Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Giant Container Group Introduces 'Guaranteed' Freight Booking Spots and Prices

Scheme Resembles Eight Year Old Promise
Shipping News Feature
DENMARK – WORLDWIDE – For decades the ocean shipping industry has operated two entirely separate markets, bulk cargo and container freight using different methods of booking and pricing. Now Maersk, the world's largest box line has doffed its hat to the alternative 'spot market' with the release of Maersk Spot, which it says can offer a range of advantages to shippers and freight forwarders.

We have of course seen such systems introduced in the past and, as previously, the ‘guarantee’ means if a shipper reneges they still get a bill, if Maersk fails to ship it will pay the customer some degree of compensation. The scheme has similarities to another Maersk innovation, the ‘Daily Maersk’ guarantee launched in 2011 which, like Maersk Spot, offered guaranteed services, at that time with compensation of $100 to $300 for delays between 1 and 4 days.

According to the Danish group the new online tool has the power to break the cycle of overbookings, something most users would say was the fault of the shipping companies anyway, and offers a ‘load guarantee for every container’. So far Maersk claims more than 3,000 unique customers each week are using the system, with already over 50,000 Forty-Foot-Equivalent (FFE) units booked in Q2.

Maersk Spot aims to provide the client with a cargo loading guarantee at a fixed price upfront, and the system is useable 24/7. The all-in price is calculated and fixed when the booking is confirmed, which happens instantly, and doubtless the company will be firmly in the spotlight to ensure it works as well as promised.

Maersk Spot is now available on all trades, except in and out of the US. Currently available as BETA site, the product will be implemented on maersk.com at the beginning of August. Silvia Ding, Global Head of Ocean Products at Maersk, enthused:

“It is not uncommon to see overbookings to the tune of 30%, and often this leads to rolling of the customers’ cargoes since there is overbooking to compensate for the high downfall. This creates a lot of uncertainty for our customers. With Maersk Spot, we provide full visibility of the price and terms that will ensure cargoes get on board. Ultimately allowing customers to move their cargo in a much simpler and more reliable way.

“Maersk Spot radically simplifies the buying experience for our customers. Today’s offline process can be up to 13 individual steps, often involving a lot of communication and paper work from rate sheets to terms and conditions and surcharges, etc. With Maersk Spot, this cumbersome process is reduced to five simple and integrated steps, all online.”

One of the customers already using Maersk Spot is The Ramco Cements Limited. The company sends around 120-200 containers from Kattupalli port to Colombo every week, making their bookings one to two weeks in advance to ensure they can deliver to their customers on time with the best deal possible. Ramakrishnan D, General Marketing Manager, commented:

“We are quite proactive about our bookings but there were still cases where our shipments were not loaded due to capacity issues which resulted in the loss of trust with some of our customers. With Maersk Spot, we no longer have the uncertainty of not knowing if we can actually provide our customers with their shipments.”