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Increased scale in shipping: bottlenecks further down the chain

Increasingly larger container ships are sailing across the oceans in order to ship many more containers per voyage, realising synergy advantages in the process. This makes carriage by sea more sustainable and the costs per TEU lower. This is a positive development. However, once a ship has been emptied, a difficult capacity issue starts. We will discuss this bottleneck in this blog.

In recent decades, seagoing vessels transported around 8,000 to 10,000 TEU, with vessels arriving in the western seaports on a daily basis. This created a continuous flow of containers that were transported further inland by road, water and rail. However, increased scale at sea has continued considerably in recent years. Vessels now transport over 20,000 TEU, thus requiring fewer ships. However, customers want to have their container with goods arrive at the destination the very next day but the subsequent link-up in transport (road, water, rails) cannot handle these peak loads.

Constant flow required All forms of transport need constant flows of goods, as this guarantees an effective deployment of the available equipment (trucks, terminals). The increase in scale at sea and the permanent wish from customers to deliver as quickly as possible creates an enormous peak load. The number of TEUs to be transported into Europe in two days simply is too big. And what to do with equipment and staff on the other days? And what about the rates? They should, in fact, be twice as high on the days in question, in order to compensate for the subsequent days of relative calm. That comes on top of additional waiting time rates and terminal surcharges because that link in the chain cannot cope with the peak load on busy working hours during the week. Furthermore, the client of the transport is unable to keep up with creating the corresponding administrative records during such a period. This ultimately results in a string of errors.

Distribute the supply We need to distribute the supply across the week to ensure effective deployment of the available fleet and, therefore, competitive rates. This reduces the pressure for all parties involved, resulting in fewer mistakes and smoother transport for everyone.

A difficult solution for this issue SKB Logistics is aware of this issue and wants to use this blog to create transparency, making this issue subject of discussion in the process. We are aiming to enter into discussions with shipping companies, carriers and clients to optimise the planning.

Contact us at: +31 85 111 7655 or


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