The service provided by container shipping lines is rated as poor to average and has deteriorated in the past year, according to a survey conducted by Drewry and the European Shippers' Council (ESC).
Several hundred of exporters, importers and freight forwarders from all over the world were contacted in March 2017 and asked how satisfied they were with 16 price and non-price related attributes of the services provided by ocean carriers. The survey also looked into areas most in need of improvement and how quality varies by type of carrier.
On a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), the survey participants on average did not rate carriers higher than 3.3 for any of the 16 service attributes, the survey showed.
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. At the other end of the spectrum, the three areas where they were the most satisfied were price of service, accurate documentation and quality of equipment (containers).
"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.
"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," said Philip Damas, head of the logistics practice of Drewry.