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Over the years, containerization has helped narrow the distance among economies in terms of trading. It has allowed exporting countries such as Japan, China and others to bring their products like electronics and furniture to large economies like the United States and European nations safely and in large quantities (CBP, 2002). As a matter of fact, it has allowed these suppliers to sell even their perishable products like vegetables, fish and many more using refrigerated containers. On the flip side, containerization has benefited receiving nations since it has not only enabled the buying nation access to these products but more importantly, it has dramatically lowered down the cost per unit (Levinson, 2006, p. 2). In the foregoing discussion, we will be dealing with the various operational obstacles faced by the container industry in the hope of providing a better appreciation on how to solve these problems. In summary, there are four issues that form the core of these container operation challenges, namely 1) Empty Containers; 2) Maintaining Schedule; 3) Ship Underutilization and; 4) Trade Imbalances. This essay addresses these issues using a simple cause and effect method for each, which are shown in the succeeding sections:

Problem 1: Empty Containers

Short Term - An immediate solution to the trade imbalance is addressing the immediate effect, which in this case, is the increased inventory of unused containers. Since this trade imbalance causes high inventory of idle container units, finding ways of putting to use these container units like recycling or converted to housing or work spaces, as previously mentioned, is highly recommended and is in fact, one of the points of discussion in most related literatures (Angelo, 2009).

Long Term - A more concrete solution is targeting the cause which is the influx of low cost goods from Asian countries. While regulating their entry to the US has far reaching negative effects, modifying trade agreements to include activities that will enable the US to bridge this gap is a more likely option. Such activities may include requiring supplying countries to buy back the containers that were already converted to low cost housings and work spaces (Angelo, 2009). To make this viable however, the cost per unit should compose only of the development and shipping cost. Profit would come from reduced carrying cost of these idle container units.

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