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Shipowners turn to trending online container markets amidst global shortage

With the pandemic-driven container shortage persisting for a long time now, the ship owners are now turning to new online markets for container shopping. The unprecedented conditions have led companies to break away from older systems of working with leased containers.

Many container suppliers have set up platforms like Shipped.com, ContainerDiscounts.com, BoxxPort, and BoxHub have joined the trend. The European container trading platform Eveon Containers also announced on 22 July a plan to expand its business to the Eastern Coast of the US under this similar model.

The change in preference of shipowners to buy their equipment including containers is being driven by the aim to maximise profit when the freight rates have boomed and are constantly surging with a shortage of containers. Currently, the global freight orders have exceeded 18% of the total fleet capacity.

The severity of the container shortage could be understood with the fact that 55% of total containers in the world are currently either at water or are sitting ideal at various ports due to the pandemic. This is 15% higher than the usual average.

Online container shopping platforms have also been able to gain popularity amongst shipowners with increased efficiency of transactions. The customer can find the availability of 20-foot or 40-foot containers, see a fixed price and all essential details, to make an order just with a single click.

These transactions are also much safer than the traditional practices of the price-on-request model which in the majority of cases was accompanied by the risk of fraud due to completion of legal work before supply just based on verbal assurances.

The combination of factors has prompted shippers to turn to such growing platforms, making them another successful example of digitalisation aiding the perplexed supply chain and logistics during unprecedented circumstances.

Ankur Kundu

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