• Service quality of ocean carriers rated ‘poor to average’

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    CONTAINER shipping lines were given largely unfavorable marks in a survey of shippers and freight forwarders conducted by the European Shipping Council (ESC) and maritime analysis firm Drewry in March, the ESC reported this week.

    The ESC said that according to the survey, the service provided by container shipping lines is rated as “poor to average” and has deteriorated since last year. The three areas of service or price in which shippers and forwarders were the most dissatisfied with were “carrier financial stability,” “quality of customer service,” and “reliability of booking/cargo shipped as booked.”

    Areas where container lines received the highest marks were “price of service,” “accurate documentation,” and “quality of equipment,” the ESC said.

    “We see that shippers want to be treated not only as customers, but also as partners when discussing their container transport requirements. In times when supply chains are becoming more and more complex, partnership is of key importance and unfortunately it is missing,” said Fabien Becquelin, Maritime Policy Manager at ESC.

    “Comparing transport modes, the air freight industry is suffering from similar problems to the container shipping industry, but it came to the conclusion that partnership is the only way out and is reaching out to the shippers,” Becquelin added.

    “Shippers and forwarders clearly see the necessity for the carrier industry to invest in IT and to balance the needs for cost competitiveness and for more predictability and reliability,” added Philip Damas, head of the logistics practice of Drewry.

    Given the response to the survey, ESC and Drewry said they plan to conduct it on a regular basis, and invited interested shippers and forwarders to contact them, should they wish to be included in next year’s survey, provide their views, and be kept informed of carrier performance assessments.

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