Supply Chain Matters calls reader attention to some news that likely many global supply chain participants are fully aware of, namely that many shippers remain dissatisfied with the reliability and service levels provided by many ocean container shipping lines.
Today, Drewry Shipping Advisors announced highlights of its second annual shipper satisfaction survey of Drewry and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC). The survey, involving a noted 400 respondents, indicates that the service provided by container shipping lines has deteriorated since 2016 and is now seen by exporters, importers, and freight forwarders as more problematic.
The average score related to customer satisfaction revealed an average rating of 3.2 on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). There were different levels of satisfaction for 16 different carrier activities reviewed in the survey.
Satisfaction with documentation accuracy was noted as scoring 3.4, but quality of customer service received only 2.9 and transit times and reliability of booking/cargo shipped as booked attracted scores of between 2.9 and 3.
That is not stellar performance for an industry that now desires to add more advanced technology to its processes.
Likewise, dissatisfaction with transit times is yet another reinforcement that shipping line global networks have not moved the needle in supporting very time-sensitive global supply chain material flows.
On the positive side, survey respondents provided more positive ratings to carrier adherence to contract performance, individual line financial stability and accurate documentation.
Of further interest was the analysis of the responses to the specific question:
“Compared with 2016, how do you assess the performance of the carrier industry in general in 2017?”
Over 60 percent of respondents cited dissatisfaction over the range of different available carriers. Over 40 percent indicated dissatisfaction over the range of different available services, and the subsequent price of such services.
From our lens, the above views reflect a building consensus that the recent formation of carrier alliance networks has not served shippers to their key service needs.
The release includes a quote from the head of the logistics practice at Drewry:
“Shippers and forwarders want a balance between service quality and price, but the survey shows that carriers are cutting back on service and offering less choice to shippers.”
That statement says it all and should provide yet another wake-up call to shipping lines that moaning about the need for higher rates beyond cost breakeven is hollow without providing operating evidence that alliance networks add more choice and service for shippers.