What does the "uberization" of personal transport and other services portend for the container shipping industry and terminals?
To change the market for a service by introducing a different way of buying or using it, especially using mobile technology: "Even restaurant reservations could be uberized."
- Cambridge English Dictionary
Over the last few years, the mobile service Uber has caused significant disruption in the taxi business by enabling private individuals to serve as independent taxi drivers and to arrange rides through the mobile app provided by the service. “Uberization” has become a buzzword that is routinely applied to almost any industry, with varying predictions of how quickly it will transform some business models or threaten incumbent players. So, what should we, in the container shipping industry, make of all this?
Dynamic pricing, seamless connection and new players
Let's start by considering some of the elements that have made Uber so disruptive in its own field. First, there is surge pricing, which simply means that prices are high when demand is high (and capacity is scarce) and low when demand is low. This pattern in itself is as ancient as commerce itself; what is dramatically new is that the pricing happens dynamically, in real time.
Secondly, we see a technology that seamlessly connects the providers and users of the service in a fashion that is instantaneous, almost completely automated and very easy to use. Thirdly, and perhaps most notably, the service enables completely new players to enter into – and benefit from – a market they had previously not even known existed.
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