A strain on shipping capacity is adversely affecting the availability of containers, leading to longer delays, and an unprecedented rise in ocean freight rates. One of the most detrimental consequences of this squeeze is a potential surge in container detention costs each time containers aren’t returned empty in time under shipping lines’ terms and conditions. Industry analysts expect these challenges to grow in peak seasons and continue through 2021 and 2022.
As we approach the peak season, booking needs to return empties are exceeding capacity. Suitable appointments become difficult because depots can only process a certain number of trucks per hour. Despite an increase in demand, transport operators cannot meet the required supply. Congestion and long queues at Empty Container Parks (ECP) force them to hold containers until they are scheduled for another appointment, often resulting in added handling and increased exposure to detention. Most shipping lines include weekends in detention free-days’ calculations, so the pressure on transport companies increases towards the end of the
week as they struggle to return containers by COB Friday knowing if they do not, detention charges will be incurred.
Many trucking companies seek two days’ notice from importers to ensure the timely availability of empty containers hoping to have enough time for scheduling de-hire returns. However, this notice is still not enough during the peak. Detention free time is counted immediately after a container leaves the vessel rather than from the moment it is physically available for pick up.
Also, charges can apply when designated locations are closed or so congested that returns are nearly impossible. Such constraints put pressure on shippers and their transport companies to collect empty containers, make sure they are unloaded, before being delivered clean to the depot nominated by the shipping line.
Bottlenecks like redirection notifications to new locations, quarantine, COVID-19 protocols, and on-shore fumigation further delay de-hires while increasing the number of detention fee invoices. Some agreements between major importers and shipping lines are only ad hoc arrangements and would fail to absorb the shock brought on by the festive season in a pandemic year.
For lasting solutions, members of the transport industry need to collaborate to build a smoother logistics supply chain. MatchBox Exchange (MB), a digital platform for the re-use and exchange of empty shipping containers, helps customers get through the rush with ease. Its 24×7 Instant Approval feature eliminates the hassle of booking a slot at chock-a-block depots, and the stress of missing these appointments.
With MatchBox Exchange, trucks can avoid needless detention and bring additional value to their business. Its technology clears administrative logjams impeding empty container management, allowing landside logistic services to reduce costs, save time, and be more productive. Now, truckers can follow a timeframe, reach more customers, and meet growing demands without lining up for hours. MB’s user-friendly interface supports transport operators and effectively cushions the impact of any sudden influx.
About Carl Marchese
Marchese is the CEO and founder of MatchBox Exchange. After spending 13 years at Australia’s leading transportation companies, he experienced first-hand the waste and cost that empty container parks add every day. Providing an easy solution to this gap in the supply chain, he launched an online platform for facilitating instant approvals for reusing and exchanging empty shipping containers.
MB has helped its customers save on costs and time and reduce demand-surge fees.
About MatchBox Exchange
An online platform that connects parties for the re-use and exchange of empty containers on the land-side. Its user-friendly interface coupled with the company’s hands-on customer service is an ideal match for logistic service providers looking to decrease costs, time, fuel, and stress.