Ocean carriers that have automated their processes for approval of container repairs are cutting turnaround time in half to three days, according to a software services company for the container shipping industry.
Nearly 25 percent of all containers must be repaired before returning to service, so shorter turnaround times in the equipment repair cycle "have a critical, positive impact on an operator's overall fleet strategy," said Heidi Regier, senior market analyst at International Asset Systems in Oakland, Calif.
A three-day improvement in turnaround times can save carriers money , Regier said. That's because the faster improvement times would allow carriers to reduce the size of their container fleets - in some cases by as much as 5 percent -- as equipment utilization improves.
With a three-day drop in turnaround time, an operator with a fleet size of 150,000 units could reduce that fleet by nearly 7,000 units, a savings worth $2.5 million at a conservative $1 per unit per day operating cost, she said.
IAS also noted that an average container cargo cycle is 65 days. The company said it based its findings on 225,000 monthly repair transactions generated since June 2002 by its customers, which include 16 of the top 20 global ocean carriers.