Tag Archives: transportation

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Shipper hackles rise as Hong Kong box terminals announce operating alliance

Sam Whelan penned a report on the alliance of four companies managing terminals at the Kwai Tsing terminals in Hong Kong.

Apparently shippers are furious. They believe there will be collusion and rates will rise as a result.  Rates are already higher in Hong Kong than the mainland, and the Hong Kong fees add more cost.

The firms say it’s only to make the port more efficient and gain higher throughput.  Volume handled has been declining in 2018 compared to the prior year.

It’s true that greater cooperation would most likely improve port throughput.  Coordinating yard movements and berth use would offer possibilities for gains. I’m not sure it would have to be at the level of fixing prices.   Improving port and yard bottlenecks is an important activity for firms in port management today.

But you can bet shippers will be on their guard for any collusion on pricing, especially when there’s a falling need for services.  And since it’s China that is involved– these are Chinese firms– we can’t rule out geopolitical considerations that would be collusive.  WE need to watch this one and see how the volumes and prices play out, just like the shippers will.

logo  via Shipper hackles rise as Hong Kong box terminals announce operating alliance – The Loadstar

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CMA CGM and CEVA detail tie-up

Chris Dupin has an interesting article in the most recent American Shipper.  CMA/CGM is trying to buy a majority interest in CEVA, the 3PL firm based in Switzerland.   CEVA has been the target of another buyout effort by DSV, another 3PL.  the time was certainly ripe for a consolidation in both the 3PL and the maritime transport space.  This merger or combination is another attempt to deepen the reach of a maritime company into downstream supply chain management.

Like all of these mergers, we’ll have to see if it works out, and if the combination succeeds in improving results for shippers and receivers of goods.  But for me it is  a step in the right direction for a maritime company.  If you try to tackle the downstream problems, you will start to understand how to improve and deliver more value.  Whether a purchase is the best route is an open question, but it is certainly a good try.

The article also points out that CMA/CGM is innovating in other ways now.  It has an in-house incubator, ZeBox, of small concerns that have ideas for improvements. It’s moving ahead on tracking containers and monitoring some of the risk conditions they face while traveling; and it is making some investment in bill of lading improvements through a blockchain technology project with BuyCo, another startup.  These are certainly ways to get innovators thinking about the maritime supply chain problems.  Who winds up with the rents is yet to be determined.

 

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via CMA CGM and CEVA detail their tie-up

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New paper published on Standards and carrier differentiation

My colleagues Chris Clott, Rob Cannizzaro and I just published a paper in the Journal of Shipping and Trade.  In it we propose a new standard called ServiceTerms for classifying container cargo on six ACTION dimensions which are relevant to downstream supply chain service and performance (and to some extent upstream actions).  The six dimensions are

  • Accessorial
  • Customer Service
  • Transport
  • Inventory
  • Orders and paperwork
  • None of the above.

ServiceTerms would function something like INCOTERMS in supply chain contracts. They would provide a standard which every participant in the supply chain– ocean, rail and truck carriers, port terminals, warehousing, drayage, distribution, and so on– would know about in advance and determine how they were going to handle the goods to meet the standard.   The standard includes a specification of limits on the time spent in each step of the journey, based on the total length in time committed to.  These time standards would allow each of the actors to plan their operations to meet their time requirement.  Aiming  for the standard would coordinate the supply chain actors with only limited need for them to work together except on the handoffs. (And these are typically between just two adjacent players in the network.)  The actors in the chain would be enabled to innovate their own individual  techniques to meet their goals.

Like INCOTERMS there would be no specific penalties for failure.  However, there would be measurement and reporting of performance (time in service) at each stage of the end-to-end delivery.  Individual contracts could provide penalties, negotiated by the participants;  everyone involved could keep track of whether a participant was doing his or her bit to meet the standard; or whether some were agreeing to a standard with less than total commitment to making it happen for individual cargoes.

Alliances have been touted as supply chain improvements because they coordinate a few ocean carriers on legs of a journey. But supply chain thinking tells us what matters is the overall source to destination performance, and that requires more involvement, particularly from downstream players such as rail, barge, truck, warehouse, and “last mile”.  To improve their abysmal service performance, alliances have to find ways of coordinating the entire delivery process.  A standard for the process that shippers, handlers,  and carriers can agree and coordinate on is a central element.

We see alliances as entities capable of incubating the ServiceTerms standards, much as the International Chamber of Commerce does for INCOTERMS.   ServiceTerms could then be included in a standard contract for delivery. The specifics of the ServiceTerms  standard should be negotiated during the incubation process; and the process should allow for individual variations by contract, much as INCOTERMS do.

If the majority of cargo went according to the standard, all the supply chain players would work together to make sure the overall term was met.  That should improve everyone’s focus on the goal of making customer service a standard rather than an exception in the container business.

 

 

   via Standard setting and carrier differentiation at seaports | SpringerLink

Cite this article as:

Clott, C.B., Hartman, B.C. & Cannizzaro, R. J. shipp. trd. (2018) 3: 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41072-018-0035-0

A pdf of the article is available here.