A year of supply chain challenges and increasingly higher costs is causing shippers, carriers, brokers, and others in the shipping container business to rethink their logistics strategies for 2022, according to a study from online container logistics platform Container xChange, released Wednesday.
Germany-based Container xChange surveyed 800 container logistics stakeholders from around the world for its Industry Speak Survey 2021-2022, which gauges industry sentiment and the outlook for the year ahead. Respondents included shipping lines, container traders, freight forwarding companies, agents, shippers, and procurement companies, who listed finding slots on vessels (53%) and carrier surcharges (22%) as their top challenges heading into the New Year.
As a result, the container industry is rethinking its logistics strategy, with plans to diversify sourcing and hold more inventory, according to the report. Key findings include:
More than 70% of respondents said they were rethinking their logistics strategies by looking for more diverse sourcing options and resorting to holding more inventory.
Half of respondents said they have resorted to one-way leasing as a way to deal with logistics challenges, followed by long-term leasing contracts (28%) and buying containers (22%).
Overall, the industry is downbeat about supply chain performance in 2022; 65% of respondents said that performance will either deteriorate further (11%) or remain the same (54%) in the year ahead.
On container shortages, respondents said the main causes include shippers using boxes as storage (42%), container line failures (28%), inefficiencies in matching box owners to potential users (28%), and longer transit times and port congestion that made container rotation slower.
Three-quarters of respondents said the Covid-19 pandemic affected their business in 2021, with 54% reporting that the pandemic resulted in lower profit margins, 36% saying it resulted in less transparency, and 36% reporting that they relied more on digital solutions to manage the challenges of the past year.