Beneficial cargo owners are hopeful that ocean carriers will collaborate with them in mutually addressing challenges, according to commentary at the South Carolina International Trade Conference.
International Paper Co.’s manager of international distribution, Marlon B. Jones, was among major shippers voicing such a view during sessions of the event, which was held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Charleston.
“We had an opportunity to kick them in the teeth, and we didn’t,” Jones said, referring to carriers and the historic low freight rates of recent times, adding that shippers will soon begin finding out which container lines are reciprocally supportive.
Jones said his Memphis-based firm, the world’s largest pulp and paper company, has been challenged to secure a sufficient supply of containers to load with its products and also has encountered difficulties in getting needed shipment information.
“I want to know where my product is at all times, and, no, I’m not getting that,” he said.
Jones called for a better balance between the interests of BCOs and carriers, but pragmatically commented, “I really want to see the industry become healthy, but my job is making sure my company is healthy.”
Eastman Chemical Co.’s manager of North America marine, Klaus Schnede, said that, in his procurement role for the Kingsport, Tennessee-based global leader in specialty chemical production, he has found himself dissatisfied with customer service aspects of today’s heavily consolidated ocean carrier business.
“Some of the carriers are going in a direction we don’t like,” Schnede said. “It’s tough to get hold of the right person to fix things when they go wrong.”
Schnede said he believes it is imperative for carriers and BCOs to work together to provide an environment that is favorable to both parties…
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