Shipping Containers’ New Digital Trading Future, with BOXXPORT
There are always multiple variable costs in any shipping business, and some of these, unfortunately, are well out of the individual company’s control. When the global price of diesel rises, for example, the costs are passed along the supply chain, hitting manufacturers, shippers, wholesalers and distributors before ending up as higher factory-gate prices and, ultimately, higher prices for consumers.
It’s important, therefore, to have a close grip on all costs that companies do have control over so that operations staff know they are getting maximum efficiencies from their processes at every stage. Shipping companies have worked for decades on driving more efficient working processes, connecting different global supply chains, and setting up partnerships that benefit all sides of inter-company agreements.
Part of these efficiencies has always been the trading of containers between companies to ensure maximum use of every palette and consignment. And like in every closed marketplace, prices should be set by fairly simple economic rules, like supply & demand and economies of scale. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
As companies grow over time, each develops their network of contacts from competing and partner organisations derived from meetings, trade shows, expos and previous working relationships. When demand for containers outstrips supply (or vice versa), companies turn to emails, phone calls, spreadsheets, and (at best) parts of the company’s CRM platform dedicated to the task. These personal networks are leveraged when shippers need to trade in containers.
The digital network
As you might expect on the pages of a technology website such as this, most networks on this site comprise the digital variety rather than what is best described as a loose conglomeration of personal contacts.
But the two network definitions have come together in a (relatively) new digital platform on which shipping professionals can trade container surpluses, buy containers, and now get a guaranteed buyback after a specified period. The BOXXPORT platform is the industry’s first digital platform dedicated entirely to making the trade in containers open and transparent: think of an eBay for containers, and you are getting close.
While personal networks of trade contacts may have been hard won and have “done the job” for years in many cases, buying and selling containers is slow and far from transparent. It’s a means of exchange that relies on guesstimates of prices, phone calls (often across time zones), emails and faxes and doesn’t produce predictable costs or any real idea of the market value of, for instance, a surplus of containers at a specific location. That slowness to trade and unpredictable financial outcomes are at odds with how the rest of the world lives and trades. Thankfully, the days of guesswork and hoping for the best price are likely to be numbered.
The BOXXPORT platform gives shipping professionals access to a fully global marketplace that shows, immediately, current prices anywhere in the world, supply availability and market demand for containers. That empowers companies with the knowledge they need to plan shipping schedules and routes months in advance with known up-front costs. The BOXXPORT marketplace makes trading a simple matter of just a few clicks, with no hidden costs, and paperwork available for download in seconds. The BOXXPORT marketplace is backed by 24/7 support and can be used for buying or selling a single container or many thousands with one click of a mouse.
Your investment’s guaranteed return
The platform’s latest feature is Buyback – with which companies get assured re-purchase of the containers they’ve just bought through the platform after a specified time and at a specified rate. Instead of unpredictable prices and the danger of being left with unusable capacity and assets that are doing nothing but depreciate, shipping companies can plan finances and see operating costs accurately for months into the future. It’s a story we’ve reported on before here at Tech HQ: a technology platform that is designed to make business more efficient, operate with lower costs and ensure that companies can trade more effectively, openly, transparently and safely.
In the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper into several features on offer from the BOXXPORT platform, capabilities that bring the container marketplace into the 21st century and the digital age. Containers’ progress around the world from port to depot to factory to quayside might be slow, but the global marketplace in container capacity for shippers can move at digital speeds.
Learn more about the all-digital solutions available to shipping, supply chain and logistics professionals like yourself at the BOXXPORT website. The new Buyback option is described on this page, and you can get started right away with the BOXXPORT trading platform right here or schedule a personal demo. Additionally, check back on these pages in a few weeks for a closer look at some of the other valuable additions the BOXXPORT platform can bring.