Container triangulation is a well-known practice among transport companies worldwide. It’s a process that involves reusing import containers for exports, reducing the need to transport empty containers to and from depots and improving turnaround times.
This approach simplifies logistics while delivering big business benefits:
a) Reduced costs: By reusing containers, transport operators can minimise expenses associated with depot charges. Typically, returning containers to depots incurs additional costs, especially if they are not returned within the agreed timeframe. Container triangulation mitigates these costs, making the process more financially sustainable.
b) Improved efficiencies: Efficient fleet utilisation is vital for any transport operator. By eliminating the need to ferry empty containers to and from depots, businesses can make better use of their resources. This means streamlined operations, faster turnaround times, and increased profitability.
c) Reduced environmental impact: Container triangulation also plays a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions. By minimising the number of empty container movements, businesses contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly container transportation sector.
However, container triangulation is out of reach for transport operators whose workload requirements don’t align. For example, if a company mainly deals with importing goods and doesn’t have any export work, they can’t truly leverage container triangulation.
These situations mean transport operators have no choice but to return containers to the depot, leading to higher costs, traffic jams, and decreased operational efficiency.
MatchBox Exchange: Reinventing container triangulation
The answer is taking container triangulation to the next level with user-friendly technology. And that’s what MatchBox Exchange is doing – by streamlining and digitising the process, we’re making container triangulation accessible to all container landside operators.
Our digital platform connects operators who need empty shipping containers with those who have them. Container Exchange enables operators to list empty containers on the platform, making them available for other nearby businesses in need.
This Exchange process means imported containers can be put to good use for export without the need for a depot return. It offers the flexibility and efficiency that every transport operator needs.
This approach streamlines the Container Exchange process, allowing businesses to access the containers they require more efficiently and remove the ones they don’t, thus reducing transport costs and fees associated with depots. This collaboration also means greater fleet productivity and more efficient use of resources.
Container Exchange in the real-world
Coastline Transport, an Auckland-based transport operator, shared their experience with us in this case study. They embraced MatchBox Exchange in 2022 and initially used Exchange to offload containers to exporters before transitioning to Re-Using their import containers while also accessing containers from their network for exports.
Up until Q2 2023, this shift led to substantial savings, including:
- – More than 250 fewer truck trips
- – 15,000 kgs of reduced carbon emissions
- – 16,100 kms of reduced travel
“The ebb and flow of the import vs export market in Auckland/New Zealand is a huge problem we face regularly,” Ron van Geffen from Coastline Transport said. “There are times when New Zealand has too many import containers and not enough exports, and vice versa. The ability to manipulate this within the MatchBox system definitely gives us an advantage over being on a waitlist to receive more containers that are understocked in New Zealand.”
Premium Grain Handlers (PGH) in Western Australia adopted MatcBbox Exchange in early 2022, using container Exchanges to source empty containers from other transport companies. They significantly reduced their reliance on empty container parks, with containers now dropped directly into their yard with a 5-minute turnaround time.
“As our business has grown, we do not have the resources available to spend hours at ECPs who charge exorbitant fees,” Cameron Coulson, PGH Operations Manager, said in a recent interview with us. “By integrating MatchBox into our operations, we have decreased the amount of money we spend at the ECPs and the amount of time our trucks are waiting.”
PGH gained easier container access, reduced booking fees when compared to picking up from depots, and improved collaboration with other users on the platform, all of which contributed to greater supply chain efficiency and boosted industry relationships.
Don’t waste more resources on inefficient container use
Container triangulation is a powerful strategy for transport operators, but it can be hindered by incompatible workload requirements. MatchBox Exchange’s Container Exchange feature is the solution that brings flexibility and efficiency to landside transport operators, allowing them to make the most of container resources. To explore how you can use technology to create more efficient operations and reduce costs, or to request a free demonstration of MatchBox Exchange, click here.