Container line giants CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd have begun using a technology platform that will allow empty import boxes to be re-used and delivered directly to an export customer for subsequent loading, according to the company providing the service.
Under the service, being provided by Belgian firm Avantida, a unit of container management firm Inttra, an empty container that one of the liners' partners typically would return to the port of entry or an assigned depot would instead—with the liners' consent--be brought directly to an exporter for re-use and re-loading. The service would eliminate waiting times for boxes at terminals and depots, and reduce the mileage needed to return the boxes to a depot and then re-position it for delivery to an exporter, Avantida said.
The service has been launched in Mexico, its first North American location. It plans to be expanded to the U.S. within the next six months providing Avantida can line up a partnership with container shipping firm, Luc De Clerck, Avantida's CEO, said last night in an e-mail. The platform is available in 12 countries, including Germany, France and Poland.
Walter Kemmsies, managing director, economist, and chief strategist of the ports practice for JLL, a Chicago-based real estate and logistics services firm, lauded the move. lauded the move. "There is a lot of inefficiency in the system, and a (box) matching program like this can make a big difference," Kemmsies, who has been at the forefront of initiatives to maximize ocean container utilization, said in an e-mail. "We are in the information era, but the logistics industry is mostly not in the information era. Time to catch up."
Kemmsies said that no such large-scale initiative exists in the U.S. Those in existence are small and locally focused, he added.