Why Importers & Exporters Don’t Use Shipper Owned Containers

2-minute read

The current market circumstances dictate New Zealand companies are not able to receive the full advantage of shipper-owned containers (SOCs).

Recently published by Hamburg-based Container xChange, the report determined that most freight-forwarders are failing to capitalise on the potential opportunities offered by SOCs.

Customs Brokers and Forwarders Federation of NZ (CBAFF) executive director Rosemarie Dawson comments come in response to last week’s Shipping Gazette™ coverage of the SOC Containers 2020 report.

“While there could be benefits to European or United States forwarders of using SOCs — and at least one company is using them for reefer purposes on the Tasman route — there are currently deterrents to their use in New Zealand,” Ms Dawson told the Shipping Gazette™.

Included in such deterrents are the surcharges on SOCs that shipping lines charge freight-forwarders, continued Ms Dawson.

“Lease or purchase charges also apply.”

Another is that New Zealand’s major import and export seasons are at opposite ends of the year.

“This means that New Zealand forwarders who lease or purchase SOCs also need to pay for their empty return from overseas, at considerable cost.

“While most of New Zealand’s imports are managed by New Zealand forwarders, they do not handle many of the exports.”

Additionally, Ms Dawson noted that a large percentage of New Zealand’s imports come into Auckland, while exports mainly departed from other ports.

“Moving containers around New Zealand is also very expensive.”

 Furthermore, Ms Dawson said inventory would add further cost. 

“Running and servicing container fleets is complex and expensive.

Importers and exporters would have to pay for the forwarding industry’s capital and administrative costs.” 

However, in contrast, Ms Dawson suggested that if shipping lines were to remove their surcharges on SOCs, “that could encourage greater uptake”.

“During the 1990s carriers offered a discount to New Zealand forwarders for using SOCs.

“Some of our members have discussed removing the surcharge with carriers to promote SOCs use, but without success.

Detention fees provide a revenue stream for carriers, so there seems to be little incentive for them to take steps to promote greater use of SOCs.”

Source: NZ Shipping Gazette

P.S. Easy Freight Ltd helps New Zealand importers & exporters to save money on international freight and reduce mistakes by guiding how to comply with Customs and biosecurity rules. 

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