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Empty box handling woes stack up

Charges for storage of empty containers at ports are “absolutely too low”, but a bigger problem is the lack of focus on comprehensive strategies for empty handling, according to a port executive.

Speaking exclusively to Port Strategy, Steveco’s Tapio Mattila said that neither approach was advisable and that strategies for handling and storage of empties need support from landlords and port authorities.

Sales and marketing senior vice president at the Swedish stevedore, Mr Mattila recommended against arbitrarily raising empty container storage rates to disincentivise shipping lines from long-term storage as “ports would then run the risk of not enough empties being available, or even prompting exporters to potentially change routing”.

Instead, he advised working with shipping lines to try and resolve the problem.

While empty container storage can be a revenue generator for terminals, good service levels are more important than storage revenues for the long term sustainability of a port’s business, added Aart Hille Ris Lambers, DP World’s UK commercial director.

“Too many empties in our terminal is not good as it affects the operations of our yard and thereby our landside and ship side service levels,” he said.
Source: Port Strategy

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