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Sat 23 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Ask the expert: Adolf Adrion

What is the Container Shipping Information Service?

Question:What is the Container Shipping Information Service?

Expert:Adolf Adrion
Member of the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG, founder member line of the CSIS.

The Container Shipping Information Service (CSIS) is a newly formed organisation acting as a communications channel for the global container shipping industry. It has been formed by the 24 leading container shipping companies. The service aims to tell the story of the impact our industry has on areas that matter to the wider world.

Container shipping makes such a vital contribution to the enjoyment of people's daily lives. Whether it be their laptop, or coffee maker, sports shoes or strawberries we want to demonstrate that it's container shipping that makes this both possible and affordable. Ultimately we are looking to make container shipping relevant to people.

Anyone can access the information collated by CSIS by visiting the public website which can be found at www.shipsandboxes.com. The site is designed to appeal to a broad audience, featuring useful information such as a 'Did You Know' section and a 'Jargon Buster'. The website will continue to be regularly updated with information such as news and downloads to ensure that it remains a useful resource for the public.

An ongoing media relations campaign is also underway to raise awareness through media where shipping doesn't normally feature. We want to follow the lead taken by industries such as the energy and airline industry. Moving forwards we aim to be on the front foot, open and providing information rather than reactive, closed and reluctant to talk.

Inspiration

The initiative was inspired by the chance to tell the story of the global container shipping industry to the wider world. Normally people do not give the world of container shipping a second thought. Yet, without it, modern life would not exist in the way we know it. In this context, the aim is to encourage an understanding and appreciation in the wider world about our industry, and to show the benefits that it brings to our everyday lives.

There is also an increasing demand for the industry to provide information to the wider world on topical issues, such as the environment and security. There is no one else doing this job for the industry, and that's where the Container Shipping Information Service becomes valuable.

Regionally, the United Arab Shipping Co, the largest ocean carrier of dry cargo to the Middle East, is a founder member and among the other global industry leaders that have banded together to support the CSIS.

Positive impact

CSIS can have an extremely positive impact on people outside the industry by increasing their awareness of the fact that container shipping is relevant to them. We will show them that it makes a vital contribution to the enjoyment of their daily lives. The choice of goods that consumers have and their availability is largely down to the container shipping industry.

The mass volumes that are transported also benefit the consumer through the end cost as transportation is much cheaper in large volumes, For example, it costs only US$10 to ship a TV set that sells for $700 and only 15 cents (USD) to ship 1kg of coffee which retails at $15.

CSIS will increase the awareness of the industry's impact on the consumer and the wider world as well as informing and educating about the impact that the industry has on bigger issues - like the environment and security.

Facts & figures

CSIS is focused on communicating with the wider world in language and a style that is understandable for an audience that is generally unaware of the industry and the value it brings.

The maritime business will be able to take advantage of the information available on the website (www.shipsandboxes.com) such as downloads and information on key issues that impact the industry. CSIS will also be engaged with all of the major trade bodies to complement their existing extensive and more specific activites.

Identity issues

The industry currently lacks an identity in the public domain, and a unified voice to comment on specific issues that face the container industry as a whole. As a result CSIS has been in creation for the past year to facilitate this.

By moving forwards on the front foot and communicating proactively to media where shipping does not usually feature we hope to change and improve this understanding.

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