OOCL exec puts China logistics in perspective
China may have a significant advantage over the United States in terms of port capacity and marine terminal efficiency, but shippers should be aware it lags well behind North America in terms of inland transportation efficiency and risk, according to Rick Wen, vice president of business development for Hong Kong-based ocean carrier OOCL.
Speaking at the Organization of Women in International Trade annual conference in San Francisco Thursday, Wen said truckers in China have increasingly shifted to using 60-foot-long flatbed trucks — capable of hauling two containers' worth of goods — in order to maximize their per-haul efficiency. The result, however, is a predominance of overweight, over-height, over-length and over-width shipments. It's clear to see, though, why truckers are taking on the additional risk of abandoning tractor-trailers in favor of the flatbeds.
'We talk about how hard the fuel costs are on us here, but to put this in perspective, the average trucker (in China) earns less per month than one tank of gas costs,' Wen said.
Rail is not often an option, either, he added.
'Two-thirds of rail bookings are declined due to lack of capacity,' Wen said. 'The military used to take priority, but now energy and passengers are considered priorities over freight.'