Electrolux Logistics Chief Slams Carriers’ Handling of Hanjin

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Photo by: Jon Benjamin Photography

-Article by Linton Nightingale

Vang Jensen: Pulled no punches as he laid into the lack of guidance provided by carriers post-Hanjin.

Bjorn Vang Jensen bemoans lack of information following the crisis, as once again shippers were left in the dark. Information provided by carriers to shippers during the Hanjin fallout was nothing short of “atrocious”, according to the vice-president of global logistics at Electrolux, the world’s second-largest appliance manufacturer.

Addressing the audience at this year’s Cargo Logistics Canada conference, Bjorn Vang Jensen pulled no punches as he laid into the lack of guidance given to customers, not just by Hanjin, but more importantly the other members of the CKYHE alliance.

However, Mr Vang Jensen said this was perhaps to be expected, given how they had failed to provide shippers with sufficient information on the whereabouts or status of their cargo during isolated incidents in the past.

Whether this was information during the lead-up to last year’s implementation of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention amendment on verified gross mass, at the height of the US west coast port congestion, or following vessel collisions, carrier communication had left a lot to be desired, he stressed.

Having dealt with all of the major liner operators over the years, he said that Electrolux had found the issue was not restricted to a few, but could be seen industry-wide.

“During the Solas implementation, we had to figure it all out on our own. I did not see much help from that side of the business at all,” said Mr Vang Jensen.

“But Hanijn was even worse — you all had CKYHE lines which were impacted in some major way and the information from the carriers was atrocious,” he said.

“And so was the information from the freight forwarder community because they rely on the carriers to provide them with that information.”

Mr Vang Jensen added that there was not a supply chain manager that was not impacted by the Hanjin crisis, as even though they may not have dealt with the South Korean line directly, if they were a customer of K Line or Evergreen, for example, the chances were that they had cargo on a Hanjin ship somewhere.

In the case of Electrolux, he said that it decided four years ago to take matters into its own hands by introducing its own track and trace technology to monitor shipments, rather than wait for carriers to offer the transparency during ocean transit that Electrolux required.

He explained that Electrolux now had the technology to determine exactly what products are in which container, which proved crucial during the Hanjin fallout for example.

While he commended the carriers’ digital drive, which has come to the fore in recent months, he said that there was still work to be done to ensure shippers were kept up to date in the event of unforeseen crises.

Mr Van Jensen said that although it had been an expensive exercise for Electrolux to roll out its own digital platform, the questions surrounding the status of its cargo had finally ceased.

“Between the fires, groundings — whatever the risks are, they are unavoidable but they are not unmanageable,” he said.

Full article: Lloyd’s List, February 13, 2017

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