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2023/2024  BA-BISHV1002U  Strategy and Digitalization in International Shipping

English Title
Strategy and Digitalization in International Shipping

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn, First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 75
Study board
Study Board for BSc in International Shipping and Trade
Course coordinator
  • Martin Jes Iversen - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Strategy
  • Supply chain management and logistics
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 25-01-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • • Understand what the great integration fueled by digitalization means to the development and execution of business models in international shipping.
  • • Understand four supplementary dimensions of integration fueled by digitalization (e.g. between sea & shore, companies & authorities, companies & customers and past experiences & present decisions) on the shipping industry
  • • Analyse how the digitalization affects the strategies of shipping firms within three selected segments: Container shipping, product tanker, dry bulk
  • • Being able to analyse and assess in a critical way the academic quality of reports, articles and assignments concerning the digitalization of shipping
Strategy and Digitalization in International Shipping:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The synopsis is written in parallel with the elective. The synopsis must be submitted two weeks before the date of the exam.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Digitalization posses the potential to change the maritime market, and should thus be regarded as a paradigmatic transition rather than technological innovation.

This course is about digitalization in shipping with focus on the strategic level, that is the strategic responses to the digitalization of shipping. The course is divided in six parts:

  1. In the first part the students will get an introduction to the digitalization of shipping with focus on digitalization as an economic phenomenon. That is to understand how digitalization caused a shift in costs in the processing of information. In this first part we analyze digitalization as a engine of integration caused by the dramatic shift in costs. The
  2. The following four parts of the course concerns maritime digitalization as a great integration force in four dimensions. The first dimension concerns the technological integration between sea & shore. In this first part we analyze how shipping strategies has changed due to new opportunities for integration the vessels with the HQs – this include route planning, IoT on smart vessels. We will illustrate the points with real life cases and guest lectures with focus on operational optimizations and fleet operations.  
  3. The third part of the course concerns institutional integration. This dimension of the course is focused on the integration between private companies and public institutions at various levels including global (IMO), regional (EU), national and local (ports). The students will get an introduction to the legal landscape of international shipping and cases from the various levels of institutional integration.     
  4. The fourth part concerns maritime digitalization and the integration between companies and customers. The focus will be specifically on platform economics and the loop of information with customers.   
  5. In the fifth part of the course we focus on the integration between past experiences and present decisions often through big data and algorithms. We will focus on risk management and commercial chartering.   
  6. In the conclusion the students will analyze digitalization in three shipping segment: Container, product tank and dry bulk within the four dimensions based on the relevant theories.



Description of the teaching methods
A combination of lectures, group work, cases and guest lectures

Lectures on campus will be streamed live and recorded. The rest will be be prerecorded.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course will include a group mid-term assignment with focus on the digitalization of one of the three shipping segments: Container shipping, product tanker and dry bulk (to be choosen by the student in the beginning of the course).
Student workload
Teaching 42 hours
Class preparation 84 hours
Exam (incl. preparation) 37 hours
Case writing 50 hours
Expected literature

Expected literature


Andal-Ancion, A., Cartwright, P., and Yip, G. S. (2003). The Digital Transformation of Traditional Businesses. MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 34-41.


BCG (2019), Digital Transformation in the Shipping Industry (available from https:/​/​www.bcg.com/​industries/​transportation-travel-tourism/​center-digital-transportation/​shipping.aspx)

Berman, S. J. (2016). Digital transformation: opportunities to create new business models. Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 16-24.Bray, J. (2018).


Egloff, C., Sanders, U., Riedl, J., Mohottala, S., and Georgaki, K. (2018). The Digital Imperative in Container Shipping (available from www.bcg.com/​publications/​2018/​digital-imperative-container-shipping.aspx).


Freeman, C. & Louca, F. (2002). As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Fitzgerald, M., Kruschwitz, N., Bonnet, D., and Welch, M. (2013). Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative. MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 2, pp. 1–12.


Futurenautics Maritime in association with Ericsson (2017). Waypoint Digital 2017. Digital Infrastructure, Investment, Initiatives and Transformation in the Shipping and Maritime Industry. London: Futurenautics Ltd.


Iversen, M.J. and Bull, J. (2020). Danish Shipping in the 21st Century, Navigating Troubled Waters, London: Palgrave MacMillan.


PWC (2017). The Digital Transformation of Shipping. Opportunities and Challenges for Norwegian and Greek Shipping Companies (available from www.pwc.no/​no/​publikasjoner/​shipping/​The-Digital-Transformation-of-Shipping_HE-NO.pdf).


Quitsau, J., Tontara, N., Vöpel, H., Jahn, M., Otto, A., and Wolf, A. (2018). Shipping in an Era of Digital Transformation. Hamburg. Berenberg and HWWI.


Saxon, S., and Stone, M. (2017a). Container shipping: the next 50 years. London: McKinsey & Company – Travel, Transport & Logistics (available from www.mckinsey.com/​~/​media/​mckinsey/​industries/​travel%20transport%20and%20logistics/​our%20insights/​how%20container%20shipping%20could%20reinvent%20itself%20for%20the%20digital%20age/​container-shipping-the-next-50-years-final.ashx).


Saxon, S., and Stone, M. (2017b). How container shipping could reinvent itself for the digital age. London: McKinsey & Company – Travel, Transport & Logistics (available from www.mckinsey.com/​industries/​travel-transport-and-logistics/​our-insights/​how-container-shipping-could-reinvent-itself-for-the-digital-age).


Taran, Y., Boer, H., and Lindgren, P. (2015). A business model innovation typology. Decision Sciences, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 301-331.

Teece, D. J. (2010). Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long Range Planning, Vol. 43, No. 2/3, pp. 172–194.

Tellis, G. J., and Golder, P. N. (1996). First to Market, First to Fail? Real Causes of Enduring Market Leadership. MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 65-75.



Verdin, P. and Tackx, K. (2015). Are You Creating or Capturing Value? A dynamic framework for sustainable strategy, Harvard Kennedy School, M-RCBG Associate Working Papers Series, No. 36.


Vonck, I. (2017). The impact of maritime digital transformations. Three options to respond to the challenges of digital disruption. Deloitte, August 8 (available from www2.deloitte.com/​nl/​nl/​pages/​energy-and-resources/​articles/​the-impact-of-maritime-digital-transformations.html).





Last updated on 25-01-2023