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Only 10% of forwarders could source an SOC container in undercover survey

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With container lines experiencing a severe shortage of containers a “mystery shopper” survey of major freight forwarders by Container xChange found only 10% could source shipper owned containers (SOC) rather than accepting carrier owned container (COC) shipments.

In the undercover survey Container xChange sourced quotes from 50 forwarders for a shipment of industrial coffee machinery parts from China to Germany, with 45 days storage in the container and the use of an SOC box.

The survey found that while 12 forwarders accepted the booking only five, or 10%, could actually move and source an SOC container. Of the remaining 12 forwarders that accepted booking two offered to buy the container on behalf of the shipper, and five others suggested that the company supply its own container.

Top performers in the survey were listed as: Kuehne+Nagel, CEVA Logistics, Hitachi Transport Systems, Nippon Express and Kerry Logistics.

Container xChange said that pick-up charges varied from $300 to $2,700 with the wide range in pricing suggesting some forwarders had a ready supply of containers, while others would have to buy the equipment.

Some 76% of forwarders could not organise the SOC move, or simply did not respond.

“It is clear from the survey results that SOCs are an underused resource, particularly now at a time of stratospheric freight rates and shortages of carrier-owned containers (COC),” said Wolfgang Lehmacher, leading logistics consultant and the former head of Supply Chain and Transport Industries at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and New York.

. “I think at the present time the SOC advantage of avoiding demurrage and detention charges is a huge business plus. But shippers, forwarders and NVOCCs can all benefit from using SOCs – they are an additional instrument in the mix of managing the container enabled supply chain,” Lehmacher said.

 “Carriers can also benefit from higher customer satisfaction and fewer disputes about detention and demurrage charges. And SOCs can also solve some of their struggles returning containers.”

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