Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) this week provided a tool allowing customers and internal staff to get current data on blank sailings and service suspensions as shippers contend with more than 3 million TEU of capacity pulled through blanked sailings on the Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific trades alone.
The capacity cuts, a reaction to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on cargo demand, are the largest since the global financial crisis in 2009. Because of the interconnectedness of services via alliances, cargo owners often complain that they're not informed when a partner of their core carrier makes a service change. Notification of blank sailings across multiple carriers or alliances is also generally not available within a single system.
The schedule feature is part of an augmented set of functions within the forwarder’s Sea Explorer ocean service intelligence system, which now also provides users with updated predicted arrivals of all vessels into their next port call, and more detailed carbon emission information for each service.
The ability to keep up to date with schedule information, which K+N receives via direct feeds with container lines, has only become more critical as vessel operators slash capacity to cope with depressed demand in Asia and Europe.
Neutral service data
Sea Explorer, available only to K+N customers, is not a booking tool, but rather provides neutral guidance on services available from all carriers for any two global ports. Users can determine which service has the fastest transit, is most reliable, and has the lowest carbon footprint.
K+N developed the tool in 2018, leveraging data from its own shipments, which move on virtually every service around the world, Otto Schacht, K+N executive vice president sea logistics, told JOC.com.
Schacht said the tool is used internally by K+N’s sales teams to provide customers with a sense of what services are available between specific origin-destination pairs. Larger customers use it to measure the performance of their container line partners and for their quarterly business reviews (QBRs).
“Our customers can ask for a price, but they will not see a price on Sea Explorer,” Schacht explained, because the rate for a shipper moving a single container per month will be different for one moving five containers per week.
“There will be a link to our booking site, but most of our customers will say, ‘It has to be there on Tuesday, you handle booking how to get it there.’ Now we realize we show it to shippers, they tell us their preferences, but they say, ‘Kuehne + Nagel, we want you to manage it.’”
Schacht added that three container lines have begun using the platform to benchmark on-time schedule reliability. “They have data for their own vessels, but use it to measure their competition,” Schacht said.