Monthly Archives: July 2018

2 Ways to Improve Liner Service Quality

In a recent annual shipper satisfaction survey conducted by Drewry and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) for 400 shippers and forwarders, it was revealed that shipper’s satisfaction with documentation accuracy scored 3.4 out of 5, but the quality of the customer service received only 2.9. The survey also reveals that carrier performance has deteriorated in the last two years, particularly in four key areas, i.e,  range of available carriers, range of different available services, the price of service and the overall carrier service quality.

Shippers and forwarders are looking for service quality in relation to brand reputation and booking options. The idea of subpar documentation accuracy and an even poorer customer service indicates that delivery and performance within the industry hasn’t been up to mark.

To see an improvement in overall carrier service quality, organisational initiatives need to be in place to boost the service quality for the entire industry.

 1. Embrace Technology

To support documentation and track-ability within the liner industry, it is highly important to ensure the accuracy of data that flows through the entire supply chain – from shipper, to haulier, to carrier to terminal and vice versa. There needs to be transparency in the movement of goods and data through the entire maritime shipping chain. In today’s context, where a wide range of shipping options and massive processes are concerned, the only way forward is through the adoption of technology that supports the core business processes in a fully integrated manner.

Given the huge amount of information involved, robust internal processes are required to ensure quick turnaround time for shippers and forwarders.

 2. Embrace People

People are the backbone that supports the success of any organisation.  The empowerment and trust towards its employees makes a great difference in the level of motivation. Research shows that high employee job satisfaction gives rise to an intrinsic desire to perform well at work which in turn leads to a good service climate. By keeping people empowered, they too will become more productive.

To meet the demands of today’s customers, carrier performance has to up their game, and that involves fostering a holistic environment of people and technologies. The good news is that in the last few years the container shipping industry has starting picking up its game. We are on the cusp of exciting changes!

Reinventing For The Future

Technological disruption within the maritime industry is transforming before our very eyes. Markets have been roiled by the recent merger of large shipping liners and the economic uncertainties between America and China. There are also issues with the shift in consumer purchasing preferences to buy experiences than goods. All these have contributed to a cautious approach to global port capacity expansion, although the outlook for container demand is now at an optimistic 4% per annum the next five years.

We have arrived at the inflection point of the market and the only way to progress is to move forward.

With the demand in larger vessel size and the demand for faster turnaround time, terminal operators have to come to terms with the need to adopt some form of automation in order to gain competitive edge. To get there, addressing fundamental challenges in the way the current container industry works is crucial, bearing in mind the current planning process across container flow is heavily fragmented.

An end-to-end planning process must be adopted in order to see operational efficiency. Large shipping companies have invested heavily in consolidating solutions and practices to cope with massive data exchange conducted throughout the maritime chain. Here, we challenge the status quo and embrace the adoption of information sharing platforms to better utilise vessel capacity and optimise allocation, terminal operations, berth management and improve the integration of these processes for more effective collaboration between stakeholders. Take for example, a Japanese shipping conglomerate has adopted a robust IT platform that is rated as the best in class for a containership operator of today. From the onset, it was determined that OPUS solutions would be its core business system and its CRM, container inventory solutions and vessel operations systems were to be integrated into it. This effort creates synergy within the ecosystem of its operations. It not only adds value to key stakeholders by combining industry best practice with accurate real-time data, it also drives enhanced operational efficiency.

The ultimate challenge is for the industry to re-examine their operational processes and home in on technologies that would help them harness the productivity gains on offer.