The level of satisfaction regarding container carriers among exporters, importers, and freight forwarders reduced marginally, according to the third annual shipper satisfaction survey of Drewry and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC).
The joint ESC and Drewry survey presents that the 249 shippers and forwarders who participated in the survey rated the service of container shipping lines with a score of 3.1 on average, on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). This is 0.1 lower than last year.
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In addition, customer satisfaction was reported the least favourable for clarity of prices and surcharges, transit times, and reliability of booking/cargo shipped as booked scoring between 2.8 and 3 (see chart).
As for the carrier service attributes shippers were the most satisfied, these were carrier financial stability, documentation accuracy, and availability of equipment (containers), which received average scores between 3.2 to 3.4.
What is more, every service features were in total awarded mid-range scores. Specifically, only 4% of customers were ‘very dissatisfied’ with carrier services and only 6% were ‘very satisfied’.
Moreover, shippers and forwarders responded that carrier performance has become worse between 2017 and 2018 in four areas:
- The range of different available carriers;
- The range of different available services;
- The price of service;
- The overall carrier service quality.
However, carrier performance regarding sustainability/green and carrier financial stability have enhanced since 2017, according to the survey respondents.
Commenting on the survey, Jordin Espin, ESC Maritime Transport Policy Manager, said that the results strengthen the opinion that more transparency is needed from maritime carriers. Jordin also added that service levels, performance targets, market improvements, and price structuring should be set with a focus on clarity and an open observation analysis.
In the same wavelength, Philip Damas, head of the logistics practice at Drewry, stated that in the short term, carriers must be more transparent in their new BAF matrices and formulae and need to address their customers’ growing needs for predictability and visibility of carrier performance in the long run.
It is very clear that clarity of prices and surcharges has become a key topic for shippers and forwarders – particularly medium-sized ones. Starting from the 2018 emergency fuel surcharges and continuing with the current uncertainty over post-IMO 2020 fuel surcharges we expect the conversation between carriers and shippers to remain ongoing in 2019
Mr. Damas concluded.