SOC containers are well-known for their reliability and flexibility within the shipping industry. In this blog, we explore three of the biggest benefits of SOCs as well as how you can avoid demurrage and detention fees effectively. By the end of the piece, you’ll find new and innovative methods to improve your container operations with ease. You’ll also gain insight into our new market report.
The shipping industry has undergone tremendous development over the years. Containers, for example, have become the backbone of the industry. Each day, these containers go through several interactions between the point of loading and the point of destination. And this comes with added complexity and cost.
Ideally, the priority for you as a shipper is to move the goods to the right place at the right time. But we can’t ignore the fact that you also want to keep the cost of shipment as low as possible.
Luckily, you have several options to choose from to transport your goods. A COC container and an SOC container remain to be the most popular choices.
If you’ve been in the industry for a long time and already know the difference between the two, you know that an SOC container can help you in a number of ways with your business. So, why not get your hands on a container right away? Try our public search to find that box of your choice, negotiate deals and get those boxes moving.👇
Otherwise, you can continue to read this blog to get a full overview of SOCs, and understand every nuance of the current market and the various advantages it brings with it. Let’s start by understanding the term.
What is an SOC container?
SOC stands for Shipper Owned Container. As the name suggests, these containers are owned by a shipper in need of moving cargo over long distances. Simply put, a container is considered an “SOC” when the Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO), freight forwarder, or NVOCC organizes their own container. They then hire a carrier and usually several other parties to transport their goods. Instead of using a container liner’s assets, you “bring your own box”. From there, you can book a slot on the vessel with the carrier.
In 2019, Container xChange began an undercover research project involving SOCs and freight forwarders.
In order to conduct this market research, we’ve been going undercover and reaching out to freight forwarders to better understand SOC acceptability and knowledge. Here’s what we found between 2019 and 2021:
In comparison to 2019, there were 18% more freight forwarders who answered, 200% more of them accepted our proposal, and 50% less of them denied it.
90% of individuals who responded said they were knowledgeable about SOC containers, which is a 200% increase from the total.
New this year: Benchmarking the world’s largest carriers
To change things up a bit this year, we decided to go undercover as a freight forwarder and reach out to the carriers themselves.
Our request looked something like this:
The results showed that 42.5% of carriers responded to the faux emails sent out, and from this group:
82% could provide us with both SOC and COC container transfers.
Why? Because 18% either:
- Didn’t deal with SOCs
- Didn’t operate across that stretch
- Didn’t appear to know what a SOC was and just priced us for COC alone, they could only provide us with a COC move.
If you’re curious to know:
- Which of the big names are keen on SOCs
- examples of possible one-way SOC moves; and
- Real comparisons between SOC and COC quotes?
Read the full report now by clicking on the banner below:
What is a COC container?
Essentially a container is considered a COC container when the carrier (container liner or steamship line) owns it and controls the majority of the entire transport chain.
COCs are normally used for standard shipments on stretches with a lot of cargo flow. There’s little to no incentive for using your own container if the carrier has ample boxes available. And if you at the same time pay a fair price for the end-to-end move.
Though slightly pricier than a COC container, SOCs are much more reliable and flexible. The difference between the two is simple to understand, so let’s explore it a little more:
Difference between SOC and COC container
There is one main difference between an SOC container and a COC container. While SOCs are owned and operated by the shipper, a COC container is owned and operated by the carrier. Apart from this, there are subtle but key differences between the two:
|SOC container||COC container|
|Owned and operated by the shipper||Owned and operated by the carrier|
|Used to ship cargo over long distances||Rented out to various consignees|
|No demurrage and detention charges||Demurrage and detention charges apply|
In essence, SOCs grant you a lot more freedom and independence than COCs do, but in some cases, you may not need an SOC, so to avoid spending that little extra, it proves beneficial to know:
When to use SOC container
SOCs are extremely flexible, they’re used when and where the shipper wants. However, this also means you must put the time into finding the right partner for every step along with the transport. The more effort it takes to organize a SOC container, the lower the net cost/time benefit gets. There are many touchpoints, so when it comes to a standard move where the benefit of an SOC over a COC is marginal, it might not make sense to go through this process.
|Pro tip: Source reliable one-way containers and SOCs on our easy-to-use digital platform. Browse through over 10k container types all supplied by trusted partners. Chat to industry experts about ways to simplify the process of managing your fleet and find SOCs while negotiating and one-way container moves. Visit Container xChange.com to find out more, or get a free demo and see for yourself!|
3 main benefits of SOC container
Shipper Owned Containers have many benefits, however, there are three main advantages to using SOC as explained below:
⚡️Control of supply:
You can source containers on your own. That is essential for locations where carriers are unable or unwilling to provide boxes or only offer them at very high rates.
⚡️Control of ownership:
You can choose accurately which containers you need in which condition for which period of time. It includes the choice between whether to buy or simply lease the container depending on the current need.
⚡️Control of cost:
You avoid unexpected demurrage and detention costs as you are not obligated to move and/or return the containers to and from the carrier within a certain time frame. You have to take loading time, customs clearance, drayage, port congestion, etc. into account when planning your shipment. Demurrage and detention charges can quickly escalate to hundreds of dollars per day.
Lease SOC containers one-way to increase reliability and flexibility
According to Container xChange’s latest ‘Mystery Shopping Survey of SOC containers’, 18% of freight forwarders accepted and organized a request for a SOC move. This number has grown by 80% since 2020.
Over the years, freight forwarders are realizing that SOC containers can help you avoid three main challenges:
- SOCs can increase the reliability of equipment supply in inland locations where there’s a scarcity of containers. With SOC, there’s more control over shipping with a preferred choice of carrier with lower trucking costs.
- Save up on freight rate, especially when shipping to special destinations with equipment surplus. This results in discounted freight rates in inland locations by saving on return trucking.
- SOCs are protected against demurrage and detention costs as the user will not be subject to these fees – often “hidden” at the time of booking.
|Did you know? The term ‘demurrage’ originated in vessel chartering and refers to the period during which the charterer retained ownership of the vessel after the regular loading and unloading period.|
Avoid demurrage and detention costs with SOC container on Container xChange
Most exports can be managed perfectly fine using COCs. However, there is a growing number of market participants who turn to SOCs. They can be an attractive alternative to save costs and gain back control over their logistics processes.
Whether in port locations or inland, there are many people that can supply you with shipping containers. Especially container traders, shipping lines, freight forwarders, and leasing companies. They either own containers or work as brokers.
How to source SOC container on our online platform
The process of finding partners for SOC shipments involves a few important steps. Such as background checks, negotiating rates and terms, setting up legal agreements, and adding services. However, this can be a tiresome and time-consuming process. Container xChange makes it easier for you with our neutral online platform.
Log onto Container xChange.com where you can:
- Choose your location and the container you require
- Connect with a supplier, and;
- Negotiate and finalize a deal
For a more visual lowdown on all things SOC and COC, check out our youtube video 📹
Increase flexibility in your freight bookings and avoid Demurrage & Detention charges by leasing SOCs for one-way moves. More than 1500 companies in 2500+ locations, such as Kuehne + Nagel and Seaco Global, utilize our platform for smoother container operations. So why not join them and manage your fleet minus the fuss? Click on the banner below to see how we can elevate your experience altogether today!
SOC container: FAQs
What does SOC stand for?
SOC stands for Shipper Owned Container and is usually owned by the shipper or an individual/business.
What's the difference between SOC and COC
The difference between SOC and COC is that one refers to containers owned by the shipper, and the other refers to containers owned by the carrier (COC)
When to use an SOC container?
If you are shipping cargo long distances or to hinterland locations where delays are common, it's best to use an SOC container.