Digital tools can save half your time, study finds

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by Emily Atkins

A whopping 93 percent of logistics professionals are spending nearly half of their working day solely dedicated to addressing problems, a new study has found.

The report, The benefits of digitalizing container operations, was based on a survey of more than 1,000 logistics professionals and conducted for Container xChange. It revealed that without digital tools, freight forwarders spend almost half of their working days fixing problems.

This indicates a significant inefficiency in the current system, leading to a waste of valuable time and resources.

Logistics professionals face a multitude of challenges when procuring a container deal, which can cause delays and lead to lost revenue. Among the most common problems are incorrect or incomplete documentation, and miscommunication and misunderstandings in international deals.

Other challenges include payment delays, discrepancies in container quality or quantity, undetected damage, and unexpected events such as weather-related disruptions or port strikes. These issues can cause significant disruptions to container operations and ultimately harm businesses.

Furthermore, 92 percent of logistics professionals are spending an average of three to four hours to source just one new carrier partner when needed. This highlights the challenges faced by freight forwarders to maintain a diverse and reliable network of partners, leading to increased time and effort required for partnership acquisition.

In addition, 53 percent of logistics professionals spend three to four hours within the week discussing terms and conditions with new partners.

The report also shows that 93 percent of logistics professionals spend two to four hours contacting depots for release and drop off references. These manual processes are time-consuming and can lead to inefficiencies in the container shipping industry.

A third of logistics professionals are spending a significant amount of time on manual transactions, with an average of 10 minutes per transaction, highlighting the need for digital adoption for even the simplest operations in the container operations industry.

“Supply chains consist of tangible and intangible flows: on one hand you have physical cargo flows and humans handling documents, and on the other, you have digital flows of data,” said Nikolaus Sievers, director of logistics optimization solutions at

“The business of international freight forwarding is all about the intersection of people, processes and technology.”

Digitization becoming essential

The report shows that those who have digitized or automated similar processes investigated in the report already have a significant advantage.

By automating just these three processes – online marketplace for equipment and partner sourcing; container tracking, release references of live ETAs; and online chat for negotiating terms and conditions – one could save more than eight hours per week or four full working days per month.


For example, most digitized players spend only five to 10 minutes sourcing a partner using an online marketplace, effectively saving 170 minutes over their analog counterparts, per partner.

“Digitization is the inevitable evolution for every industry, and the container logistics industry is no different,” said Christian Roeloffs, CEO of Container xChange.

“In today’s difficult times, companies are struggling with innumerable macroeconomic and geopolitical disruptions. With these manual processes, it can become even more difficult to do business. Our research shows that the move to digital tools can save time, increase efficiency and improve profitability. Logistics professionals need to embrace digital transformation to stay ahead in a competitive market.”

“As the report has shown, time saved from digitizing operations at work is proving to be an asset for freight forwarders. It allows them to focus on higher-level tasks that can drive growth and success for the company, like setting long-term goals and identifying new markets for expansion. Additionally, this free time can foster a more collaborative and innovative culture within the organization, leading to new products, services, and business models.”