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Cryptocurrency TEU token gone

Here was one of the use cases for blockchain that everyone thought was innovative, addressed a real problem, and made some sense.  Apparently the users don’t think so.

It was designed to provide a mechanism to make reservations for 3PLs and shippers for slots on container ships.  The issue addressed was overbooking and no-shows.  But apparently noi one was able to make use of it. Only 100 were traded recently, leading to the firm’s shutdown.

I suspect the problem is the ocean carriers’ propensity to cancel voyages if they don’t have enough cargo. that delays everyone’s cargo till the next ship goes. That could be a week or more on many routes.  Why would anyone book using the TEU if the voyage will be canceled?

A bit more design thinking, developing user personas and use cases, might have revealed this flaw early on and prevented the waste of venture capital and startup labor, or created more usable modifications.  But maybe it accomplished what the entrepreneurs wanted– they got funded for a year or so and put the money in their own pockets. So what about the users? The VCs have baked into their plans a 90% failure rate; they’ll just make it up on another better bet.

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via Low take-up forces shipping cryptocurrency teu token out of circulation – The Loadstar

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Liner customers “bewildered” by new low-sulfur fuel charges – FreightWaves

Ocean carriers are confusing their customers again.  This time, it’s the low-sulphur fuel charges which are being put in place before the requirement to use it is mandated.   Each carrier has different charges, with different bases.  The result is confusion about the impact.  Some charges are being billed as “sustainability” charges. That means different things to different customers.  Most of them translate to “higher cost”.  Carriers are using various international indices to measure the changes in contracts, which may or may not relate to the actual extra cost.  And some ships are being fit to use LNG rather than the low-sulfur marine fuel, which is a whole different calculation.

Here’s an example from the article of a typical letter.

Evergreen Lo-sulfur fuel memo

The article finally gets to the bottom line.  Customers are worried that the new charges will be used by the carriers as profit centers rather than just recovering their costs.  the rate rises might go into carriers’ pockets rather than fund sustainability or simple costs.  It’s a reasonable worry, given that fuel surcharges have been used that way in the past by the carriers. Everyone knows the carriers are operating at very thin margins, particularly in the container trade.

It seems like more public relations needs to be done by carriers.  They also need to pay attention to the cost allocation part.  How can they reassure shippers that they won’t be overcharging them?  Cost allocation issues surround many business decisions, and need to be thought through.

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via Liner customers “bewildered” by new low-sulfur fuel charges – FreightWaves

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New index to improve liner reliability

 mentions that the Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE) and Cargosmart are defining a new index of carrier reliability.   Current reliability is around 80%. That means 1 in 5 ships are not arriving on time.

A good reliability index should prove useful to shippers trying to choose a carrier for their cargo.  If you need it on time, you need to pick a high reliability carrier.  Forwarders and NVOOCs, who buy blocks of slots on carriers’ ships for resale, will be moved to choose carriers who won’t cancel and who won’t delay the ships.  The index should also be useful to them.

I’ve been complaining for a while that carriers are not addressing the problem of erratic timing of shipments, and it’s a serious customer service issue for them. It’s time they started addressing it.  True, the larger ships made it more of a problem, but that is of their own doing. Customer service improvement costs money, but you make it up by holding onto good customers longer term.

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via Shippers welcome plan for new index to improve liner reliability – The Loadstar