As a result of Globalization the whole shipping industry is facing the issue of Container imbalance. Many products are exported from Asia to Western regions such as Europe and the United States. However, exports from Western countries to Asia are only a fraction of world trade.
Empty containers are needed in those locations to fulfill the export needs of the customers of the shipping companies.
This imbalance in export volumes leads to an imbalance of empty containers available in the locations. Asian countries can not fulfill customer needs to the lack of containers, western countries have high costs of storing and not utilizing all containers.
Balancing containers was a very manual process for the client. Each Geotrack (= port) is defined as being overbalanced (surplus of empty containers), underbalanced (shortage of empty containers), or balanced. This is based on historical figures.
Analyzing the need to move containers between locations and the operations of moving containers is done in different ways. Some existing data sources are used, excel files are created, emails are written, etc… Depending on the location of the shortage/surplus, those actions are done on a country, region, or global level.
What we did:
- Defined MVP through user research, business, and technical validation
- Defined a roadmap to deliver the product
- Focus on gathering data sources and adding intelligence to the forecasting