Reducing Unnecessary Empty Container Repositioning: The Role of Seaports and Inland Terminals
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Supply chain management (MPSCM), MSc
International trade has steadily been growing for several decades. This creates new challenges for both seaports and inland terminals, as they need to adapt to manage the growing number of goods. Containerization has been a solution to the increasing amount of trade, allowing faster operations at the terminals and facilitating intermodal transport. However, this has also caused a need for unnecessary movements and handling of empty containers, leading to increased costs, congestion, and emissions. This report has investigated how empty container repositioning (ECR) can be reduced from a seaport and inland terminal perspective. The report further identifies drivers and barriers for reducing ECR and how seaport and inland terminals can reduce ECR. The research is focused in a Swedish context, where five Swedish seaports and four inland terminals have been interviewed. The findings have then been compared with existing literature. The empirical findings have shown that the current role for seaports and inland terminals is primarily to facilitate intermodal transport. Further, several drivers and barriers for reducing ECR were identified, where the most highlighted driver was potential to increase volume and the strongest barrier was lack of visibility. Lastly, even though several strategies were found to reduce ECR, it was found that seaport and inland terminals cannot perform these strategies alone. However, they can facilitate and coordinate these strategies in collaboration with other actors, where the interest and involvement is specific to each respective seaport or inland terminal.