It’s no secret that global supply chains have been strained for months. Stories regarding minimal vessel space, a lack of equipment, port congestion, and high freight shipping costs abound. In fact, shipper’s have heard the same narrative for almost a year. The myriad of problems resembles a painful and never-ending drumbeat for shippers and their customers who face low inventories and a lack of product.
Shipper’s are constantly asking what can be done to circumvent the bottlenecks and make some sort of headway within a difficult environment. Well, there is no “silver bullet” while comprehensive solutions remain evasive. Here are a few basic steps that savvy shipper’s are taking to alleviate some of their supply-chain nightmares. There are also misinformed steps that shipper’s are taking that do not work.
- Obtaining international shipping rates using a digital provider. Common sense dictates that real-time rate information is more valuable than waiting days for ocean freight rates or air freight rates. Forwarders that rely on back-and-forth email to provide rates are akin to sending smoke signals with a wet-blanket and fire.
- Using a digital provider to covert instant freight quotes into immediate bookings. Again, what is gained by waiting around for slow information exchange within the current environment?
- Diverting ocean freight to less-congested ports. Well informed shipper’s are taking advantage of these (limited) opportunities when they arise. An in-tune forwarder will keep their customers abreast of these small windows when they are open.
- Shifting freight from ocean freight shipping to air freight transportation. This is not a groundbreaking concept. In fact, this strategy has been occurring for most of the year. Shipper’s that are willing to pay the cost of air freight are actually getting their product to market.
- Contacting freight forwarder after freight forwarder for ocean freight rates. There are plenty of providers who will tell a shipper what they want to hear regarding rates and space. Unfortunately, the most candid provider is the one doing shippers the biggest favor.
- Booking the same freight across multiple freight forwarders. This is considered a rather objectionable tactic that causes unpleasant consternation and long-term animosity. Ocean freight companies are working tirelessly to secure space and deliver upon existing bookings.
- Partnering with a digital logistics provider and utilizing all functionality available. This is the most effective way to reduce supply chain pain.
Overall, ExFreight stands by the position, with tangible customer results, that they key to a functioning supply-chain is the sound sharing of information. This includes more than instant rates and booking. Real-time, map-based tracking and full service dashboard services are all bonuses that shipper’s should utilize.