Value Added Logistics
Container shipping is one of the Value Added Logistics services of Kolibri Logistiek. For a lot of our clients we ship containers from all over the world to Rotterdam, The Gateway to Europe. We also organise the custom clearance and haulage to our warehouse for storage and fulfillment services. But shipping companies are facing a storm. Recently Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean container line went bankrupt. Leaving 66 ships with containers on board. In many of these containers is stock for the Christmas shopping period. So many retailers are concerned.
And Hanjin seems to be the top of the iceberg. From the 12 biggest container shipping lines, 11 have announced big losses in the last quarter. Investors are now suggesting to merge in order to prevent bankruptcy as Hanjin did.
Crisis in container shipping
There are two big reasons for the crisis in the container shipping line industry. The first is the financial crisis that hit the industry world wide. The second is the rise in size of total number in containers and fleet. As container ships are getting bigger and bigger, overcapacity follows. Shipping a container from Shanghai to Rotterdam costs now half of what it was in 2013.
Maersk Line, the industry leader, has innitiated a partnership with MSC to share space on their vessels in order to be more efficient and profitable. Two other groups followed. But the alliances could not stop the problems of overcapacity and the falling of freight rates.
Maersk is now working to gather data from their ships in order to better co-ordinate the interaction of ships and ports. They have now installed sensors on their containers for Track & Trace and contents. With this information ports will now which containers they need to unload before the ship even has entered the harbour. And so the unloading will go more quickly and ships can leave earlier with less costs. The data will also give better information over how to load containers more efficiently on ships.
Empty containers will also be spotted better. Meanwhile other shipping lines followed Maersk and now there is a new website xChange, that allows shipping lines to see eachother empty containers and use those to be more efficient.
Gathering data alone will not save the industry from the current crises but it is a big step ahead.