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McKinsey has published a thorough article on the shipping and ports industry. While it notes many of the usual contradictions – bigger ships and greater investments by ports, but in a softer market – it has also talked to shippers. Shippers enjoyed $23bn in savings between 2010 and 2015, but they are still not happy. Why? Because the service is poor. Shippers also claim it is the carriers driving down rates, not them and that they’d pay more if the service improved and if transparency was better. The article also looks at Amazon, noting that it believes “supply chains are strategic elements of the value proposition it offers to customers, and therefore feels the need to be the world’s best in that space”. It concludes with some suggestions for the industry: improve the customer experience; commercial excellence; and end-to-end collaboration.

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