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How to cover the market communication gap in Shortsea?

    This autumn, the Shortsea Promotion Center and Maritim Forum conducted a national goods owner survey, based on the government’s goal of goods transfer from road to sea and rail. The National Transport Plan forecasts growth in cargo volumes up to 2050. 80% of this growth will take place on the road. The increase corresponds to a 100 km long queue of trucks every day and is a powerful reminder of the importance of moving goods from the road to the sea.

    The survey mapped product owners’ search for information, their emphasis in the planning phase, and when decided on a transport supplier. This insight forms the basis for a better understanding of the quality requirements the sea transport providers must satisfy and how the industry must work with communication that meets the goods owner’s needs.

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    We believe the key to successful freight transfer is to establish a better understanding of the perceptions and decision-making process of those who use and order transportation, namely goods owners.”
    Vivian Jonsson, Advisor Maritime Forum

    The answers came from 76 product owners throughout the country, representing eight different industries. We segmented respondents according to their preferred mode of transport. 74% of the respondents were road customers, with the majority of their goods transported by road.

    Knowledge and information

    The majority of the respondents indicate that they primarily base their decisions on known sources of information and information availability. 66% of product owners obtain information from existing and large well-known suppliers—information sources, which do not promote shipping to the same extent. As many as 36% of the product owners have experienced not finding relevant information about their transport needs. The information gap mainly applies to the sea and rail transport modes. In the maritime industry, we have a job to do with arranging information that meets the product owner’s needs.

    Barriers to changing modes of transport from road to the sea

    The study identifies lead time, frequency, flexibility, and punctuality as the most significant barriers to changing transport modes from the road to the sea. Simultaneously, the survey shows that most customers who use the sea product are well satisfied with lead time, flexibility, and punctuality.

    Cargo-owners perceptions of the different transportmodes
    Source: National Cargo-owner survey

    We asked the cargo owners to rank the road, sea, and rail according to 4 categories; General reputation, environment, competitiveness, and information. Here, road transport is perceived favorably in terms of general reputation and information availability. Railway surprisingly takes the throne as the most environmentally friendly mode of transport among the respondents. Environmental analyses indicate CO2-equivalent savings of up to 60% when moving cargo from road to an intermodal value-chain based on sea-transport.

    Based on this survey findings, a closer look at the incentive schemes related to goods transfer, and more specifically, which instruments best stimulate the acquisition of concepts that address lead time and frequency is in order. In the maritime industry, we have a job to make the customer aware of their qualities to the market.
    Jørn Askvik, General Manager Shortsea Promotion Center

    What information do I need to provide to my customers?

    -The conclusion is that we see tendencies that market communication and decisions need to align with the recipient’s demands for information. Here, the survey confirms that the maritime industry has the potential for improvement. We must ask ourselves the question; what information do my customers need answers to make a decision? We already know a lot about the market potential. With this survey, we learn more about what product quality we must deliver to capture this potential, Askvik concludes.

    A full report for the survey will be available in the second half of November.