Hapag-Lloyd discontinues ag container shipments

A major shipping company that moves intermodal containers worldwide has stopped accepting North American agricultural shipments.

Bob Sinner with the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance tells Brownfield the recent decision by shipper Hapag-Lloyd will hit producers and exporters of soybeans and specialty grains from the Minneapolis-St. Paul region especially hard.

Sinner tells Brownfield ag products ship at a lower rate and take longer to unload, tying up the container for up to three weeks after delivery.  He says the major container shipper needs to turn around empty containers quicker to meet demand for products going from Asia to North America and Europe. “That’s their big revenue, right? So, they look at this and say, okay, it’s faster for us to ship empties back to Asia than it is to fill them.”

Sinner says Hapag-Lloyd can solve the problem while continuing to serve agricultural product exporters. “Raise the rates. Eliminate the free time overseas. Don’t walk away from the exporters because our customers are the ones that are going to suffer.”

Sinner says this issue is serious enough to warrant Congressional and U.S. regulatory attention but says with the election less than two weeks away, it is not likely to get the attention it needs fast enough.

To put this in perspective, SSGA says data from Panjiva shows Hapag-Lloyd delivered 878 shipments of U.S. soybeans involving more than 17-thousand containers worldwide from last October 22nd through September 25th of this year.

Brownfield’s interview with Bob Sinner 10-23-2020

  • Hapag lloyd AG is not what it used to be. New management is cutting 120 jobs and is forcing workers to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. Workers are now more stressed due to the lack of poor management decisions, so this doesn’t surprise me one bit on how they are not figuring out on how to handle this issue.

  • Hapag is NOT a SHIPPER!!!! Has always been a CARRIER!!!!

    • This article is from ag media not transportation professionals. Other industries often take liberties, aren’t consistent or don’t differentiate on another sector’s nomenclature. I’ve heard transportation people still refer to tractors, when ag row crop producers, farmers, make distinctions between planters, sprayers and combines. Shippers send out freight, using carriers, to receivers of goods, that are known formally as consignees. The terms of sale determine whether the shipper or the consignee is actually the beneficial cargo owner (BCO).

  • Hapag Lloyd AG Customer Service Booking is horrible!! Management is the biggest problem. Instead of cutting 120 employees, they should have started with cleaning house with management. There are managers within the department that don’t know what day of the week it is and put most if not all the responsibility on the Senior Coordinators. Another issue with management is, how many “meetings” do you need? They stay in meetings all day long, discussing what? The company is still running in the most inefficient way possible. There are so many hands in the pot that it takes the longest time to get the simplest things done. This article does not surprise me one bit, I always understand when customers are mad with Hapag Lloyd. This company fails to be 100% honest with customers about things and it shows. I do not understand how we are the Quality Service Center, when we can not provide good customer service, due to lack of POOR MANAGEMENT!

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