Startups Driving Efficiency Into The Shipping Container Supply Chain
Moving a shipping container around the world today is a lot more efficient than the old ‘break bulk’ method. Though on the ground the movements can be quite simple, there is still a lot of inefficiency in getting a company to handle those movements. After establishing the problem we will look at four companies trying to make the bureaucracy of moving shipping containers around the world slicker.
Shipping container = efficiency
Container shipping lines have almost killed off break bulk shipping (where a tramp ship or liner carries boxes, crates and pallets from A to B). To move a container from China to Australia it largely involves loading up a 20ft or 40ft container at the factory, putting it on a truck to the port, loading it on a ship and then unloading it at the destination port where it is checked for bugs and contraband before being delivered to your door. Break bulk used to be far worse, and take far more time.
Bureaucracy = inefficiency
The bureaucracy of getting that shipping container load across the world, however, can try the patience of a saint. Once you have established you want the container load sent to your warehouse or whatever, you need to get quotes from shipping companies or freight forwarders. You will be after several quotes from different people who must factor in the following costs:
- Original destination
- Port of exit
Until recently it has taken around 2-3 days for a clerk in an office to work out manually just how much to charge you, and this can involve ‘human factors’. They may have been dumped by their girlfriend and their cat was sick on their pillow last night so you may get a very high quote. In addition, the human factor can mean that the quote is inaccurate and you could end up paying far more or less than what the clerk told you, in fact 12% of quotes are inaccurate.
Automating quotes can take the human factors out of the equation and because it’s done by computers, this can be completed in seconds not in days.
4 Disruptive startups
A startup that will make it big generally has an idea that disrupts normal business. The newest ones in this industry are ones that are killing off the maddening bureaucracy involved in the shipping container supply chain.
Freightos has been dubbed the ‘Expedia of shipping’ because it is so slick. You can get an accurate quote for your shipping container delivery within two minutes from the Israel-based company, which has been running since 2012 and recently raised US$55.9 million in a funding round. Freightos has given more than 28 million quotes since it began operating – this is no fly-by-night operation.
iContainers is a company that has gone head to head with Freightos, and can give a quote for your shipping container delivery with just three factors sent to them:
2. Destination country and;
3. Whether it is a full container or one you wish to share with another company.
Haven’s goal is to increase pricing transparency, get rid of confusing terminology, and try and eliminate third-party interference. It is reckoned that by carving through the bureaucracy and jargon, the average firm wanting a container delivered can save 15% on the clerk based quote. In being able to run the whole transaction process on one platform you can generate reports and analyse the costings involved – potentially seeing further cost savings further down the line.
New Jersey based INTTRA handles more than 700,000 shipping container movements a week, or 25% of global shipping container trade. One of the great advantages of this is it is backed by 50 carriers and the largest network of ocean shippers. Using the INTTRA system you can search 12 million shipping schedules across 250,000 location pairs – now that’s a powerful system! You can also use this to accurately track the container from origin to destination.
While containers have driven massive efficiencies into the supply chain, only now are computers driving speed and efficiency into the bureaucracy. As long as there are customs checks, contraband checks and the need to check the accurate weight of containers there will be checks and paperwork in the system.
In automating this and digitising it, so the bureaucracy involved is about to be as badly disrupted as break bulk shipping was when container shipping started to take over at ports around the world. In short, the world is changing for the better in the back office in the same way as it did decades ago in the ports themselves.
Gateway Container Sales
Here at Gateway Container Sales we can supply you with whatever shipping containers you require and support you in whatever innovative or ordinary way you require, contact us today or get a free quote.