From Reuters, Jan. 4:
Maersk, Alibaba team up to offer online booking of ship places
Maersk, the world's largest container shipping line, has teamed up with Alibaba (BABA.N) to allow customers to reserve space on its vessels through the Chinese company, illustrating growing cooperation between e-commerce and logistics firms.
Maersk, a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), began offering the service to Chinese shippers on Alibaba's OneTouch booking website on Dec. 22, a spokeswoman for the shipping line said on Wednesday.
Shippers traditionally go through freight forwarders to book space for goods on container vessels, but lines such as Maersk are allowing cargo owners to book directly via the internet.
For their part, e-commerce companies are increasingly venturing into logistics activities to try to gain better control over their supply chain networks.
Amazon.com (AMZN.O) has registered a Chinese business as a freight forwarder and has leased aircraft to handle more of its own deliveries in the United States.
Alibaba, owner of China's largest e-commerce platforms, has been making inroads into logistic services in recent years by taking stakes in couriers and buying warehouses. The company was not immediately available to comment on the Maersk relationship....MORE