Container transport is a hectic business. The range of cargo varies, the prices for transport change and new legislation is commonplace. Just to name a few things. Yet the vast majority of the world’s goods are transported in containers. SKB Logistics carries containers by road and we’re in the middle of that hectic world. In this blog, we discuss the biggest annoyances in container road transport to give an insight into daily practice.
The client side - the carrier side When people work together, there will always be annoyances. In our profession, the client gives an order to pick up a full container, transport it to their depot or warehouse in Germany or Belgium, have it unloaded there and then return the empty container to a terminal. The carrier then arranges another return trip to Rotterdam or Antwerpen for often a different customer. We call this ‘one-way transport’. What are the biggest annoyances in this process? 1: The container is not delivered on time Definitely the biggest annoyance for the customer. The container has not arrived at the agreed time. And of course, this may be due to force majeure (traffic jams, terminals that do not work due to storm) but if things go wrong five times in a single week due to poor planning or incorrect data entry on the carrier side, it starts getting annoying. 2: Transport delays are not reported in time An understandable annoyance on the part of the client. The container should be there by 14:00, but is not there yet. You have a team waiting to unload the truck. And now you also have to call the carrier to ask where the container is …….! Very annoying. If you had known this earlier, you may have been able to arrange something. Fair point. But on the carrier side, there are just as many annoyances. 3: The correct and complete documentation is not available in time Carriers depend on correct and complete information from the client. This includes:
A complete transport order (data, loading/unloading locations, special activities);
Certificate of exemption.
If these documents are not presented or incomplete, this will delay the process. The customer must also put them in Portbase on time.
4: The client has not carried out the necessary actions The client also has to carry out the necessary things during the process. Booking the transport, of course, and delivering the relevant goods to the carrier. But also:
Checking whether the exemptions have been arranged and whether they are still valid;
Checking whether the reserved empty containers are, indeed, available;
Checking whether the full container is on the quay in the port;
Registering the empty container to be returned at a terminal.
If the client does not perform these actions, the carrier will have to deal with the consequences. For example, the carrier cannot unload the container because the exemption has expired or was not arranged at all. He has to contact the customer, who must then arrange these things. This leads to delays in the process, for this transport but also for the subsequent scheduled transport. Significant delays on one trip sometimes affect the planning for 2 or 3 days.
5: Waiting times at terminals Waiting times at or even before terminals are a major annoyance for carriers. In many cases, the customer cannot do anything about this. The time slots are often full and as a carrier, you can wait in front of the gate until a time slot is available to get to the container at all. Read more about this in our extensive blog. Terminals that close due to storm, an IT failure or strikes are truly disastrous. The Planning department will have to deal with this throughout the week. The chances of a making positive return with your fleet in weeks like that are virtually nil. Transporting a container requires collaboration Transporting a container requires collaboration. Collaboration between the client and the carrier. A carrier accepts an order from a paying customer and will have to provide a good service in return. However, a carrier cannot provide a good service to a client who does not properly perform his part of the process. Unfortunately, this mutual dependence is sometimes forgotten. This SKB Logistics blog is a call for more understanding for each other and for more collaboration. Both parties will have to perform their tasks properly to achieve the desired result: a container that is delivered on time without too much stressful contact between the carrier’s Planning department and that of the client. SKB Logistics is a container transport company that operates on the basis of solid collaboration and mutual trust. We believe this forms the basis for a shared result: stable transport, competitive but healthy rates, helping each other out in difficult situations (shortages, surpluses or a forgotten rush job) and safe situations on the road. We don’t compete on price and we don’t bid on auction sites. Good transport at a good, competitive price.
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