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Freight forwarders bemoan lack of control over containers

Port of LA Stacked containers in port of Los Angeles
Container xChange is attempting to automate manual processes around container tracking to optimise operations and cut costs.

The technology company surveyed freight forwarders and NVOCCs in September and discovered that of 150 respondents, 60% felt they did not have proper control over container movements, and 50% would automate monitoring of container pickup, ETA, port of discharge and drop-off if able.

The potential efficiency gains for the technology were shown in the results, as over a third of respondents said they spent 50-75% of their time on monitoring and release validation.

The survey came as Container xChange launched its new Container Control product to monitor a container’s progress using up-to-date automated information feeds from container depots.

“The idea is to automate the container management process for freight forwarders so they can focus less on manual operational work processes and more on expanding their business across geographies. We equip them with the data and processes that simplify their business. And for the industry, it solves the challenge of monitoring and managing containers all at one single sophisticated platform.” said Dr. Johannes Schlingmeier, cofounder and CEO, of Container xChange.

At a webinar marking the launch of the product, Jack Sun, Director at Orange Container Line said his company would use some of the saved hours to improve work-life balance for employees.

According to Sun and Benny Huygen, Commodities Business Development Manager at Kuehne + Nagel Belgium, it seems the new technology will largely replace cloud-hosted spreadsheet solutions for container monitoring.

“From the moment the container is born, to its last journey, we want to digitalize every process and this product is a huge step in the right direction. By bringing all the parties online, Container Control will transform the way container logistic companies connect and do business.” added Schlingmeier.

Container Control will offer a clear overview of all releases and container a freight forwarder/NVOCC has in use, along with monitoring in near-real-time from pickup to drop off, said the company.

“We are happy to see how Container xChange has made our job easier,” said Huygen. “It’s a crucial part of my role to have an overview of the available containers, quickly match them to container bookings, and be on top of container movements from pick-up to drop-off. With Container Control I will be able to do it all faster and have more time to deliver amazing customer experience.”