The merger of the three major Japanese container lines, K-line, MOL and NYK into Ocean Network Express (ONE) has gotten off to a rocky start. Industry experts expected a few hiccups during the startup phase of the merger. However, anyone that has shipped or has attempted to ship with ONE can safely say the issues have gone far beyond a few hiccups.
IHSA has a contract with ONE and experienced some of the problems first hand. The biggest concern was the lack of inside support to resolve issues when something did go wrong. The call centers were not properly staffed to handle the amount of problems that were popping up daily. This only compounded the problem as the backlog of issues continued to grow with each passing day. Shippers were waiting days for responses for simple fixes such as a getting a Bill of Lading corrected.
The good news is that ONE recognized that they had a major problem on their hands. ONE call centers went from 60% staffed to 98% staffed. This has helped ONE provide accurate information on booking and documentation issues. More importantly, it kept shippers from abandoning ONE which would not have been healthy for the industry. There is no good answer as to why ONE thought they could handle this merger with their support team staffed at only 60%. That decision will never make sense to the industry.
IHSA is a strong proponent in making certain that ONE remains a viable shipping option in the containership industry. Consolidation has limited the number of carrier choices from over 20 down to under 10. We need carriers like ONE to survive and remain relevant in the industry.
We believe ONE has turned the corner. IHSA will continue to support ONE wherever possible. It is important that we don’t allow a situation where shippers are left with only a few mega carriers that are free to dictate rates and services levels at their discretion.
The International Housewares Shippers Association (IHSA) is a not-for-profit association formed to benefit companies belonging to the International Housewares Association (IHA). Through the combined leverage of members, IHSA negotiates freight contracts and partners with other logistics providers to lower supply chain costs.
IHSA’s main function is to negotiate the lowest possible transportation rates and provide the highest quality service for all participating members. Additionally, IHSA members receive valuable market intelligence and advice through regular newsletters and briefings.
IHA member companies looking to reduce their ocean freight costs or have questions about an ocean freight issue are encouraged to contact IHSA to learn about the program. Contact IHSA at +1-513-489-4743 and learn more on our website.