How significant this problem is?
The significance and complexity of the issue is evident from empty container movement statistics in Sri Lanka. Therefore, researcher suggests that there could be an economic relevance in the research problem. Federal Maritime commission has raised its concern Because of the trade and weight imbalance, transpacific carriers need to return substantial numbers of empty containers back to Asia (Federal Maritime Commission, 2012).There is a substantial 83% increase in loading and a 7 % increase in discharging of empty containers in Sri Lanka between 2004 and 2013. There are indirect or non-financial costs are also involved with this issue.
Brito and Konings (2013) in their paper states worldwide about 20% of total container flows at sea are empty and the costs of repositioning are about USD 400 per container. An average of 40% to 50% of loaded containers shipped from far-East to the West Coast of the U.S. were in the end moved back as empty containers. (Di Francesco, 2007). In the year 2002 empty containers accounted for 23% of port handlings worldwide and this percentage has remained fairly consistent for the past 20 years (Ker, 2011). Almost 1 out of 4 containers (25 %) is carrying just plain air today without any profit to the vessel (Akca, 2013). Only 20% of a container’s time is spent at sea, while 56% is unproductive (Boile, Theofanis, & Mittal, 2004). Drewry Shipping Consultants estimates that there were over 82 million port to port moves of empty TEUs worldwide in 2010. According to Mittal (2008), the empty containers that account for about 21% of the volume of global port handling poses a logistical challenge and is underlined by the fact that at any given time about 2.5 million TEU of containers are being stored empty, waiting to be used. Each year about 2 to 2.5 million TEUs worth of containers are manufactured, the great majority of them in China, taking advantage of its containerized export surplus (Rodrigue, 2013). According to Kamelic, et al.(2012) estimated empty container reposi¬tioning costs alone accounted for USD 20 billion on the global level in 2002. Chiang (2013) of Drewry Maritime Advisors reveals that empty container volumes remain stable ranging from 18% to 22% between 1990 and 2011.