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ESC – European Shippers' Council


Shippers Respond to the Survey about Container Lines’ Services  

This article was posted on January 25th, 2017 by under News

Annual Shipper Sentiment Survey, 2016, was carried out by Containerisation International together with Dutch shippers’ organisation EVO. The results of the survey show how shippers evaluate the services they obtain from container lines, what shippers’ concerns are, and what they suggest can be improved.


While ranking service criteria, availability of cargo space and accurate documentation, were marked as the most important to shippers’ businesses.  Carrier financial stability does not get as high. This can be explained by the fact that the study was completed before the collapse of Hanjin Shipping.  However, in the years to come, this factor is expected to rank much higher.


The ongoing concerns of shippers within the container liner industry are still rate instability, market instability and competition:



While suggesting the room for improvement, a quarter of respondents named reliability as the main area where changes are needed the most. Close to reliability were customer service and communication; and documentation and information – which shows that shippers are still not getting the right format for the documentation despite their efforts to digitise services:

Low service reliability and commitment, poor communication and performance are the issues that would make a shipper consider changing the carrier. However, the main motivator to change the carrier for 40 % of respondents would be a lower cost, and this would be more important than considerations over reliability, and communication and customer services.

Source: Annual Shipper Sentiment Survey, 2016

Electronic Consignment Notes on the Border Crossing between Spain and France

This article was posted on by under News

On the 19th of January, Spain and France became the first countries to use electronic consignment notes (e-CMR) on their border crossing. E-CMR is part of a strategy to digitise trade facilitation systems. It improves the quality of the supply chain, provides reduced operational costs and increased efficiency.

With e-CMR, transport operators exchange data in real time and store logistics information electronically. While getting information about the goods in time, any required subsequent actions also happen faster and at a less cost. The potential for human error is minimized and it is possible to adopt multi-language platforms for seamless international application.

“Rules for transporting goods internationally are covered by the United Nations Convention for the carriage of goods, the CMR (Convention relative au contrat de transport international de Marchandises par Route). Transport operators, drivers and those receiving shipments use a CMR consignment note, which contains information about the shipped goods and the transporting and receiving parties. Until recently, CMR notes were only issued in paper form. In February 2008, a protocol was added to the CMR Convention concerning the use of the electronic consignment note. This protocol entered into force on 5 June 2011, and to date eleven countries have acceded to it. Just last month France acceded to e-CMR and other countries that have already joined include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland”.

For more information, please click here.

Supporting Digitalization of Air Transport Documents Remains a Top ESC and Shippers’ Priority

This article was posted on by under News

IATA has maintained its target for the implementation of the electronic air waybill (eAWB). In 2016 the adoption target was missed by some 10% because large parts of the freight forwarding industry are sticking to hard copy paper.

In 2016 the eAWB implementation reached 46 percent, 10 percent off the original target of 56 percent. However, the implementation has been steadily growing between 1,5 – 2 percent each month in 2016. Because of this steady growth in implementation, the level of 62 percent will be maintained.

Full implementation has proved difficult because of the number of parties involved in the processing of an air way bill. Furthermore, there are technological limitations with numerous and often incompatible IT systems in use. Above all, there is still regulation in place which calls for hard copy paper to be produced for evidence of a contract between parties.

There are variations across the different parties and regions on E-AWB implementation. In October, the top performer was the Middle East with 68% implementation. Europe was lagging behind with 34%, Americas 40%, Asia Pacific 45%.

These three regions are lagging behind due to the old legacy systems and older IT infrastructure used by many air cargo operators, while the Middle East has adopted much newer infrastructure and processes.

Highest penetration of E-AWB:

Airport: Hong Kong – 70,6%

Airline: Cathay Pacific – 78%

Freight Forwarder: DHL Global Forwarding – 55,3%

Shippers should keep on pushing their freight forwarders to maximize the utilization of e-AWB even in situations where the shipment has to be split in order to ship part of it under the electronic document processing and the other part under paper processing. Eventually implementation of e-AWB leads to a further digitalization of the supply chain and more transparency in the air freight operations for shippers.

Freight forwarders should be reminded that the Single Process system developed by IATA allows them to send documentation fully electronically and the carrier supplies paper bills on necessary lanes.

For more information, please contact Rogier Spoel at

Industry Alliance for Multimodal Connectivity and Logistics launched

This article was posted on December 21st, 2016 by under News

Industry Alliance for Multimodal (IAM) Connectivity and Logistics for Growth was initiated by the Federation of European Private Port Operators and Terminals (FEPORT) and launched on the 8th of December 2016. The Alliance represent 21 organisations, and ESC is one of the founder members.

Competitiveness, reliability, efficiency, sustainability of supply chain, cargo transport, security, safety, and freight services across the European region are among the areas of mutual interest. The Alliance will provide its industry position on topics where there is consensus to EU decision-makers and relevant EU agencies.

For more information, please see the press release.

FEPORT represents the interests of large variety of terminal operators and stevedoring companies performing operations and carrying out activities over 400 terminals in the seaports of the European Union.

Shippers Present their Wish List to Benelux Union

This article was posted on by under News

December 7, 2016, Belgian Shippers’ Council (OTM) and Dutch Shippers’ Council (EVO FENEDEX) have signed a common Memorandum with the Benelux Union on a tighter cooperation in transport and logistics. “We are aiming at an optimal regional collaboration, with Benelux becoming a research centre for innovation in transport and logistics”, said Jan MOLEMA, the Head of the Market Team of the Benelux Union.

Lennart HEIP (OTM), Jeroen de VETH (EVO FENEDEX) and Nik DELMEIRE (European Shippers’ Council) expressed their wish that Benelux would develop itself as a logistics test area. They stressed the importance of a digital consignment note (eCMR) to be allowed in all Benelux countries, a tighter collaboration between Benelux inspection agencies and customs, and sharing of best practices and knowledge on Intelligent Transport Systems.

Deputy Secretary General of the Benelux Union Lux WILLEMS declared that the Union would love to be at the service of the associations. “More specifically, digitalization of the trade flows will be a top priority for Benelux next year,” he said.

A Dutch version of Memorandum is available here.

AEO – First Eight Years of Implementation

This article was posted on by under News

Between November, 29 and December, 2, 2016 the European Commission organised its first Workshop on the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme in Senec, Slovakia.  The workshop involved 155 participants from the European Commission, World Customs Organization, Member States, non-EU countries having a mutual recognition agreement with the EU on AEO (such as China and the US), and trade.       

The discussions proved that after eight years of the AEO implementation there is still room for improvement. Most companies recognise only limited benefits of the programme. And while considering it as an investment, the return on this investment does not show satisfactory results. Mutual recognition by customs authorities of the AEO authorisation is underdeveloped for a moment. Customs authorities often find it impossible to grant the benefits of mutual recognition because their requirements are not always properly met.

AEO could become more important if the coordination between customs and other agencies was extended. This coordination should include granting of the authorisation, supervision, and benefits. “AEO is still too much transaction-based and should move towards a more system-based approach with real collaboration on supervision,” the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) stated in its keynote speech.  ESC messages were perceived very positively and the European Commission took them aboard for the future policy on AEO.

Rail Freight Days in Vienna: shippers at the centre of rail freight policy

This article was posted on December 9th, 2016 by under EventsNews

On 9 December, the European Commission will organise the third session of its annual Rail Freight Days in Vienna. This conference, which will gather most infrastructure managers and railway undertakings in Europe, will for the first time put shippers’ needs at the centre of the policy debate, as a result of a successful campaign by ESC.

The conference will start with a session on rail freight’s customers’ needs, looking at how rail policy and the international rail freight corridors could help deliver progress towards shippers’ goals. It will also contain a session on how to provide better information to rail freight’s customers, such as an estimated time of arrival in case of delay. Finally, the conference will feature a strategic lunch debate where all companies along the logistics chain will be able to discuss concrete improvements in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness of rail freight. This lunch debate should be the precursor for the strategic annual meeting of all rail freight corridors that ESC has been calling for.

For more information on this conference, please contact Pauline Bastidon –