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2024/2025  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
  • Michele Acciaro - 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 05-02-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course the students should be able to:
  • • understand digitalization theoretically as an economic phenomenon with focus on maritime strategies.
  • • understand the fundamental theopies of ecosystems, innovation and platforms in relation to the maritime businesses.
  • • analyse how digitalization affects the competitive advantage of international shipping companies including similarities and differences between segments.
  • • 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 2-4
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
In the first part of the course each student should participate in a group assignment including the presentation of the relevant analysis. The students will then - on an individual level - participate in 3-5 exercises which are based upon the fundamental concepts and theories of the course.
Assignment type Synopsis
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 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 Oral Exam
Duration: 15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time: No preparation
Examiner(s): If it is an internal examination, there will be a second internal examiner at the re-exam. If it is an external examination, there will be an external examiner.
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 will consists of a combination of lectures, assignments, cases and guest lectures from relevant companies and institutions.


The course is divided in four 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 an engine of integration caused by the dramatic shift in costs.
  2. The following part of the course concerns maritime digitalization as a great integration force in four dimensions: a)  the technological integration between sea & shore: b) the institutional integration between public and private companies and public institutions; c) the commercial integration between company and customer; d) the oprgamnizational integration between past experiences and present decisions often through big data and algorithms. 
  3. The third part of the course concerns the fundamental theories about ecosystems, entrepreneurship and platforms.
  4. Finally the students analyse specific cases of maritime digitalization with focus on the relevant dimensions using the mentioned theories and concepts



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 38 hours
Class preparation 88 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 05-02-2024