Improved transport efficiency through reduced empty positioning of containers - Transport buyers' perspective

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2021
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Tegbrant, August
Karlander, Axel
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Empty container repositioning (ECR) is mainly a result of the global trade imbalance but there are several regional issues where there is a potential for improvements. This master thesis aims to investigate how transport buyers can reduce ESR by identifying actions, drivers and barriers in Sweden. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on container management have been discussed. Three actor groups were taken into consideration in this study: importers, exporters and freight forwarders. The study was performed by conducting interviews with nine transport buyers. The collected data and the literature study were used as a basis for the analysis and discussion. Four drivers, four actions, and seven barriers were identified. Also, three impacts of how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted ECR has been identified. Among the actions, street-turns was the most used action among the interviewed companies and is seen as one of the best methods to reduce ECR for transport buyers according to research. The barriers, such as container ownership mismatch, location mismatch and trade imbalance, are difficult to eliminate but it was concluded in this study that collaboration and transparent information among transport buyers are key factors that may reduce the impact of the barriers. This study has shown that some transport buyers are working to reduce ECR whereas others are not involved in reducing ECR. Furthermore, freight forwarders have also proven to play an important role in reducing ECR among the transport buyers mainly because of their knowledge within container transport management but also as they have large client bases. Even though transport buyers are taking actions to reduce ECR, there is still room for improvement.
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