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Long term partnerships the way forward for shippers

The trend for reefer shippers seems to be long term partnerships with customers. This was general feeling at the recent Cool Logistics conference in Rotterdam. Thomas Eskesen from Maersk, explained that now they are signing contracts for as long as five years with customers, "People are tired of constant negotiating over a few dollars."

These long term agreements have also come into place due the major hike in container rates introduced by Maersk at the beginning of the year, which were a bit to much for customers to swallow in one bite. The bunker rates will however remain changeable.

Eskesen said it was a long term measure and they did not expect it to be popular, but the data showed that something had to be done, "We have lost 10% of our volume in the last nine months, which is a lot, but the revenue from the 9% of the market share which we have left is up. We now have better relationships with our customers."

Philip Damas from Drewry, warned shipper that although the demand for reefer boxes was currently seeing a slowdown in demand, there could soon be a shortage due to lack of investment in renewal of the specialised reefer fleet.

Peter Frederiksen from Hamburg Sud, agreed that longer partnerships are the order of the day, he went on to say that Hamburg Sud will, after two years of placing no new orders for reefer boxes, invest in equipment.

Eskersen said that in order to make more savings in the whole supply chain would have to be looked at also transparency is the way forward, "This will work better with long term relations, growers need flexibility in shippers to cope with changes in the markets."

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