners and other industry stakeholders.” 

Godfried Smit, secretary general of ESC added: “Our members need seamless data exchange across the supply chain to optimally orchestrate the movement of their goods. 

“In the digital realm, this can only be achieved when communication is standards-based. 

“Collaboration with DCSA is one of the three pillars of our strategy going forward because its work on standards aligns with our own goals for transparent, stable, and resilient supply chains.”


DCSA and the ESC will collaborate in three main ways. 

First, both organisations will invest time and resources to help members adopt and implement DCSA standards and address their most pressing needs. This includes ESC members participating in proof-of-concept trials and pilots, as well as ongoing training on industry best practices. 

Second, DCSA and the ESC will share knowledge and contribute regularly to each other’s member forums. 

Third, DCSA will gather input from ESC members to optimise existing standards and ensure future standards are developed in line with the shipper’s needs.