Shipping Industry

Many tried-and-true approaches in the shipping industry are no longer viable in the face of volatile trade flow dynamics, heightened emissions regulations, and increasingly sophisticated customers. Our international shipping consulting team helps shipping lines and port operators take on new and longtime challenges to emerge leaner, cleaner, and more profitable.

The perfect storm that has been buffeting the shipping industry—overcapacity, consolidation, stagnating revenues, and declining profitability—is intensifying. Today’s new reality has ratcheted up the existing threats. Uncertainty is further hampering demand and escalating trade volatility, and digital technology and innovative business models threaten to disrupt the entire shipping industry and incumbents in particular. Meanwhile, climate change will accelerate these competitive forces and heighten cost pressures.

To ensure their long-term survival, shipping companies must undertake a transformation that digitizes business and fleet operations and prioritizes climate action. Working in partnership with our shipping consultants, they can devise new offerings and new ways of working within and along the transportation and logistics value chain to gain efficiencies, reduce emissions, save costs, and serve new markets and customers.

How We Support the Shipping Industry

Our experienced shipping consultants help firms integrate digital tools and capabilities and introduce advanced cargo-management systems to allow liners to move into higher-margin parts of the supply chain. Our digital expertise further helps our shipping industry clients find smooth end-to-end logistics solutions and new ways to collaborate across the shipping logistics ecosystem. We help our clients move beyond their core businesses and harness digital to add new capabilities, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs.

  • Revenue Management. Robust analytics unlock dynamic pricing and contract portfolio optimization with significant revenue-enhancement opportunities.
  • Advanced Analytics and Control-Tower Fleet Monitoring. On-board sensors and millions of data points help reduce costs through continuous performance optimization for routing and vessels, predictive maintenance, and empty-container repositioning.
  • Blockchain Technology. With blockchain, the industry can streamline and secure the documentation process.
  • Digital Lead Management. Connected market intelligence and lead management allows shipping liners to leverage the broad network of agencies and significantly increase customer bases.
  • Multimodal Collaboration Platform. Exchanging information among liners, terminals, and intermodal companies can improve the efficiency of port calls and the connection with intermodal transportation.

Our Client Work in the Shipping Industry


Our Shipping Industry Tools and Solutions


Shipping Benchmark Initiative

This initiative provides an easy way for shipping companies to compare their costs and performance with competitors across the industry. It uses data from more than 3,000 of the world’s commercial vessels to help companies improve their competitiveness, learn best practices, keep up with the latest industry trends, and educate stakeholders about the value they provide.

" "

Container Demand and Supply Forecaster

Our forecaster enables the shipping industry to analyze global trends for 9 major trade lanes, 64 shipping routes, 11 regions, and 13 commodities. Use the tool’s comprehensive data and rigorous analysis to model future scenarios and explore the potential impact on the global container market.


Container xChange

This digital marketplace, originally built by BCG and now operating as an independent company, matches empty containers with demand for the space. The tool helps clients reduce their costs and carbon footprints and gain efficiency.

" "

Transportation and Logistics Market Insight Tool

Our tool provides decision makers in the shipping logistics industry with a powerful cockpit for steering operational choices. The tool compiles data on 7 industries, 25 market segments and subsegments, and 31 financial KPIs. Get a complete picture of the industry and forecast trends and assess your company’s relative performance.

" "


BCG X, BCG's tech build and design unit, partners with our shipping experts, helping companies develop AI-powered solutions and machine-learning algorithms that our clients own and integrate into their unique technology.

" "

BCG Platinion

Companies in the shipping industry collaborate with our specialty business BCG Platinion to perfect the tech side of transformation. We assist with IT architecture design, digital transformation, risk management services, cybersecurity, and implementation management.

How We Help Businesses Pursue Sustainable Shipping Operations

The growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments and practices is transforming the business environment for ports and the shipping industry in several key ways:

  • Bottom-Line Improvements. Our shipping consultants help companies examine and make investments that will secure them a more financially and environmentally sustainable future. For example, we help analyze the bottom-line impact of scrubbing technologies that bring high-sulfur fuels into compliance with IMO 2020 and of alternative fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Regulatory Requirements. Ports are also under renewed pressure to become carbon-free, reduce noise, and embrace electrification.
  • Top-Line Growth. Beyond government regulations, shippers and ports alike face a mandate from customers, many of which seek emissions data as part of their requests for tenders. The companies that deliver environmentally sustainable offerings stand to capture not only new markets and customer segments but price premiums as well.

Our shipping strategy team helps shipping companies and ports transform their organizations to reduce emissions, win on new sustainability metrics, and thrive in this new environment.

Our New ESG Playbook for Shipping


Our Shipping Industry Insights

Meet Our Shipping Consultants

Subscribe to receive the latest insights on Transportation and Logistics.