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How to Best Prepare for Current (and upcoming) Supply Chain Disruptions

supply chain

How to Best Prepare for Current (and upcoming) Supply Chain Disruptions

Weekly meal planning is a recurring event in our household. Although this activity is not particularly exciting, every Saturday my wife and I sit down to plan out our family meals. This process helps us avoid the mid-week supermarket scramble, as well as sidestep overspending on items we don’t actually need. Sound familiar? Supply chain planning is no different when it comes to yielding efficient results, especially this year.

It’s no secret the way companies ship their freight has shifted due to COVID-19. C.H. Robinson is great at helping customers secure capacity and optimize their global freight across our suite of service offerings as their needs evolve. Due to COVID-19 market changes, our global team of supply chain experts has spent extra time securing expedited less than container load (LCL) capacity for companies that can work with extra lead time. Another big change is how many ghost or charter flights are used to make up for lost capacity from the mass decline in global passenger travel.

However, COVID-19 is not the only event putting pressure on the freight market now. And with passenger travel not expected to recover until 2024, proactive solutions are needed to avoid current and upcoming disruptions.

Prepping for peak shipping season and new tech launches

When it comes to maximizing your global freight, it’s important to take seasonality into consideration. Peak shipping season for global air freight historically begins in October, and we’re already anticipating a busy peak season due to the unbalanced relationship between supply and demand. Even if air freight volumes were consistent or less than previous years, there is a lot less capacity to work with. Additionally, ocean shipping is experiencing a busy peak season now as companies prepare for the holiday shopping surge.

Consumers are also eagerly awaiting new technology releases—including the iPhone 12, Sony PS5, Xbox, and more. High priced commodities, like consumer electronics, primarily ship via air. And while consumer tech launches are not uncommon during the holiday season, the lack of passenger planes aren’t helping the situation this year. This, combined with the volume surge in other commodities related to peak shipping season and continued demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) creates a tighter market.

What can global shippers do to combat tight capacity?

The key is to remain flexible and remember it’s never too late to start planning. Although some items, such as technology, tend to move by air, global shippers can consider shifting other commodities to expedited LCL or expedited full container load (FCL) service to mitigate disruption and stay agile in a tight global freight market.

However, for those shippers that truly depend on air capacity, shifting modes isn’t always an option. So, while ghost flights were a reactive solution for many this past spring, C.H. Robinson took our own planning advice and proactively chartered weekly 747 cargo flights from China to the U.S. from October to November, as well as Europe to the U.S. until the end of the year. Capacity on a 747 cargo aircraft can hold up to five times more freight than an average ghost flight. And our global network of experts knew proactively purchasing that space was necessary as global shippers face peak season, PPE from Asia, and a recovering economy out of Europe. We’re already seeing this approach drive solutions for our customers.

Looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon. Once one or more is available for global circulation, it will likely create a significant ripple effect throughout supply chains. Even if your company is not directly connected to distributing or manufacturing a vaccine, the time to start planning alternative modes or routes is now.

Like technology, vaccines primarily ship via air to monitor the temperature and deliver them to market quickly. According to IATA, 8,000 747 flights would be needed to distribute a single dose of the vaccine to 7.8 billion people around the world. Although a vaccine with this large of a global magnitude is new, we can get a sense of the supply chain reaction by looking back at the height of global demand for PPE. Throughout the spring we saw airlines, 3PLs, carriers, companies, and government agencies go above and beyond, working extra hours and expediting products in order to create and deliver PPE around the globe quickly. It’s likely we’ll see the same comradery with the vaccine—pulling manpower and capacity away from other shipping needs.

Although we know air freight will play a vital role in distributing vaccines, last -mile is also an important area companies and logistic professionals are planning for. Last-mile planning will be especially important in countries where road or manufacturing infrastructure may be underdeveloped. However, keep in mind whether your company is involved in vaccine distribution or not, it’s still likely your supply chain will be impacted by higher transportation rates or additional capacity constraints across modes.

Final thoughts

As the pandemic spread across the globe, we saw air cargo rates rise to unprecedented levels. Airlines and cargo operators continue to adapt quickly to this dynamic market. Now it’s time for companies to evolve, too. Never before has a balance between proactive planning and flexibility been so important.

Planning ahead and using forecast data can be the difference needed to turn a dysfunctional supply chain into a strong, agile one that is ready to face this volatile market. We know logistics can’t exist in a world of absolutes. This makes it difficult to prepare for today’s (and tomorrow’s) disruptions—or even to know where to begin. That’s where C.H. Robinson comes in. Utilizing our information advantage, you can rely on our people to bring you smarter solutions across your global supply chain. Reach out to one of our experts today to start the conversation.

cross-border

Supporting Global Supply Chain Strategy with Cross-Border Shipping

COVID-19 has shed light on the importance of shippers being prepared to work through unforeseen market conditions. This is especially true for cross-border shippers, whose businesses are reliant on multiple countries’ markets. To better prepare for these variations, businesses that rely on cross-border shipping should consider optimizing their supply chain strategies now by dedicating time to understand the cross-border options available to them. There are two primary choices: through-trailer and transloading.

What’s the difference?

Through-trailer shipping is the process of moving shipments in the origin trailer through border crossings. Whether exporting or importing, through-trailer shipments are handled on one side of the border with a carrier from the same country who has an interchange agreement. A different carrier from the other country handles the second part of the shipment.

To illustrate, a Mexico carrier with a trailer interchange agreement with a U.S. carrier picks up the freight. It’s taken to a secure yard where a border drayage driver transports the trailer across the border to the U.S. carrier’s yard for final delivery.

The shipment remains in the same trailer throughout the transport process, leading some shippers to believe the shipment seal is not broken. This is not necessarily true. U.S. and Mexico customs officials often break seals during border crossing inspections to verify product details.

Transloading is another option and is often considered more efficient. Transloading is the process of transferring shipments from one trailer to another at the border crossing. For example, a Mexico carrier picks up the freight and moves it to a secure yard at the border. A border drayage carrier moves the trailer across the border to a transloading facility. The facility then transfers the product to a U.S. carrier for final delivery.

The Benefits of Transloading

While both options have their pros and cons, transloading can offer some unique benefits that fall into three categories:

Additional Carrier Capacity: Transloading offers shippers additional carrier capacity because it enables them to access the full capacity of two independent carrier bases. Any U.S. carrier can pair with any Mexico carrier on a shipment, increasing available carrier options and granting additional flexibility. Through-trailer service only allows shippers to use carriers with an interchange agreement in place with a counterpart carrier on the other side of the border, limiting the capacity pool. With lessened demand not filling up truckloads, the ability to leverage the additional carrier capacity to identify which carriers’ trucks best match truckloads keeps products moving to meet consumer demand.

Lower Shipping Costs: Transloading grants access to additional capacity on both sides of the border, which means more, and potentially more efficient, carrier options. With transloading, shippers and logistics providers can identify carriers whose networks most closely align with theirs, resulting in more cost-effective rates. During a time when all departments are urged to cut costs where possible, the method with lower shipping costs benefits everyone involved.

Fewer Border Delays: The broad variety of carriers available to shippers makes it easier to source carriers on both sides of the border that best match the ideal pick-up and delivery time frames. Through-trailer shipments are dependent upon the limited capacity of the two carriers tied to an interchange agreement. In turn, this can lead to delays at borders and in overall shipments. Such delays are becoming more widespread because of the imbalance between northbound and southbound freight.

The Types of Freight to be Transloaded

Any specialized transloading facility located near a major border should have the ability to handle a variety of freight, although some types work better than others. Freight loaded on slip sheets or pallets typically fare best with transloading, especially consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and raw materials. Transloading is also prevalent when shipping to warehouses with strict labeling and palletization requirements. Conversely, freight is better off using through-trailer shipping when it requires specialized loading, contains over-dimensional products, or includes flatbed shipments.

The needs of each shipper with a global supply chain strategy differ and come with unique challenges and requirements. It’s critical for each shipper to know their cross-border options and determine which will work best for their business. By being knowledgeable and prepared, shippers can more easily select which process to implement based on what is most important to their company at the time, whether that be price, shipping time, or carrier capacity.

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Kyle Toombs is the VP and Head of Mexico and Canada at Coyote Logistics

3PLs

10 3PLS KILLING IT WITH DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS

The third-party logistics (3PL) industry did more than $200 billion in revenue in the U.S. in 2018, according to Armstrong & Associates. That figure is double what it was just a decade ago. Rising labor costs, tight shipping capacity and a general need for companies to cut distribution costs are all fueling the growth.

Here are 10 3PLs that are making noteworthy advancements in the world of distribution logistics.

C.H. Robinson

Already one of the largest 3PLs in the world, C. H. Robinson is in the process of acquiring Prime Distribution Services, one of the nation’s leaders in retail consolidation services. “Prime Distribution Services is a high-quality growth company that brings scale and value-added warehouse capabilities to our retail consolidation platform, adding to our global suite of services,” said Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson CEO, in January. Prime currently operates five distribution centers throughout the U.S., totaling about 2.6 million square feet. With nearly $20 billion in freight under management and 18 million annual shipments, C. H. Robinson earned the top slot in Armstrong & Associates’ Top 50 U.S. 3PLs for 2018.

Holman Logistics

Headquartered in Kent, Washington, Holman opened in Portland back in 1864. Today, it’s one of the leading logistics firms in the Pacific Northwest, though it also manages facilities throughout the nation. The company offers public and contract warehousing (with 7 million square feet of warehousing space), manufacturing logistics, plant support, transportation, collaborative logistics and order-fulfillment services. In terms of distribution, Holman handles both truckload and LTL deliveries, as well as spotting and shuttle services. Some of Holman’s biggest customers are Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Kimberly-Clark, General Electric appliances, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Dole Pineapple, Kerry Foods, Cargill and Morton Salt.

Anchor 3PL

For customers that deal with hazardous materials, logistics can be a tricky, even dangerous proposition. If it’s going the 3PL route for distribution, it’s imperative that it find a company that thoroughly understands the demands of hazmat logistics. While not a large firm, Anchor 3PL operates a 140,000-square-foot warehouse that has 40,000 square feet dedicated to hazmat. Based in Salt Lake City, Anchor regularly deals with chemical and hazmat storage and distribution, works with fire and safety departments, stays on top of the thousands of legal requirements for storing and transporting hazardous materials and maintains relationships with all the regulating authorities.

Kanban

Even with the Trump Administration’s 2018 tariffs on imported photovoltaic panels, the solar industry is booming. Located in eastern North Carolina, in the heart of domestic solar energy production, Kanban is using its thorough knowledge of the industry and logistics to help customers with warehousing and distribution of solar panels. With a million feet of warehouse space, Kanban was able to both assist customers with high-volume warehousing before the tariffs took effect, and then offer solutions for companies that had to change course once the tariffs started. The company also offers logistics assistance for aerospace, food processing and automotive industries.

Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions

Moving pharmaceuticals around the country requires more than simply a cold chain distributor. In 2011, Cardinal began using a special non-toxic, environmentally friendly insulated tote to keep products between 2°C – 8°C (36°F – 46°F) during shipment. The result keeps the supply chain safe as well as prevents possible spoiled or adulterated products from re-entering the supply chain. For vaccine storage and shipment, Cardinal’s commercial refrigeration units are only calibrated using devices from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It’s no surprise that Cardinal Health moves one out of every six pharmaceutical products in the country.

Cerasis

Since 1997, Cerasis has specialized in less than truckload (LTL) freight management. In fact, close to 95 percent of the company’s business has been in the LTL realm. Not only does this make sense for those wishing to move smaller volumes of freight, but it’s also perfect for e-commerce shipping. Cerasis is based in Minnesota but maintains offices in Oklahoma and Texas. GlobalTranz acquired Cerasis in January 2020. “Combining with GlobalTranz allows us to continue this history while providing our customers with increased service offerings and access to capacity,” said Cerasis President Steve Ludvigson shortly after the acquisition.

Expeditors

Based in Seattle, Expeditors operates 322 locations in more than 100 nations. Though it handles logistics for a variety of industries, Expeditors has considerable experience and expertise in the automotive world. Its customers include both original equipment manufacturers and tier suppliers, and it uses its sprawling global network—which includes more than 25 million square feet of warehouse space—to track items at the part or vehicle identification number level. Expeditors’ distribution services even include light manufacturing, labeling, product localization, inspection and product rework and compliance.

BDP International

Moving oil and gas around the world is complex, even in the realm of international logistics. No shipment is the same, and regulations are often changing. But BDP has long specialized in moving fuel, so it understands pricing, procurement, heavy lift and turn-key rig mobilization. In terms of distribution, the company operates facilities all around the world (including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia), and uses extensive barcode scanning technology to keep track of everything. The company even offers its own BDP Smart Tower application, which allows customers to monitor asset locations, maximize asset utilization and coordinate maintenance and repairs to keep equipment downtime at a minimum.

Qualex

In 1990, Qualex opened as a dock-to-dock delivery company for Southern California furniture makers. Since then, it’s evolved into a full 3PL firm with tightly integrated warehouse and transportation services, though it still specializes in the furniture industry. For each customer, Qualex sets up an Electronic Data Exchange (EDI), which channels replenishment orders directly into its own Warehouse Management System (WMS), making logistics practically invisible.  Full distribution services include confirmation receipts, the automatic emailing of proof of delivery, inventory status reports, installation job status and even emailed photos of product condition upon delivery.

United Natural Foods, Inc.

Since grocery profit industry margins hover around just 2 percent, outsourcing logistics is practically mandatory. With its 2018 acquisition of Supervalu Advantage Logistics, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) became a leader in grocery industry logistics. In fact, it’s the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in the nation. And its warehouse facilities are cutting edge—some have radiofrequency devices that guide selectors to stock, while others are completely automated, ready to deliver aisle-ready pallets to retail stores. SuperValu also ran all the logistics for four regional warehouses belonging to Krogers, the second-largest grocery chain in the country.

section 321

HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON SECTION 321 TYPE 86 U.S. CUSTOMS ENTRIES

As the world adjusts to life with COVID-19, the surge in popularity of online shopping shows no signs of slowing down. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, ecommerce sales during the first quarter of 2020 were an estimated 14.8% higher than the previous year and accounted for 11.5% of total retail sales. At the ecommerce behemoth Amazon, North American sales for Q1 2020 increased 29% over last year to $46.1 billion, with international sales growing 18% to $19.1 billion.

The ongoing growth in ecommerce sales is driving a shift in how goods are crossing the U.S. border, putting pressure on freight forwarders and customs brokers to streamline operations to handle escalating volumes of shipments. Many of these ecommerce shipments are processed as low-value, Section 321 Type 86 customs entries in an effort to simplify the entry/release process, expedite shipments, and increase visibility into ecommerce imports for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Partner Government Agencies (PGAs).

What is Section 321 U.S. Customs Type 86 Entry?

To help manage the flow of goods, CBP introduced the voluntary Section 321 Type 86 entry on September 28th, 2019. This entry type eliminates duties and taxes for merchandise shipments valued at less than de minimis level of US$800, imported by one person on one day. Goods may enter the country by air, land, and sea through all commercial ports of entry (except for merchandise imported by mail).

This new Automated Commerce Environment (ACE) entry type simplifies the import process for the estimated 1.8 million package shipments valued at less than $800 that arrive in the U.S. each day. Plus, Section 321 Type 86 expands the number of imports that are eligible for informal entry, including cosmetics, food items, and other products typically regulated by PGAs.

Customs brokers and self-filers can use Entry Type 86 to submit low-value entries electronically through CBP’s Automated Brokerage Interface (ABI), which previously did not support small-package ecommerce.

So what does all this mean for freight forwarders and brokers?

automating customs clearance to drive revenue

With ecommerce volumes on the rise and the pandemic, trade wars, and rising freight costs threatening profits, customs brokers and freight forwarders must find a cost-effective and efficient way to keep pace with the accelerating stream of shipments and keep revenue flowing.

The good news is the ability to process high volumes of Section 321 Type 86 filings clears the path to revenue growth. The bad news is the standard manual “release from manifest” process is time-consuming, error-prone, and impractical for handling large volumes of this entry type.

Processing efficiency is the key to capitalizing on the financial and operational benefits of Section 321 Type 86 entries. Freight forwarders and customs brokers looking to use Type 86 filings to their advantage require a system that can automate and consolidate a high volume of transactions in a single filing to boost clearance efficiency. Solutions that can submit thousands of house bills on one master, automate rating, and enable automatic billing can further streamline operations for increased productivity.

EXPECT SCRUTINY

Section 321 Type 86 entries are subject to a higher degree of scrutiny from CBP, especially regarding accurate valuation. U.S. Customs is using multiple methods, including pricing comparisons, to ensure accuracy and verify that goods do not exceed the $800 threshold.

Adding complexity to the process, compliance for goods filed under Entry Type 86 involves multiple exceptions and exemptions. Certain types of goods are ineligible, including tobacco and alcohol products, goods requiring inspection or subject to quota, goods taxed under the IRS code, and goods subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AV/CVD).

Given the intricacies of Type 86 eligibility and the need to maintain an audit trail for high volumes of low-value shipments, customs brokers and freight forwarders require an automated compliance solution that can flag exceptions, enable accurate record keeping, and demonstrate reasonable care. With technology on their side, brokers can leverage Type 86 filings to improve productivity and accelerate shipment clearance—all while helping their customers pay zero dollars on duties and taxes.

CUSTOMERS DEMAND VISIBILITY

In today’s digital world, customers expect continuous visibility into ecommerce shipments as goods move throughout the shipment lifecycle—and they’re leaning more on their logistics service providers to provide that insight.

To meet the needs of their customers, forwarders and customs brokers are turning to technology. Automated solutions enable end-to-end visibility for Type 86 shipments, from purchase order to the point-of-delivery, by sending in-transit updates and delivery and clearance status reports without the need for manual queries by user or customer.

Deploying a digital front-end to freight forwarding operations not only provides a convenient and efficient customer experience but can also improve internal operations and streamline previously manual processes, such as carrier rating, invoicing, and tracking.

USING SECTION 321 TYPE 86 TO THRIVE

With customs brokers and freight forwarders looking for ways to trim costs and boost the bottom line in the wake of COVID-19 supply chain disruptions and escalating ecommerce demands, the introduction of Section 321 Type 86 entries was a well-timed gift for importers bringing low-value goods into the U.S.

Although the sheer volume of ecommerce shipments poses both customs compliance and customer service challenges, the ability to automate the customs clearance—en masse—for these types of shipments creates an opportunity for growth. By using a robust solution to automate and consolidate Type 86 entries and digitally submit import data to ACE through ABI, customs brokers and freight forwarders can expedite clearance, cut costs, and improve operational efficiency and accuracy to create a streamlined customer experience. Is your organization maximizing the potential of Section 321 Type 86 entries yet?

international shipping

How to Save Time and Money With Your International Shipping

Whether you are just dipping your toes into international shipping, or you are a veteran who wants to update the firm’s processes, there is always more you can do to make your shipping practices more streamlined and efficient. After all, if you are going to compete with local players, then you need to be offering the best deal possible on international shipping. How you can do that is going to be unique to your firm, but some general practices can help.

From managing customer’s expectations of speed to optimizing your packaging, investing in cargo insurance to getting help when you need it, read on to learn how to save time and money with this guide to international shipping.

1. Balance your need for speed.

Generally, the quicker you want your shipments to be delivered, the more expensive the shipping is going to be. Therefore, it is essential that you balance your need for speed with your budget and your customer’s expectations. Customers expect reliable delivery times, not necessarily the fastest possible time, and in many cases, they are happy to wait a couple of days to bring costs down.

Therefore, your best strategy is to provide them with a variety of delivery options to choose from. That way, they can decide how much they are willing to pay and how long they can wait for their goods. Keep in mind that for most companies, the goal is to limit the number of individual shipments and instead maximize the amount of cargo shipped. This generally brings about the most efficient results.

When organizing international shipping for your customers, it is essential that you make their experience as pleasant as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with accurate shipping information that keeps their expectations in check.

2. Optimize your packaging.

One of the most overlooked ways to reduce international shipping costs is to optimize your packaging. The ideal packaging keeps your products safe and secure while also reducing shipping weight and box size so as not to receive additional charges. In order to find the optimal packaging for your goods, you need to take different factors into consideration, including a product’s height, weight, and volume.

From there, look for boxes that fit your product while leaving minimal wasted space. Additionally, choose lightweight packaging materials that still protect your items. Depending on what you are shipping, you may want to consider utilizing standard sized packaging that is provided by your freight provider, as this will remove your firm’s requirement to source custom box sizes.

When planning your packaging strategy, it is vital to think dimensionally, which means knowing the length, width, and depth, which together comprise the dimensional weight of your goods. If you are shipping in bulk, keep in mind that you want your packages to be shaped so that they can be expertly arranged to fit into the smallest size carton.

3. Invest in cargo insurance.

Just as you have insurance for your home, car, and health, it is also essential that you have coverage for your cargo. Unfortunately, it only takes one international shipping incident for your firm to feel adverse effects, which is why cargo insurance is so important. By getting this insurance, you will be covered for damaged goods, cargo theft or loss in transit, and any other unforeseen events that affect your products.

While many carriers and freight forwarders offer liability insurance, this is generally limited to a specific monetary amount and has many exclusions. Therefore, you don’t want to solely rely on this liability insurance because it usually is not enough to cover the costs of severe loss or damage. On the other hand, cargo insurance will render you a more comprehensive level of protection, ensuring you can recover the full value of lost, damaged, or stolen goods.

Having cargo insurance is highly recommended because it provides you with greater peace of mind which, in the long run, makes for a more efficient and streamlined international shipping process. The last thing you want is to be worried about your firm going under because something happens to a shipment that is out of your control. Do your company a favor and invest in cargo insurance.

4. Get help when you need it.

No matter what size your company is, what products you are shipping, or whether you are moving individual parcels or sizable cargo, there is no need to do it all on your own. After all, there are experts in these fields who have the knowledge and experience to help you reduce your costs and the number of resources you have to spend on shipping logistics.

By opting to work with an online freight forwarder, such as Shipa Freight, you are not only setting yourself up for shipping success now but also in the future. From generating an online quote to scheduling your shipments and then tracking them, an online freight forwarder provides you with all the tools you need to make your international shipping processes as streamlined as possible.

For example, as an individual, it can be challenging to locate the ports and other destinations that you need, but a high-quality freight forwarder can find them for you. Additionally, you will be personally guided by a representative throughout the process so that you can be assured that you are choosing the best options for your firm. When working with Shipa Freight, you will always be treated as a partner, not a commodity.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to international shipping, if you want to come out on top, then your firm must incorporate as many cost-saving and time-effective measures as possible. By including these steps into your international shipping strategy, you will be well on your way to having the most efficient shipping process possible.

What do you think are the most effective steps for reducing costs and time related to international shipping? What strategies does your firm use?

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As Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight, Paul Rehmet is responsible for translating the vision of Shipa Freight into an easy-to-use online freight platform for our customers. Formerly Vice President of Digital Marketing for Agility, Paul managed Agility’s website, mobile apps, content marketing and online advertising campaigns. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways. Paul has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brown University. Paul is based in Philadelphia.  

freight forwarders

20 FOR 2020: THE TOP 20 CITIES FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Even domestic shipping can be complicated. That’s why freight forwarders exist—they handle much of the complex paperwork and hassle needed to move cargo across borders. For freight forwarders, some cities are definitely better than others.

To find out the best cities for freight forwarders, we asked Carlo De Atouguia, the chief operating officer of Western Overseas Corporation. For more than four decades, Western Overseas has provided freight forwarding, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution, cargo insurance, and e-commerce services to small and large companies across the globe.

Atouguia zeroed in on a common theme to come up with the top 20 cities for freight forwarders. “These cities are key because they are integral gateway cities for both ocean and air,” he explains. “I believe it is an advantage having representation in these cities because it allows you to develop a personal business relationship with the major players in all facets of the freight forwarding supply chain in that city. These business relationships are key when negotiating spot rates, late cut-offs, drayage and expedited handling on cargo arrival.

“The other key factor is the sheer number of carriers and cargo flights available in a particular city,” he continues. “The more options you have, the better you’re able to service your customers’ freight forwarding needs.”

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Air cargo and mail moving through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been steadily climbing for the past few years, from more than 624,000 metric tons in 2015 to a little over 704,000 metric tons in 2018, according to Statista. Which is why it wasn’t a shock that Georgia’s $40.6 billion worth of exports in 2018 was the highest in that state’s history. In fact, exports in Georgia have grown by 71 percent over the last decade, according to U.S. Census data. It’s no wonder there are more than 20 freight forwarders in the Atlanta area.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

In the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, 15 ship-to-shore gantry cranes move about 900,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year, according to 2018 figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s also one of the most diverse ports in the U.S., with the six public marine terminals handling autos, roll-on/roll-off, containers, forest products and project cargo. The 11 million tons of cargo that moved through the port this past year was a new record, and the nearly 2.9 million tons of cargo the port handled in between April and June of 2019 also set a new second quarter record.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Port of Charleston is ranked ninth in the U.S. in terms of cargo value, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority. That translated into $72.7 billion worth of imports and exports in 2018. The port’s cranes handled 2.2 million TEUs that year. Thirteen of the world’s biggest container companies tie up there. While the port can already accommodate most post-Panamax vessels, efforts are under way to deepen the harbor from 45 to 52 feet. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when the port authority revealed in November 2019 that Charleston had doubled its cargo volume over the last decade.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is ranked sixth in the nation and seventh in the world in terms of the number of passengers and volume of cargo handled, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. More than 60 freight forwarders, customs brokers and international service providers use CLT’s Air Cargo Center, which has 570,000 square feet of available space and 2.2 million square feet of aircraft ramp space. The CLT also links to the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines. It processed 128,000 tons of cargo in 2015.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Since the 19th century, Chicago has been a railway and ocean hub for commerce. Even today, a quarter of all rail freight in the U.S. passes through the Chicago rail yards. (It’s also the only gateway in the U.S. where six of the seven major railroads can interchange traffic.) An amazing 30 percent of all consumers in North America live within a one-day truck ride from Chicago. But in terms of cargo value, the Windy City is the top international air gateway in the U.S., with about 2 million metric tons of cargo moving through O’Hare International Airport every year, all worth more than $200 billion, according to Chicago’s Department of Aviation.

CINCINNATI, OHIO

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which provides non-stop service to 38 of the top 40 U.S. markets, moved 1.2 million tons of cargo in 2018 and is the eighth largest cargo airport in the U.S., according to the CVG airport authority. For the past three years, it’s been the fastest-growing cargo airport in the U.S. It’s also the location for one of DHL’s three “global super hubs,” from which it serves 220 nations. Amazon also has plans to build a $1.5 billion hub at CVG, which will support more than 100 Prime Air freighters.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Because many of the warehouses and distribution centers that stand between international suppliers of goods like China and retail outlets are located in Texas, Dallas is perfectly located to serve as a freight hub for the rest of the nation, according to a 2018 FreightWaves e-newsletter article. Indeed, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport considers itself “the nexus of Latin America-Asia transit freight.” More than 900,000 tons of cargo moved through the airport in fiscal year 2018. According to the DFW Airport Authority, 55 percent of it was domestic and 45 percent was international.

HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Port of Houston is one of the most heavily used water gateways in the country. According to the port authority, in 2017 it ranked first in the nation in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage (173 million short tons), second in total foreign and domestic waterborne tonnage (260 million short tons) and third in overall value of foreign cargo. It’s also the largest Gulf Coast container port, handling nearly 70 percent of all container traffic in that region. A little more than a million containers (imports and exports) moved through the port in 2001; today, that number stands at nearly 2.5 million.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Long Beach has one of the busiest seaports in the world. The Port of Long Beach says its 68 Post-Panamax gantry cranes move around 7.5 million TEUs every year, all valued at close to $200 billion. That translates into 82.3 million metric tons of cargo moved in/out on more than 2,000 vessel calls. It’s the second busiest port in the U.S., and the 21st busiest container cargo port in the world. All told, the port accounts for a third of loaded containers moving through all California ports. About 90 percent of the shipments moving through the port are part of trade with East Asia.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Let’s start with the fact that the Port of Los Angeles has been the top container port in the U.S. since 2000. In 2018, its 83 gantry cranes handled 9.5 million TEUs—the highest number ever moved by a port in the western hemisphere—making it one of the busiest ports in the world. Then there’s Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest, which handled nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2018. According to Los Angeles World Airports, FedEx is the dominant airfreight carrier at LAX, carrying nearly 16 percent of the freight that moves through the airport.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Situated on the Ohio River, Louisville is well placed to handle all sorts of cargo traffic. In fact, Jefferson Riverport is one of the few inland ports in the U.S. that connects to three railroads: CSX, Norfolk Southern and Paducah & Louisville. The city is also, as the State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is fond of pointing out, about a day’s truck drive away from 65 percent of the U.S. population. What’s more, Louisville International Airport is home to the UPS shipping hub—the world’s largest fully automated package-handling facility. One hundred thirty aircraft move through it each day, and it processes a remarkable 1.5 million packages daily.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

In 2018, Miami International Airport ranked fourth in the nation in terms of both total cargo and total freight, and No. 1 in international freight, according to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. That year, 2.31 million tons of freight moved through the airport, nearly three percent higher than the previous year. At the same time, a thousand cargo ships docked at the Port of Miami—the East Coast’s closest deepwater container port to the Panama Canal—carrying 1.1 million TEUs worth around $27 billion. Nearly half the TEU imports to Miami came from Asia, while 70 percent of the exports went to Latin America, according to the Miami Port Authority.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Primarily due to FedEx, Memphis International Airport is the top international gateway in the U.S. by weight and the No. 2 cargo airport in the world. In 2016, 11.9 million short tons of cargo moved through the airport, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. FedEx accounts for a reported 99 percent of the cargo moving through Memphis International Airport, which carries out 450 combined arrivals and departures every day. Memphis is also home to the fifth largest inland port in the U.S., which is very close to the airport and lies at the juncture of major north-south and east-west interstate highways, as well as that of five major railroads.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The only container port in Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has six gantry cranes that can handle 840,000 TEUs a year. Containers make up about 60 percent of the cargo handled at the port, according to the Port NOLA authority. The port also ties into the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, offering daily intermodal service to Memphis, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. Regular container-on-barge service also connects the port to Memphis and Baton Rouge.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 41.3 million metric tons of general cargo worth more than $188 billion in 2018, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Put another way, the port handled 52 percent of all the unloaded and loaded TEUs on the North Atlantic. Add this to the 1.4 million tons of cargo that moved through JFK International Airport in 2018, and you can see why New York City holds such importance in the world of freight.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Situated two and a half hours from the open sea, the Port of Norfolk’s 22 Suez-class cranes moved 2.7 million TEUs in 2017, according to the port authority. It’s also so rail-friendly, with two class 1 railroads operating on-dock, that 37 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the port comes by rail—the largest percentage of any East Coast port. Norfolk International Airport also operates one of the most efficient cargo operations in Virginia, moving 30,000 tons of air cargo every year. FedEx, Mountain Air and UPS all use Norfolk International extensively.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

For Philadelphia, location is everything. The city is about a day’s drive from nearly half the nation’s population, as well as six of the eight largest U.S. markets. There are also 400 distribution centers located within Philadelphia’s immediate vicinity. PhilaPort can handle cargo carriers holding 12,200 TEUs. The CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads both serve the port. In 2016, Philadelphia International Airport handled about 427,000 tons of cargo, and is home to nearly 40 freight forwarders. The airport sits next to I-95, which runs from Maine to Florida, and is close to both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New Jersey Turnpike.

PORTLAND, OREGON

The Port of Portland, the largest in Oregon, handles about 11 million tons of cargo every year, according to the port authority. The port can move containers, autos, breakbulk and drybulk. There are on-dock rail connections throughout the port, and BNSF Railway ties the container terminal directly to Seattle/Tacoma. Portland International Airport, located 12 miles from downtown Portland, is centered in the Columbia River Industrial Corridor. Eight cargo carriers use PDX, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. There are 47 freight forwarders serving the Portland area.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

About 488,000 tons of cargo moved through San Francisco International Airport in 2018. Nine cargo carriers operate out of the airport, serving destinations all over the world. Additionally, the Port of San Francisco’s five deepwater berths can accommodate a wide variety of container and bulk carriers. In all, 1.4 million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2017, according to the San Francisco Port Authority.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Port of Savannah bills itself as the largest single container terminal in North America, and it is the second-largest container exporter in the U.S. (13.3 million tons). Two class 1 railroads serve its nine deepwater berths, which operate 27 container cranes. In 2018, the port handled 4.4 million TEUs, a new record for the port. Its major satellite facilities include warehouses and distribution centers for Target, IKEA and Heineken USA. Savannah Hilton Head International Airport handled a further 8,600 tons of cargo during 2018.

NTG

NTG Slides Between Old Guard and Freight-Forwarding Disruptors

If there is one common theme among newish freight-forwarding disruptors, it is that they seek to replace an old guard that relies on paper, clipboards, and telephones with a brave new world that relies on cloud software, analytics platforms, and smartphones.

The stakes are high: tracking and handling freight is a $1 trillion industry. And so, the business media falls all over itself to profile the likes of Qwyk, Flexport and Zencargo. It’s a small wonder that established players have moved into the freight forwarding “startup” space, as evidenced by Twill, a so-called “Maersk innovation.” Amazon is also breaking into the freight-forwarding market, as is another well-known disruptor, Uber, which launched Uber Freight in 2017 and expanded into Europe last year.

Falling somewhere between the newbies and the established players is Nolan Transportation Group (NTG), a multimodal freight brokerage firm that was founded in Atlanta in 2005. Featuring parcel, truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal transportation services for more than 7,000 customers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico—as well as a carrier base with over 30,000 independent transportation/trucking companies that aid in facilitating the movement of clients’ products—NTG has mostly been in the news lately due to industry consolidation.

After Gryphon Investors injected capital into third party logistics company Transportation Insight in September, the private equity firm and the 3PL together acquired NTG three months later. Then, in January, NTG announced it had acquired Eagle Transportation LLC, a Mississippi-based freight brokerage specializing in temperature-controlled shipping. Out of the deal, NTG added Eagle’s expertise in cold-chain logistics and brokerage of refrigerated equipment, and Eagle received access to NTG’s vast pool of carrier representatives.

But NTG Freight is now seeking to turn industry heads with its new portal for carriers and shipping customers that went live for the public on Jan. 18, after months of beta testing. Those who log in 24/7 get real-time access “to every available shipment we have as a company,” says Garrett McDaniel, NTG’s vice president of Software Project Management. “Carriers like it because available loads are not on public boards where you have to beat out the competition to find lanes you are interested in running. The second a shipment is created, it shows up on our system as available.”

Previously, NTG communicated with its more than 8,000 companies and 100,000 trucking companies via fax, email, and phone. The portal makes that process communications and booking loads faster and easier, with bidding and rate confirmation handled automatically—and via a smartphone.

“We have created a few access levels for our preferred carriers, who not only see the loads available but the offer rate for that load as well,” McDaniel explains. “It’s created a bidding system that is pretty different than the eBay-style bidding that our competitors are doing.” With the latter, a bid amount is entered and after other bids are made, a “winning bid” is selected. But with the NTG portal, a carrier submits a couple of different amounts and is automatically chosen without having to debate.

Asked whether the new portal came about based on what customers were seeking or what NTG saw needed refinement, McDaniel answered, “A little bit of both. The platform was originally created based on some specific needs of carriers.”

You might assume here that NTG’s answer to those needs came in June 2019, when the 3PL deployed Descartes Systems Group’s MacroPoint, a cloud-based freight visibility solution. After all, Perry Falk, senior vice president of NTG’s Carrier Operations, said at the time: “Our customers can opt to get real-time visibility on every shipment we move. The drivers for our carriers can provide location updates with minimal interactions while in-transit, leaving us with happier carriers who can focus on driving safely.”

However, McDaniel corrects that the new portal’s inception actually stretches back a couple of years before that, when carriers were telling NTG as far back as 2017 that they needed online access to their payment information. “One thing they wanted was access to payments in real-time. Paperwork was missing on some loads, and they wanted to see information on available loads. Over time, as we grew as a development team, along with the experience of the users, things were refined internally.

“One of the very first versions that rolled out showed the payment status. You’d log in to see when you were being paid if you were paid already what the check number was and when it was mailed. Really within the last year, we rolled out a lot more core functionality, including bidding on loads, rate confirmation, as well as some of the customer-focused functionality as well.”

McDaniel considers all of this to be part of NTG’s mission “to improve the carrier partnership.” Relationships with loyal carriers and customers were already in place during the NTG portal’s beta phase. “We’ve received a ton of positive feedback, especially among the smaller carriers that have one to five trucks,” McDaniel says. “It’s been a great tool for them to be able to keep their trucks completely filled with loads purely by using the system.” Carriers “with thousands of trucks” also participated in the beta phase, he adds. “They were able to get in, play around with it and give us their feedback. We’ve taken a lot of the feedback and been able to implement changes.”

The live version features a redesigned front end, more user-friendliness and a more modern-feeling than the beta tester, according to McDaniel, who credits Gryphon Investors with steadfastly supporting his company’s high-tech vision. “They have been a really incredible partner in developing this application,” he says.

However, while new freight forwarding disruptors scramble to build new customer bases, McDaniel is also quick to applaud the NTG network with continuing to push his company to refine with the digital times.

“We have been around for 15 years,” he notes. “In that amount of time, we’ve grown a deep network of carriers and shipper partners. These were not acquired overnight as a tech startup disruptor.”

Which, McDaniel believes, gives NTG a competitive edge over the upstarts. “We have a pretty dedicated group of users. This is something we view as an enhancement for our carrier partners. You don’t ever want to replace human relationships. Rather, this is something that quite frankly helps strengthen that relationship with us.”

airfeight

Airfreight vs. Sea Freight – Which Works Better?

Airfreight vs. sea freight has become a burning dilemma for all those in need of this type of services. While both solutions come with a set of advantages and disadvantages, the final choice one makes will depend on a variety of factors. We are willing to share our knowledge and findings with you so that you can make the best possible decision regarding your shipment in the given circumstances. 

Airfreight vs sea freight – the costs can be a decisive factor

Undeniably, the amount of financial means necessary to afford airfreight services is considerably higher than that of sea freight. Moreover, the appearance of the largest cargo aircraft in the world announces great changes and improvements in this field. The Antonov An-225 could cause a further rise of the airfreight costs, but it will also guarantee higher quality. On the other hand, sea freight is much more affordable and, consequently, the number one choice of a vast majority of clients. Opting for sea freight provides clients with acceptable service but at a significantly lower price.

Time matters greatly!

Most often, clients want their shipment delivered as soon as possible, which can cause problems for those offering sea freight services. Not seldom do customs issues or hold-ups at ports cause serious delays. However, we must admit that a giant step forward is evident in this field. Firstly, high-quality, modern ships are much faster now than it was the case in the past. Secondly, there are some canal upgrades that can eliminate tedious and tiring delays on some routes. Finally, sea freight forwarders can guarantee delivery times, which is vital for business owners when it comes to organization.

The type of cargo affects the final choice on airfreight vs. sea freight dilemma

The type of cargo is one of the most important factors influencing the choice in the airfreight vs. sea fright dilemma. In this case, we must admit that sea fright seems like a much better solution since it has no limitations you have to be aware of. One of the crucial pros of the maritime shipping is that you can ship even the bulkiest and extremely heavy goods. Conversely, airfreight is limited in this discipline. Before you opt for this type of goods transportation, it is advisable to make sure that the type of your cargo is acceptable. In addition, there is a very long list of the items which are prohibited and those listed as hazardous materials. Depending on your final destination, the rules and laws may differ. Yet, getting sufficient information on the subject must still be the first step in the process.

Safety of your cargo is the top priority

Understandably, the safety of cargo is always the top priority. It is important to emphasize that air cargo has to be dealt with the utmost attention and in accordance with the regulations which are very strict and clear. All the crucial elements, including handling and securing your cargo as well as the proper storage, are defined by airport regulations. This is a great benefit and a guarantee that the safety of your goods will be at the maximal level. On the other hand, we cannot say that sea freight is a bad alternative either. In this case, the goods are transported in containers, but the human factor is crucial. Proper packing strategies are essential in order to decrease any chances of potential damage during transport. If this is not conducted appropriately, the chances are some of your goods might get seriously damaged or even cause further problems on the ship.

Do not forget about the accessibility of your goods

If we analyze the accessibility of your goods as one of the criteria, airfreight is a more favorable option by all means. The procedures are clear, cargo is in smaller volumes and there are no unnecessary waitings to receive your goods. Using sea freight for your cargo often results in additional costs due to heavy congestions in seaports. If your goods are not delivered at the arranged time, you are required to pay for detention and demurrage costs, which may be a heavy burden on your budget. However, we must not forget to mention an advantage sea freight offers comparing to airfreight. The accessibility to markets is much higher in case of sea freight. The reason is very simple. When unloaded from ships, containers can move further inland by using the services of intermodal shippers

Eco-friendly practices 

Finally, let us not forget about the environment when choosing between airfreight vs sea freight. Applying eco-friendly practices is becoming increasingly important, so it does not surprise this is one of the factors shippers base their decision on. According to this particular criterion, sea freight is a more reasonable option since it has a significantly better carbon footprint. Quite the opposite, airplanes are serious polluters and require special attention and measures to reduce their carbon footprint to minimal values.

Final words on airfreight vs sea freight dilemma

The decisions and choices you make concerning airfreight vs sea freight dilemma will depend on miscellaneous factors. It is of key importance to weigh the pros and cons of each of these options and then make your decision final.  A serious effort is required to negotiate the best shipping terms and only then can you expect to ship your goods completely fuss-free.

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Susan Daniels is a passionate copywriter who loves exploring home improvement ideas and real estate market. Lately, she has gained considerable knowledge in the types of moving services and the qualities of respectable moving companies such as DA Moving NYC, for example. She enjoys giving advice on the best places to live and exciting places to visit. Traveling makes her happy as well as reading good books.

global

GLOBAL FORWARDING: BIGGEST, FASTEST SAVINGS FOR GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

Increasingly complex omnichannel business models are resulting
in correspondingly complicated global supply chains. Maximizing
efficiencies for time and cost in moving freight around the world
is mission critical. This paper takes a high-level look at three
opportunities for optimization: cargo consolidation, cargo risk
management, and customs management.

The multichannel retail business model, along with increasing levels of global sourcing, have created staggering opportunities for importers and exporters around the world, whether huge multinationals or small companies shipping globally for the first time.

Global supply chains are becoming longer and more fragmented,
presenting significant new issues for logistics professionals. In one
survey, 104 global supply chain executives reported that visibility
(21.1%), fluctuating consumer demand (19.1%), and inventory
management (13.2%) were their biggest challenges (1).

Many factors add complexity to global supply chains, including longer lead times and lead-time variability and an increasing number of suppliers, partners, carriers, customers, countries, and logistics channels. Contrary to what you might think, global freight forwarding can offer relief for these concerns and when people, processes, and technology are leveraged, can even offer competitive advantages.

10 Approaches to Savings in the Global
Forwarding Supply Chain

EASY

1. Align shipping activities to leverage benefits of consolidation
services.

2. Minimize financial impact of cargo loss and damage by
purchasing marine cargo insurance.

3. Take advantage of transportation providers’ TMS to create
visibility and take control of the supply chain.

MODERATE

4. Develop strategies to match service modes with inventory
planning and sales forecasting.

5. Create a risk management strategy—identify and understand
risk types, probabilities, and potential costs.

6. Integrate with a single transportation provider’s TMS and
connect with suppliers and carriers globally.

DIFFICULT

7. Effectively use Incoterms® when negotiating with suppliers to
impact unit price, cash flow, inventory levels, and logistics costs.8. Actively engage with a customs professional to deploy best
practices in customs management.

9. Leverage transportation provider’s business intelligence
reporting and analytics to improve supply chain performance.

10. Utilize PO management to control the purchase order lifecycle;
go upstream to supplier order fulfillment logistics activities.

CARGO CONSOLIDATION

What it is
Few companies can fill an entire ocean or air container with their
own freight. Both ocean and air carriers require shippers to work
with freight consolidation services to accommodate small volume
shipping needs. These freight consolidators accept complementary
freight from multiple shippers, and consolidate freight all kinds
(FAK) containers for ocean shipping or unit load devices (ULD) for
air. This results in better freight rates and cargo security measures.

Why it’s important
One of the biggest areas for savings in a global supply chain is
taking advantage of space. Companies of any size can use freight
consolidation services, but it’s particularly useful if you have a lean
supply chain or operate in a just in time environment. Using logistics
efficiencies from freight forwarders, consolidators, and third party
logistics providers (3PLs), you can choose to move smaller quantities
of material more frequently. In doing so, you make a strategic
decision to spend more on consolidation shipping services and less
on inventory, storage, returns, and other costs.

Ocean versus air
Whether air or ocean consolidation is the right choice for you
depends on the required service level and transit time. Globally,
ocean is the less expensive transportation method. That cost
advantage must be carefully weighed against longer transit times, as
well as potential delays caused by adverse weather conditions, port
strikes, or other issues.

In addition, there are faster and slower ocean options. Some ocean
freight goes directly to the port of call. Other shipments can stop at
multiple ports of call, which is less expensive, but takes longer and
is more prone to unexpected disruption. Working with a reputable
freight forwarder can help reduce unexpected supply chain failures
and delays, and provide options if disruptions occur.

Air freight consolidation service is a faster, more expensive option
than ocean, but here, too, there are faster and slower options that
determine the cost. For example, if you don’t need direct service
(next flight out), choose a slower transit time at more favorable
pricing.

Best Practices for Cargo Consolidation

Choose a forwarder with:

-Sufficient freight volumes to effectively consolidate without delays and to aggressively negotiate rates with ocean and air carriers.

-Dedicated space allocations for capabilities when they are needed.

– Work in major markets with high flight capacity.

Generally, in any type of transportation, the more time there is between pickup and delivery, the less you pay. In air, for instance, use providers with gateways (vs. a hub and spoke approach)
to get cost-efficient options that meet your deadlines. Use consolidation schedules if you can for more savings.

CARGO RISK MANAGEMENT

What it is
Global shipments are exposed to risk from a wide range of human
and natural forces. Yet, global shipments are subject to a unique set
of international laws and/or treaties that limit the liability of carriers. Whether you import or export, you should understand the various types of risks that cargo could face and how you can help protect the value of the goods shipped globally.

Why it’s important
Even with proper packing, stowage, and securing of containers on
a container ship, severe weather and rough seas can cause rare but
catastrophic events like ship groundings, structural failures, even
collisions, any of which can result in loss of cargo. On average, the
World Shipping Council estimates that there were 1,582 containers
lost at sea per year between 2008 and 2016; 1,012 of these
containers (64 percent) were lost due to a catastrophic event.2 Theft, counterfeiting, hurricanes, floods, political unrest, labor disputes, documentation errors, or mechanical problems can also delay or ruin delivery of the most perfectly planned global shipment. Protecting the value of products while they are in transit across the globe can have a significant impact in protecting the bottom line.

Air and Ocean Carrier Liability

When events occur, companies are often dismayed to find that not
all risks or damages are covered by carrier liability.

Air carriers are not liable if damage was caused by:
-An inherent defect, quality, or vice of the cargo
-Defective or insufficient packing of the cargo
-An act of war or armed conflict
-An act of a public authority carried out in connection with the
entry, exit, or transit of the cargo

Even if an air carrier is held legally liable for damages, they pay the
value of the goods or 19 SDRs3 per kilogram, whichever is less.
If a ship experiences an extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure at sea,ship owners may declare general average. The concept of general average hearkens back to the days when a crew tossed cargo overboard to lighten the ship in a storm. During the emergency, there wasn’t time to figure out whose cargo should be jettisoned. After the fact, to avoid quarreling, merchants whose cargo landed safely would be called upon to contribute a share or percentage to the merchants whose goods were tossed overboard to avoid imminent peril. Today, general average declarations still mean that all the merchants with freight on the vessel are required to share in the cost of the expenditure before the goods are released.

General average is a growing risk and concern for many risk
managers and insurance experts. In recent times, there has been a
rise in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events that
have led many vessels to become grounded, causing container loss
and/or vessel damage. In addition, fires on container vessels are
more common now than in the past.

Today, when these events occur and general average is declared:

1. Ship owners have a lien on the ship’s cargo. At the time
the voyage is completed, the level of sacrificial losses will not
normally be known. Ship owners will usually call for security
from cargo interests, against which the assessed contributions
can be enforced. The amount of the claim is usually calculated
by average adjusters, appointed by ship owners. Each cargo
owner’s contribution is calculated on a percentage of the cargo
owner’s interest or commercial invoice value, ranging from
1 to 100 percent.

Ship owners have a lien on the cargo until each cargo owner’s
contribution or security is satisfied. Unless a shipment is secured
with all-risk marine cargo insurance, the cargo owner will be
required to post their contribution or security in cash before
their cargo will be released. As the frequency of general average
declarations has increased, so has the amount of the required
securities—from about 12% a year ago to about 50% today.

2. Ocean carriers are not automatically liable for loss or
damage to your cargo. The U.S. accepted the Hague Rules in
1936 through the passage of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act
(COGSA). The rules expressly remove the ocean carrier’s liability
for loss or damage to cargo that arises from one of the 17 stated
liability exclusions. Legal liability claims are often met with
resistance by carriers.

Even if the ocean carrier is found liable at the end of a legal
process that can take months to settle, their limit of liability
under COGSA is $500 per package or customary shipping
unit, or the actual value of the goods, whichever is less. In other
words, the onus is on you to assess and minimize your
risk exposure.

Best Practices for Cargo Risk Management

-Buy the appropriate amount of marine cargo insurance for ocean or air shipments.

-Ensure the valuation clause for a given shipment defines the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for a loss. Most valuation clauses include the commercial invoice value and any prepaid charges associated with the shipment, such as freight, customs clearance, or duty. This clause can be modified to include other charges or profit margin—if requested and approved by underwriters.

-Choose an insurance intermediary with experience or specific training in international logistics and transportation insurance.

Calculating Costs to Determine Risk Exposure

The risk of lost cargo is real. Yet, without a crisis to motivate
action, most companies place risk management at the bottom of
the priority scale. The most common method used to protect the
value of goods from physical damage, theft, or other calamity is the
purchase of marine cargo insurance.

The first step you can take is to understand your risk exposure
by tying dollar values to varying types of risk. The challenge is
quantifying the potential cost. You can brainstorm to gather that
information, or can work with a logistics provider that has in-house
risk management professionals to help uncover potential liabilities
in the supply chain.

You can apply subjective probability to calculate possible losses. In
other words, you can estimate the chances of a risk event happening
and multiply it by the cost if it did happen (see below). Once the
dollar amount is calculated, the next step is to reduce the expected
loss by reducing the probability of the occurrence, or the cost of the
occurrence.

Armed with subjective probability estimates, you can effectively
buy the appropriate amount of insurance. While insurance is readily
available, it is your responsibility or the consignee’s to ensure the
coverage purchased best fits the unique exposure.

CUSTOMS MANAGEMENT

What it is
Most companies choose their customs broker for the long term.
That’s because the customs broker must truly understand your
company and products. They must also know how to navigate each
country’s compliance requirements with their own specific set of
customs rules, governmental regulations, VAT, duty rate calculations, and payment plans.

Why it’s important
Even simple trade-related mistakes, such as an incorrect spelling on
a declaration, can result in fines, penalties, or even cargo seizure.
Penalties for transgressions can be severe, depending on the
seriousness of the infraction.

For example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) imposes
fines of up to $10,000 per entry for recordkeeping infractions.
Non-financial costs, such a shipment delays, the diversion of staff
resources to correct problems, and in rare instances, the loss of
trade privileges, can be detrimental to an importer’s business.
When you work with Trusted Advisor® experts in customs, you can
learn where the most common mistakes occur and implement best
practices to avoid them. In addition, CBP can conduct a customs
focused assessment—essentially, an audit—with any U.S. importer. A
customs expert can help your company prepare before, during, and
after a focused assessment to minimize risk exposure.

Compliance programs and options that are worth investigating
Not every compliance option will fit or resonate with every business.
Discuss specific issues with an attorney or Trusted Advisor® expert
in customs compliance and learn which elements might be the most
useful. Always seek out an expert opinion.

-Customs bond sufficiency. If you import into the U.S., you must
have a customs bond, generally 10% of the duties and taxes
you expect to pay to CBP for import transactions throughout
the year. CBP can shut down all imports if they discover you
have an insufficient customs bond. Since tariffs (and duties)
are increasing substantially, existing bonds may no longer
be sufficient. Bond insufficiency will lead to additional costs
and delays if not monitored or addressed in a timely manner.

Consider the increased duty amounts well before the bond
renewal period comes up. If the customs bond will need to be
significantly higher, the surety company may require additional
documentation—including financial statements and possibly
letters of credit—before they issue a new customs bond, all of
which will take time to get into place.

-Duty drawback programs. Duty drawback programs refund
99% of certain import duties, taxes, and fees for goods that are
subsequently exported; this supports both U.S. manufacturing
and foreign export sales. Before 2018, duties might only have
been in the 1% to 2% range, and since there is paperwork to file
to get the refund, many companies did not bother with it. Today,
those 1.2% duties have jumped up to 25% in some instances,
making duty drawback programs a potential game-changer for
your business. The downside: duties must be paid up front; your
company may wait for 1 to 2 years to receive the refund under
the current drawback environment, which can become a cash
flow issue for some companies.

-Foreign trade zones (FTZs). Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) are
secure areas located in or near CBP ports of entry, and are under
CBP supervision. Unlike duty drawback programs, companies
don’t have to pay duties when goods enter an FTZ. Instead, FTZs
enable duty deferment; the duties are paid when the goods
enter CBP territory for domestic consumption. At that point, the
importer pays the duties at the rate of either the original foreign
materials or the finished product.

-Exclusion requests. If a company thinks their product should
be excluded from Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs, they can
request an exclusion. When filing an exclusion, make certain that
the classification used is the best classification for the product.
Also, work with a trade attorney; they can help you navigate
the law and apply it to a specific product so the exclusion isn’t
rejected on a technicality.

-Changing sourcing locations. It’s not always easy to change
suppliers, but some companies are looking at it in a new era of
tariffs. Yet, suppliers for some materials are only found in China,
and even if you locate a source in another country, there can be
issues. Can they supply at the necessary level? How long will it
take to test the new supplier against specifications? The more complicated the product, the more challenging a switch will be.
Also, keep in mind that if the cargo ships from Singapore but its
origin is China, U.S. tariffs may still apply.

-Incoterms®. Incoterms®, or International Commercial Terms,
are published by the International Chamber of Commerce.
They are the rules that define the responsibilities of sellers and
buyers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts, and
they establish where the transfer of risk takes place. However,
they vary from situation to situation. For example, if a container
being moved across the ocean from Shanghai to the United
States falls overboard, who is at risk? The Incoterms® tell the
story. If the U.S. buyer purchased the product FOB (free on
board), the importer took responsibility for the risk as soon as
the freight was loaded on the vessel in Shanghai. If the same
product was purchased DDP (delivered duty paid), the shipper
would be responsible until the product reached the purchaser’s
door in the United States. You can save money if you ensure
your purchasing team understands how Incoterms® rules will be
applied to freight.

Best practices in Customs Management

-Buyers are not transportation and compliance professionals who understand Incoterms®—they choose suppliers based on favorable pricing. You can establish internal structures or education to help buyers understand how Incoterms® impact risk management and pricing.

-Rely on a customs professional to leverage U.S. Customs data. They can combine a company’s unwieldy historical shipping data into usable trade reports to reveal whether an organization is taking proper advantage of free trade agreements around the world.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY CAN TIE IT ALL TOGETHER

As companies large and small continue to expand internationally,
they can no longer afford to single-handedly manage the countless
details and nuances of global freight forwarding. Shortened lead
times, the use of multiple transportation modes and carriers to
deliver product efficiently across continents, and an environment
fraught with risk requires both worldwide and regional management
of cargo flows.

Many companies rely on a transportation management system
(TMS), hoping to keep their fingers on the pulse of their global
supply chain providers. However, TMS products were developed
initially to track domestic or regional truck shipments and to
automate tedious, low-value processes performed by an enterprise’s
transportation staff. Today, few TMSs can enable global visibility to
every shipment, or can interconnect disparate systems on multiple
continents to provide the level of visibility to show where products
are at any given point in time.

A truly global supply chain network has a single TMS architecture
that spans all continents. Global visibility enables your organization
to clearly see the entire supply chain. Utilization reports for multiple
services and modes (air, ocean, rail, and road) on all continents
confers specific strategic advantages:

-Continuous improvement to supply chain logistics in real time

-Access to business intelligence, crossing all freight and spend.categories to strategically understand the impact of decisions

-Access to a centralized network of multiple providers–without
integrating individually with each provider

Work with a logistics provider that offers a full suite of services,
manages service performance, consistently communicates
performance metrics, and offers strategic optimization to gain
distinct advantages in the marketplace.

A case in point: purchase order management

-Purchase order management (POM) within a TMS delivers end to end visibility throughout the purchase order (PO) life cycle. POM enables you or your provider to manage shipment windows, work
with overseas vendors to coordinate bookings, manage exceptions,
collect and distribute documents, and provide reporting at the shipment and PO/line item level.

-POM options include PO tracking and visibility, reporting, online booking, document management, check and verification process, vendor self-service, vendor management, exception management,
and PO and shipment analytics.

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Global Freight Forwarder

IS YOUR TMS TRULY GLOBAL? There should be one system architecture that works across regions and covers all types of transportation.

CAN YOU PROVIDE CAPACITY OPTIONS?
They should ship goods by ocean, air, rail, and truck,
choosing the option that best aligns with the business
need. Ask about their consolidation programs to
optimize spend, routings, and transit time performance.

DO YOU HAVE “BOOTS ON THE GROUND” IN KEY
GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS?
Your global freight forwarder should think globally, act locally.
That is, they should know global transportation, but also
have deep knowledge of the local population, infrastructure,
languages, politics, economy, customs, currencies, tax laws,
and tariffs for each country your shipping routes touch.

CAN YOU HELP ASSESS CARGO RISK?
They must adequately help you assess and mitigate cargo
risk to help protect your bottom line.

DO YOU OFFER CUSTOMS ADVICE?
They should be experts in leveraging customs information
and programs to your company’s advantage.

 

_________________________________________________

1. “What is the biggest challenge you are facing in your supply
chain?” eft Supply Chain & Logistics Business Intelligence,
April 2018. Accessed at https://www.statista.com/
statistics/829634/biggest-challenges-supply-chain/.

2. “Containers Lost at Sea-2017 Update,” World Shipping
Council, 2017.

3. SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, refers to a basket
of currencies designed to iron out currency exchange
fluctuations in International valuations, now used to express
the limitation under the Hague-Visby Rules and the MSA
Limitation Convention.

4. “Global Trade, Trade Statistics,” World Shipping Council,
2018. Accessed at http://www.worldshipping.org/about-theindustry/global-trade.

5. “Containers Lost at Sea-2017 Update,” World Shipping
Council, 2017.

6. Larry Kivett and Mark Pearson, “Understanding risk
management in the supply chain: Using supply chain data
analytics to drive performance,” Deloitte, 2018.

cold chain

Benefits of Cold Chain Warehousing Solutions

Not many people are familiar with cold chain warehouse solutions. However, if you are in any type of business dealing with perishable items, this is right up your alley. Cold chain warehousing is used to store items that need to be left in cool surroundings and that have a short shelf life. By using them you can prevent your items from spoiling, being attacked by insects and rotting. So, the goal is clear. Life of certain items needs to be prolonged and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by using cold-chain warehousing, also known as cold storage or refrigerated warehousing.

Types of products that are in need of cold chain warehousing 

First, you need to know which items are suitable to be stored in such a place. Not all items respond well to cool temperatures. The last thing you want is investing in something that you do not need, like cold storage. For example, after transporting fruits and vegetables it would be a great solution to store them in cold storage space. Hence, if your business involves some of these products you are on the right path of finding the best possible solution for your business load.

Supermarkets and other stores have a tendency to use cold storage for a lot of their goods that are not in store for sale. 

3 main groups of goods 

-Foods that are considered to be alive – fruits and vegetables

-Processed foods that are considered to be no longer alive – fish, meat and any other products that contain the fish and meat

-Items that do not necessarily need be stored in a cool or freezing atmosphere, but remain the freshest and of highest quality while in it (tobacco, beer, some oils, some types of flour, etc.)

There are two main options 

One of the great things about cold storage units is that there are many different variations. But, there are two main types of systems. First comes the vapor absorption system (VAS), followed by vapor compression system (VCS). These two systems are not cardinally different from one another. Yet, there are some important differences that need to be acknowledged. The main one being the technique in which energy input is fed to the system. To be sure you are making the right choice when making this large purchase, we strongly advise you to speak to an expert. Sooner or later you will have to learn the difference between the two systems.

Main benefits of cold chain warehouse solutions 

Still, you might not be persuaded and convinced that this type of storage will improve your business. Nonetheless, after reading these benefits, it is very likely that the next thing you do will be exploring your options in purchasing a cold storage unit. Cold chain warehousing solutions in combination with transport technologies for air cargo can be one of the best solutions for storing and moving perishable goods.

Fruits and vegetables are items that are very difficult to store because they are very sensitive to temperature and even humidity. 

The array of usage doesn’t limit you 

One great thing about cold storage is that the temperature within the unit can be easily adjusted. That isn’t all. In addition to temperature, humidity can also be controlled. Humidity, just like temperature, can be a huge factor in saving the freshness and quality of the items. These two benefits, with an airtight closing mechanism, make this a great storage option.

Customize to fit your needs 

More modern units can be customized so the temperature range and size of the unit specifically fit your storage needs. For instance, if you do not need freezing conditions, but dry and cool, your needs can be accommodated. This is a perfect option for those that import oils and fats. As a cherry on top, your unit can be fixed or portable. There is an abundance of options. All you have to do is choose the bests options for your business requirements.

Great backup and organizing option

This can be best described in an example. For argument’s sake, let’s say you are a restaurant owner. One day, out of the blue, the power shuts down and there is no electricity in your restaurant. If you are a fan of cold chain warehousing solutions, you might survive the electricity outage without any loses. If all goods are quickly moved and expedited to the cold storage space, it is very likely they will not lose their value and end up as garbage.

In the long run, you are saving money 

The initial investment is not small, but it will certainly save you money in the long run. Surely you know how much goods you’ve tossed in the past years. Imagine preserving and using or selling at least half of what you tossed. That can add up financially. Minimize waste and give yourself an option to purchase items in bigger bulks for a significantly lower price.

Investing in cold storage might initially turn out to be a financial hit, but it will pay off in the long run. Alt text: suitcase filled with dollar bills and with other bills around it.

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Danny Segno is a New York native, but currently, she lives in Boynton Beach Florida. For the past two years, she has been working for Authority Moving Group, a professional moving company. Danny enjoys her job because she likes working with people and helping them. Since she is a customer care specialist, she focuses on customer satisfaction.