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Freight forwarders turn to shipper-owned containers to take control of container supply amid global shortage

  • Tripling of awareness and acceptance of shipper-owned containers (SOC) among top 50 freight forwarders amid rising demurrage and detention charges, container shortages and supply chain uncertainties supply
  • Part of this report a question and answer session with Florian BrownOcean Freight Manager, EMEA, Flexport opines, “SOC can provide an advantage depending on the situation. But you need to have the right process in place to manage flows.”

Hamburg, Germany, February 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — According to Container xChange’s annual “SOC Mystery Shopping Report”, for the third consecutive year, the percentage of the top 50 freight forwarders accepting SOC requests increased from 6% in 2019, 10% in 2020 to 18% in 2021, a tripling of awareness and acceptance of shipper-owned containers (shipper-owned shipping containers). Although there is a considerable improvement in the demand for SOC, major freight forwarders have yet to meet the demand for boxes on the route of China for Germany.

Florian BrownOcean Freight Manager, EMEA, Flex port says, “SOC increases the reliability of empty container availability. The downside is that you need a dedicated team/person to handle these shipments.”

“Freight forwarders are increasingly positive about SOCs, but are also uncertain about the success of the processes around them. Growing awareness of SOCs shows that industry players are reacting to supply chain pressures by diversifying their sourcing strategy. We have seen growth year-on-year for SOC acceptance as well as demand for improved cost and management efforts. We believe the solution lies in digitization of the process to allow freight forwarders a seamless and hassle-free opportunity to use SOCs,” said Christian RoeloffsFounder and CEO, Container xChange

During the month of December 2021, Container xChange put the world’s 50 largest freight forwarders to the test to determine how well they respond to SOC demands. We once again reached out to ship industrial machinery parts from Shanghai for Hamburg using SOC containers. Here is what the findings of the report show –

  • 18% from companies which have been tested were able to organize the SOC moves and sources containers without any restrictions. This 18% figure compares to 10% of companies in 2020 and 6% in 2019.
  • The acceptance and awareness of the SOC has grown over the past three years. 90% of our respondents knew the SOC market compared to 68% of respondents last year and 35% in 2019.
  • Hitachi transport system was one of the most helpful freight forwarders, even offering us ‘reasonable’ pickup fees. While last year the winners were Kuehne+Nagel, CEVA Logistics, Hitachi Transport Systems, Nippon Express and Kerry Logistics – in 2021 it was GEFCO, Hitachi (again), Yusen Logistics, Landstar, Mainfreight, Kintetsu World Express , FedEX, BDP International and Millenium Cargo.
  • This year, the lower cohorts outperform the top 10. The first 10 were already saturated with business, especially as the end-of-year holidays approached. Clearly, SOC is becoming increasingly possible for a range of freight forwarders. (Cohort 1 = Rank 1 – 10, Cohort 2 = Rank 11 – 20 etc.)

One of xChange’s recent surveys in January 2022 which surveyed 500 freight industry respondents also reported that a quarter of respondents plan to use SOCs as one of their container sourcing strategies through 2022.

Download the report here-

About Container xChange:

Container xChange is one of the world’s leading container rental and trading marketplaces. More than 800 companies such as Kuehne+Nagel, Seaco, Sarjak use xChange to gain market transparency, avoid demurrage and detention costs and increase operational flexibility. Covering the entire transaction process, from finding new partners to tracking containers and managing payments, xChange makes using third-party equipment and now container trading as easy as booking a hotel. . Founded by Dr Johannes Schlingmeier and Christian Roeloffs in 2017 and based in Hamburg, Germanythe company has more than 200 employees.

Container xChange acquired, the leading tank container rental and trade marketplace, in 2021, strengthening the company’s position as a leading neutral supplier for shipping equipment.

Media Contact :

Ritika Kapoor,
Senior Public Relations and Communications Manager
[email protected]


SOURCE xChange container