WELCOME To OUR NEW blog!
Welcome to our very first blog. Yes we’ve moved into the modern world and will be using this platform to keep importers and exporters abreast of current news and information.
This comes at a time when global shipping is experiencing challenges like never before. Now more than ever, importers and exporters should be maintaining a very close working relationship with their international freight agents.
The challenges of this past 12 months include –
- The ongoing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Congestion in many of the world’s ports, which in turn effects vessel schedules and rotations
- Schedules being altered by shipping lines mid-voyage
- A severe imbalance / shortage of empty container equipment in various ports around the world
- Bookings being rolled by shipping lines at the last minute, and without warning
- A lack of space and equipment availability, resulting in next available space sometimes being 6-8 weeks later
- Containers getting stuck / delayed in transhipment ports
- Shipping prices at an all time high (as much as 200-300% higher in the Australian trades, and 200-400% higher in the US and European trades)
Throw in challenges such as the Industrial Action we saw take place in the Port of Sydney last year, and more recently the blockage of the Suez Canal, and there’s no doubt it’s a challenging time to be an importer or exporter.
Despite all of these unprecedented challenges, demand remains strong.
There’s little doubt trades will normalise eventually. Right now though, all intel suggests these challenges and trends will not be going away anytime soon.
Getting back to our original comments, “Now more than ever, importers and exporters should be maintaining a very close working relationship with their international freight agents”.
Importers and exporters should be thinking well ahead in your planning your international ordering, whether you’re the buyer or manufacturer / supplier.
Don’t assume (like you once could) that space and container equipment will be available for next weeks sailing.
If you have an urgent order as example to be ready 8 weeks from now – you may in fact find that by speaking with your freight agent now, this may be the next available vessel/voyage they can book for you in any case. Leave that conversation for 4-5 more weeks, and you’re now finding yourself in a perilous position. Far worse than it may have otherwise been.
Talk with your customers.
Make sure they’re aware of the global challenges and reasons for the delays. We still find importers and exporters who are not fully aware of the gravity of the situation as it may be in the trade they utilise. There would be nothing worse than losing a customer because of their perception being you are the reason for the delay.
Your suppliers are also likely to be experiencing the same challenges that you are. This may impact your own manufacturing processes and delay output if raw materials or components are not received in time. You should be keeping an open dialogue with suppliers and not just assuming continuity of supply.
Please feel free to get in contact with us if you wish to discuss your specific problems, challenges or opportunities!