Only 18% of the 50 largest freight forwarders are able to offer Shipper Owned Containers (SOCs) due to difficulties handling SOC shipments operationally, a report by online platform Container xChange has found.
The platform organised a mystery shopping-style experiment with two fake companies asking for containers to be exported from China to Hamburg with 45 days storage.
The second test, in which Container xChange specified that SOCs were wanted, found that only three companies (DB Schenker, Kerry Logistics and XPO) could offer SOC shipments while five companies offered containers for buy or lease.
Additionally, the quotes received were expensive with one including a SOC surcharge of US$100 per container while another company would have charged a US$1,200 pickup charge per container.
Less than half of the companies Container xChange contacted (42%) responded to the requests and, despite several follow-ups, the reply rate was quite slow.
The first test, which did not specify that SOCs were wanted, showed similar results with only 50% responding to the request and no offers within the first two days.
Out of the 25% of companies that came back with a quote, three out of four were not for SOC shipments and included demurrage & detention charges while only 6% of the companies in this test, such as CEVA logistics and NFI, sent quotes for SOCs.
SOCs help to avoid demurrage & detention fees as well as increase freight forwarders’ flexibility, however, organising SOC shipments can take a lot of time and be confusing.
Container xChange believes that online platforms such as itself can help to reduce the time it takes to find new partners and use their containers.
It currently has over 300 container users and owners utilising its neutral platform to find SOC containers and identify partners for repositioning.