Between shippers and carriers
Almost 90% of the goods traded in the world are transported by sea. Since the standardisation of container sizes in the late 1960s, the steel box has revolutionised the transportation of cargo. As a result it has also become easier for shippers of smaller consignments to take advantage of the services of large scheduled shipping lines, by using a non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC).
Saco Shipping specialises in the shipping of less than container loads (LCL), or so-called groupage containers. The Hamburg-based company has been organising the transportation of groupage shipments around the world for 25 years.
After its inception in the 1980s, founders Andrea Briks and Harald Pahl have proceeded to turn Saco, which stands for Sammelcontainer, the German word for groupage container, into an international company. At the time of its founding, the NVOCC industry was still in its infancy. As a result of containerisation, things are now quite different. After initially specialising in export shipments, Saco’s services now also include imports.
A shipping line without any ships of its own
The major shipping lines are happy to leave dealing with groupage containers to others, as the documentation of individual cargo components ultimately involves a great deal of time and effort. The role of a NVOCC is therefore not entirely easy. Saco basically acts as a shipping line without any ships of its own. Its customers are exclusively freight forwarders. In order to provide them with good services, and to successfully assume an intermediary role between carrier and shipper, Saco consolidates the extensive range of services of various container shipping lines.
In particular, this means that the company utilises and amalgamates the different timetables and associated destination ports in such a way as to create its own groupage cargo transport product. It is therefore particularly important to design the service in such a way that small consignments are also provided with good options. The comprehensive package includes organising the pre-carriage of consignments at ports of dispatch, storage, packing them into containers, the actual sea transport and finally delivering the cargo. The company focuses on services to regions of the Far East, India, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, South America and South Africa.
Just before Easter, Saco Shipping had reason to celebrate in Hamburg, as its silver jubilee came around. The company employs around 280 people at its head office in Hamburg, branch office in Bremen and at other offices in Germany and at various locations in Western and Central Europe. According to its managing directors the recipe for its successful, long-term survival in the market is a solid and trusting relationship with its customers as well as comprehensive quality management.