Flexport offers LCL shipments at FCL prices with fast delivery
FLEDGLING freight forwarder Flexport is offering a new type of ocean freight consolidation service that intends to better utilise container space
FLEDGLING freight forwarder Flexport is offering a new type of ocean freight consolidation service that intends to better utilise container space. Branded OceanMatch, the service offers shippers that have less-than-container load (LCL) volumes the ability to take advantage of full-container load (FCL) pricing and promptness.
Flexport vice president Ram Siddarth said the company estimates that only 65 per cent of a container's volume is typically used, leaving space for more shipments on the millions of containers that cross the world's oceans, reported FreightWaves.
'From the outset, we saw there was this problem in the market for container utilisation,' Mr Siddarth said. 'The customer was not using container fully. So, we thought there was a better way we can do this.'
'Most customers have been measuring in the number of containers for years,' he added. 'Instead we looked at what's inside the boxes.'
OceanMatch is similar to traditional consolidation service in that Flexport aggregates less-than-container load volumes at its warehouses until there is enough to fill an entire container. Each shipment is charged based on the volume and weight of the freight.
However, Mr Siddarth notes that traditional freight consolidation bears the risk of extra time and warehousing expenses due to bundling cargo from up to 10 different shippers in one box. Going through traditional consolidation service means four- or five-day lead times as forwarders aggregate cargo, plus the delays at the destination as the cargo is sorted and transported.
OceanMatch limits containers to three shipments of similar cargo with the same origin-destination pairs, thus reducing handling time and costs.
'You are not dealing with the extra handling fees and the sorting and desegregating of cargo,' Mr Siddarth said.
Mr Siddarth said OceanMatch, which has been offered since the fourth quarter, has been able to consolidate 200 shipments for 50 customers. Depending on the final destination, he adds that customers using OceanMatch save between 10 per cent and 35 per cent over partially filling a full container.