Container xChange, an online platform for container logistics, has published its recent research report ‘The benefits of digitizing container operations’. Based on a market survey of more than 1,000 logistics professionals, the report revealed that freight forwarders without digital tools spend nearly half of their working days solving problems.
Tackling inefficiencies: The state of digitization in container operations
A whopping 93% of logistics professionals spend almost half of their working day solely on solving problems. This indicates significant inefficiency in the current system, leading to a waste of valuable time and resources.
Logistics professionals face many challenges when acquiring a container deal, which can lead to delays and lost revenue. Below the the most common problems are incorrect or incomplete documentation and miscommunication and misunderstandings in international deals.
Other challenges include payment delays, differences in container quality or quantity, undetected damage and unexpected events such as weather-related disruptions or port strikes. These issues can significantly disrupt container operations and ultimately harm businesses.
In addition, 92% of logistics professionals spend an average of 3-4 hours finding just one new partner when needed. This highlights the challenges freight forwarders face in maintaining a diverse and reliable network of partners, leading to increased time and effort required to acquire partnerships.
In addition to spending almost half of their working day solving problems and 3-4 hours finding a new partner when needed, 53% of logistics professionals spend 3-4 hours a week discussing terms with new partners.
In addition, the report shows that 93% of logistics professionals spend 2 to 4 hours contacting depots for release and deposit references. These manual processes are time-consuming and can lead to inefficiencies in container shipping.
The report also revealed that a third of logistics professionals spend a significant amount of time on manual transactions, averaging 10 minutes per transaction, highlighting the need for digital adoption for even the simplest operations in the container industry.
Commentary on the state of digitization of the maritime, supply chain and logistics sector, Nikolaus Sievers, director of Logistics Optimization Solutions at Solvo.ai said: “Supply chains consist of tangible and intangible flows: on the one hand you have physical flows of goods and people handling documents, and on the other hand you have digital data flows. International forwarding is all about the intersection of people, processes and technology.”
Digitization is becoming essential for the logistics sector, risk of disadvantage for non-adopters
The switch to digital is obvious and those who do not switch run the risk of falling behind. With the increasing demand for speed, accuracy and transparency in the industry, the use of digital tools becomes essential.
In addition, the report shows that those who have digitized or automated similar processes explored in the report already have a significant advantage.
By automating only these three processes i.e. online marketplace for purchasing equipment and partners, container tracking, release references from live ETAs and online chat for negotiating terms, one can spend 8+ hours per week or 4 full business days per save month.
For example, most players spend only 5-10 minutes finding a partner through an online marketplace, effectively saving them 170 minutes per partner over their non-digital counterparts.
“Digitization is the inevitable evolution for any industry, and the container logistics industry is no different,” he said Christian Roeloffs, CEO of ContainerxChange. “In today’s challenging times, businesses are grappling with myriad macroeconomic and geopolitical disruptions. These manual processes can make it even more difficult to do business. Our research shows that switching to digital tools can save time, increase efficiency and improve profitability. Logistics professionals must embrace digital transformation to stay ahead in a competitive market.”
“As the report shows, the time saved by digitizing on-the-job operations is proving to be a win-win for freight forwarders. It allows them to focus on higher-level tasks that can drive growth and success for the company, such as setting long-term goals and identifying new markets for expansion. In addition, this free time can foster a more collaborative and innovative culture within the organization, leading to new products, services and business models,” he added.
Container xChange is at the forefront of digitizing container operations, providing a platform that connects shippers, forwarders and leasing companies worldwide. By using the Container xChange platform, logistics professionals can find new, trusted partners, digitize container logistics processes and streamline their operations.
The research aimed to identify operational processes that can be easily digitized and deliver a quantified return on investment in time, money or effort. The focus was on container logistics from a freight forwarder’s point of view.
The researchers grouped contact points along the container journey into stages and highlighted one stage that showed the most quantified value. The study surveyed more than 1,000 logistics professionals, including customers and website traffic, through LinkedIn surveys, Typeform surveys, and in-person interviews via email or Zoom.