The European Shippers Council elected Jean Louis Cambon, head of Michelin Tire’s Ocean Management Committee as the new chairman of its Maritime Transport Council this week.
In accepting his new position, Cambon, who is active in the French Shippers Council, called on European shippers to seek a constructive relationship with the carrier community but at the same time to challenge some of their current practices.
He said liner shipping is one of the few sectors of industry “that believes it can reduce service quality while simultaneously increasing prices, and expect its customers to accept this and additionally take the blame for the carriers’ misfortunes.”
“Uppermost in shippers’ minds, right now, is the shortage of capacity on some of the major shipping routes in the world. Carriers must understand that by restraining capacity below trade demand and creating cargo roll-overs, they will encourage the increasing number of shippers who want to shorten their supply-chains to shift sourcing of their products to origins closer to consumption markets, which eventually will reduce the ton/miles transported and the fleet necessary to carry them.”
“Those carriers introducing slow-steaming to reduce their own costs must understand the possible impacts this has on their customers’ supply chains: lengthening lead-times, increasing inventory cost, disorganizing transshipment patterns, and making changes to schedules and port rotations with little or no warning. Carriers should pay more attention to their customers needs and take the time to learn about their customers’ businesses. That way they might focus less on chasing market share, over-ordering new ships and selling rates, and focus more on identifying and delivering the right services and improved service quality.”
“It is time to move beyond the old cycle of boom and bust, rate volatility and instability in the liner shipping market; we all have a vested interest in the long term stability of the liner shipping sector; equally the liner shipping sector has a vested interest in the sustainable economic growth of their customers. There is still much to be done, and I look forward in playing my part in the achievement of these goals.”
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.