Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Port Specialist Survey Confirms Shipping Lines Put The Squeeze On

Negotiations Tougher for Customers and Suppliers After a Bad Year
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE - Trelleborg Marine Systems, the international company dedicated to providing specialised berthing and mooring solutions for the port, inshore and marine industries globally, recently surveyed almost 200 industry port owners, consultants and contractors on the subject of supply chain negotiations in the industry. The results confirm that both port owners and shipping companies are flexing their muscles when negotiating contracts with suppliers and clients in the wake of recent losses.

A third of all respondents to Trelleborg’s survey claim that ports hold the most power in project negotiations. This figure rises to 60% among contractors however more than half (55%) of operators and a third (34%) of consultants believe shipping companies exert a similar influence over the client-supplier relationship. Richard Hepworth, Managing Director of Trelleborg Marine Systems, commented:

“Clearly every party has its own paymaster and point of view on the procurement process, but we find that where negotiations proceed on a level playing field a more cost effective and complete solution is achieved.

“There is a widely held argument that client-supplier negotiations have become more adversarial during the economic downturn and this is counter-productive for all parties. It results in low cost, inferior solutions which, in the port industry, are the cause of excessive downtime, maintenance and ultimately the loss of business or reputation.

“One solution is to tackle the industry standards to ensure that suppliers raise the bar and clients, in turn, demand the highest quality mission critical equipment, such as fenders, berthing and mooring equipment.”

Eric Van den Eede, President of PIANC, a world wide forum for the waterborne transport industry since 1885, commented:

“It’s important that we draw on the collective expertise of the market, listen to their feedback and bring forward new guidelines which will raise standards across the supply chain. It’s the standards that should dictate price, not the other way around.”

Trelleborg’s Barometer Report, which details a wide range of findings from the survey, is available now as a free download HERE.