Directional Imbalances in Supply Chain

Topics: Containerization, Cargo, Transport Pages: 2 (465 words) Published: June 5, 2011
Imbalance is a concept that suggests a lack of stability, and in relation to supply chain it is one type of instability that if occurs would have substantial costs on organizations. It is a mismatch that happens along the same corridor causing large numbers of empty containers to be shipped back to the source. That means “large surplus of containers at one side and a deficit of containers on another.”1 Studies show that “the situation is the worst in the corridor between Asia and USA, there is almost three times more maritime freight going from Asia to USA that the other way around.” 1 This phenomenon has several outcomes, from forgone revenue to the change of prices to the competition between modes of transport. On the other hand there are several factors that affect it. Seasonal variations for instance, that comes about due to the lack of demand for certain seasonal goods. Let’s take oil transport as an example; the oil tankers are specifically made for the transport of oil. These containers cannot be refilled with any other type of good. The shipping industry regarding containerized goods has to deal with several types of cargo which makes it easier to deal with imbalances by creating solutions and routes to outcome this imbalance. It is a different thing with oil shipping as it is imported from oil rich countries to industrial countries who consume oil. That means that the oil containers goes one way full and comes back empty. Shipment companies have to cope with these imbalances by looking at the situation as a whole. The solution comes from the fact that they deal with several ports and more than one industry of goods. Adjusting prices is one strategy, making exports from a surplus port less costly than imports to the same port and vice versa. Another is creating collapsible shipping container. This ingenious idea developed by a Dutch shipping container manufacturer, Cargoshell. It is an “energy-saving solution to empty shipping container.” 2 Its benefits...
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