Most freight bill auditing companies would tell you that things were going well for their customers until the summer's end in 2008. That's when the credit crisis and worldwide recession hit, causing the commodity and freight markets to collapse. Shipping line operators suffered due to decreased trade, shipyards were inundated with order cancellations, banks tightened loan procedures, and shipping companies' stocks took a nosedive. Shipping rate comparison tools have become all the more relevant in shipper’s ongoing efforts to cut costs.
Today's shipping industry faces the harsh new economic reality of downsized demand and production. The resulting upheaval has affected trade credits, shipbuilding deliveries, charters, orders, as well as sales-and-purchases on a global scale. You don't have to look at a freight bill auditing report to realize that shipping company bankruptcies, insolvencies, liquidations and debt restructurings are on the rise. Using a shipping rate comparison tool to compare shipping costs is now almost a necessity.
The overseas shipping industry is also beset with on-going piracy threats, labor supply problems, market instability, protectionism, and tighter freight bill auditing procedures. Many companies are suffering from steep declines in consumption in the West and reduced production in the East—what with Japan's current crises. Shipping a container from Asia to Europe currently pulls in $300 less than break-even. In contrast, companies were getting over $1,500 per container just a few years ago. If you're a shipper, using a shipping rate comparison tool makes sense amidst this chaos.
Finally, major carriers like FedEx and UPS are feeling the pinch of higher fuel prices. If they pass these on to shippers, they lose market share to discounters. If they eat the cost, it hurts their bottom line. Their solution: complex rate formulas. All the more reason for shippers using these carriers to turn to shipping rate comparison tools.