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Shipping Strategies for High-Value Cargo

cargo

Shipping Strategies for High-Value Cargo

Shipping cargo of any kind requires taking certain precautions to ensure the shipment arrives at its destination safely. Things get more complicated when high-value cargo is involved. Shipping cargo that includes unique pieces of art, fine jewelry, electronics, luxury apparel, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and high-end food is riddled with even more risk. Any company can use a variety of shipping strategies for high-value cargo. The main aim, however, is always to completely eliminate the risk of damaging, losing, or anyone stealing the items. The strategies have to account for an optimal delivery route and provide security at each stage of shipping – transshipment, transport, and storage.

How does cargo theft happen?

Most logistics companies worth their salt are able to ensure their shipments of high-value cargo do not get lost or damaged by taking all of the necessary precautions. However, one risk that is getting increasingly harder to eliminate is that of theft. If the company’s capacity is tight, this might force them to work with carriers they don’t have longstanding relationships with. This can open up the door for sophisticated theft. People who do this know a lot about the luxury goods supply chain. They are able to obtain the right credentials, or at least look like they did.

If they don’t opt for fraud, they will opt for hijacking. Different territories around the world report different criminal patterns. Shipping companies have to toe the line of providing the best and most effective security strategies for the shipping of high-value cargo without their surcharges skyrocketing. Through careful planning, identifying problem areas, and mitigating risks, a company can develop successful shipping strategies for high-value cargo.

Speed

One of the simplest ways of eliminating the risk of theft when it comes to high-value cargo is to expedite the entire shipping process. The more quickly it happens, the fewer opportunities there are for something to go wrong. Picking the right timing can both help with the speediness of the delivery as well as further lowering the risks. For example, it is advisable to avoid the shipping of luxury items during weekends and holidays. The company should also plan the route meticulously. In turn, it should require the drivers to check in with the dispatcher at regular intervals as well as report any detours.

Expedited shipping requires a lot of careful planning and ensuring the security of the entire supply chain. Properly preparing the shipments for transit, monitoring the security measures, and ensuring visibility of the shipment throughout the process are all important strategies to ensure the safety of high-value cargo.

Building trust

Unfortunate incidents are more likely to happen when dealing with new partners companies don’t have sufficient experience with. Creating lasting business relationships means staying informed and involved in every part of the shipping process. It is one way to ensure your high-value cargo arrives at its destination safely at the allotted time. Building the trust between a company and its partners requires a lot of work on the ground. This includes regular visits to the facilities, educating the personnel about security threats and how to spot them, and learning about the language, infrastructure, and common practices of new countries they do business in.

Security measures

Shipping strategies for high-value cargo usually involve several different security measures. Some of the common combinations are using box trailers or anti-slash curtains, dedicated trucks, carefully selecting and training carriers, and having fixed parking instructions. It is also important to ensure that the shipment is monitored at all points of transport. Visibility means following a shipment from the pick up to its final destination. Some of the tools used for this include barcoding, RFID tags, and GPS trackers.

Another one of the great strategies for preventing theft is hiding the fact that the shipment is anything worth stealing. Checking the regulations and working within their confines can help you make the documentation as generic as possible. As much as they can, shippers try to use generic terms or code instead of listing specific information about the shipper and consignee. This is particularly important to apply to the description of the high-value cargo.

Furthermore, it might even be a good idea to limit access to sensitive information within the shipping company itself. It is also important to require a sign-off of count and condition whenever the shipment changes hands.

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Neal Samson is a freelance writer with extensive working experience in the logistics industry. He mostly writes articles for companies like Tik Tok Moving and Storage and covers a variety of different topics related to logistics, shipping, and moving.

coast

AMERICA’S LEADING PORTS FROM COAST TO COAST

What makes a well-functioning port? Let us count the ways. There are a number of factors that contribute to the success of a port. First is location. A port should be in a region with natural resources, access to transportation and enough space for future growth. Second, it should have access to funding through government or private investment. Without this, infrastructure that facilitates the transport of goods can’t be built—tanks, cranes, quays and jetties, for example.

Third, a port should be able to accommodate ships. Does the port provide easy access during low and high tides? How well are the facilities maintained, particularly during flooding, droughts, or in extreme weather? Great ports also have the resources needed to function, including piers, stacking yards, and warehouses. And last, for the ports with an eye toward the future, they should also have access to land that will help with expansion. It will provide easy access to transport—river, rail, road.

A great port is the rare amalgam of art and science—like these leading American ports from coast to coast.

1. Port of New York and New Jersey

With 72 percent of the first port of calls on the East Coast, the Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest in the region. It has contributed to the New York City area becoming an affluent commercial district nationally and globally. The largest port on the East Coast is also the third-largest in the United States.

It supports 400,000 jobs and has generated almost $8.5 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues. It has facilitated more than 85 million tons of cargo worth more than $211 billion. Its top exports are wood pulp, wood and articles of wood, and plastics. Top imports are beverages, plastic and machinery parts. New York and New Jersey is No. 3 nationally for the total volume of exports, the highest on the East Coast, behind the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

2. Ports of Tacoma and Seattle

The Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma—both located in Washington State and jointly operated by the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA)—is the fourth-largest container gateway. The NWSA, by way of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma, also ships bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargos and vehicles. These ports provide a gateway for major distribution points in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and East Coast.

The NWSA is also a key trade partner with Asia. International trade generated was worth $75.3 billion in 2017. Domestic trade, which includes routes through Puget Sound on the way to Alaska, generated $5.4 billion in 2015, according to the NWSA. The No. 1 gateway for refrigerated exports, the NWSA ports helped generate more than $4.3 billion in revenue for Washington State.

3. Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles isn’t quite located in the city of Los Angeles but is 25 miles south in the San Pedro Bay. Nonetheless, the Port of LA is the No. 1 container port in the U.S. in terms of cargo volume going in and out of the port. It includes 7,500 acres of land and 43 miles of waterfront. The Port of LA has passenger and cargo terminals that accommodate containers, cruise lines, automobiles, dry and liquid bulk, breakbulk and warehouse stage space.

Also, the No. 1 container port in the Western Hemisphere since 2000, the Port of LA moved more than 9.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2019. The port is currently undergoing a $2.6 billion infrastructural redevelopment project to strengthen its economic arm and cargo efficiency. The gateway for trade with Asia has a diverse array of exports ranging from avocados and zinc.

4. Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach is the No. 2 busiest container seaport in the U.S., which is fitting because it operates in concert with its numero uno neighbor the Port of Los Angeles. Long Beach’s port supports one in five jobs in its city and contributes to $200 billion in trade annually. The port handled more than 8 million TEUs in 2018, its busiest year. Its Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project is pioneering sustainable practices through a 10-year construction program. It will redevelop two older terminals to create a more advanced, greener container terminal.

A western gateway to Asia, the port has more than 90 percent of its shipments bound for East Asian countries. The Port of Long Beach boasts 3,520 acres of land, 4,600 acres of water, 10 piers, 62 berths and 68 post-Panamax gantry cranes. It also handles 82.3 million metric tons of cargo per year.

5. Port of Houston

Houston might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think “international city,” yet the Gulf Coast location serves as a gateway to various countries. That explains why its port is built for international trade—to the point that it’s the No. 1 U.S. port in total foreign waterborne tonnage, with imports and exports combined.

The Port of Houston contributes 20 percent of the GDP for the state of Texas, worth $339 billion. With 69 percent of all U.S. Gulf Coast container traffic, the Port of Houston is the largest container port. It also prioritizes air quality in the local region through the use of alternative fuels and low-emission equipment and vehicles.

6. South Carolina Ports

Here are two winning statistics: the South Carolina Ports boast more crane moves per hour than any other U.S. port (37), and it also exported more than 194,000 vehicles in 2019. Opened in 1942, the South Carolina Ports Authority consists of public maritime terminals at the Port of Charleston, the Port of Georgetown, and inland ports in Dillion and Greer.

Deep channels accommodate vessels up to 48 feet, and ships are two hours sailing distance from open ocean to South Carolina Ports. Turnaround times for trucks at the gates are 23 minutes with nine minutes at the interchange gate. Transportation is also amenable with interstate access within two miles of all South Carolina Ports, and rail access through CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads.

7. Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland waters are 50 feet deep to accommodate vessels that hold capacities of up to 18,000 TEUs. This up-and-coming port has transportation partners that include Union Pacific and BNSF Railway. International accounts for 92 percent of the port’s trade, with 78 percent being with Asia, 11 percent with Europe and 2 percent apiece with Australia/New Zealand and Oceania and other foreign countries. The Port of Oakland is one of the three major container ports in California that account for more than 50 percent of total U.S. cargo volume.

The port contributes to more than 73,000 jobs in the Oakland region, and more than 827,000 in the United States. Growth With Care, a five-year growth plan the port released in 2018, aims to bring in more business, with a goal of 2.6 million TEUs and an 8 percent increase in containerized cargo volume by 2022. Investing in large projects and focusing more on sustainable practices throughout the port are also part of the growth plan.

8. PortMiami

The Port of Miami (a.k.a. PortMiami) is the U.S. container port that is closest to the Panama Canal. It provides global access to Florida and much of the rest of the United States. It’s also the closest East Coast port to Mexico.

More than $1 billion was invested in 2019 to make PortMiami even more accessible globally. It has a deeper dredge to welcome large cargo vessels, and on-port rail provides alternative transportation. The port also has an underwater tunnel that connects to the interstate to keep port traffic off of the highway. PortMiami is located strategically at the nexus of north-south and east-west trade lines.

9. Port of South Louisiana

This 54-mile long port sits at the intersection of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which provides easy distribution for products at the domestic and international levels. The Port of Louisiana has three main interstates that connect to the port. It is also served by six major gas and oil lines, transporting more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day.

In 2019, the Port of Louisiana had 3,495 calls from oceangoing vessels, and 54,921 barge calls. The total throughput for the year totaled more than 258 million tons of cargo through vessels and barges. Port of South Louisiana’s Foreign Trade Zone 124 was ranked No. 1 by Merchandise Magazine based on admitted products worth $51.8 billion. The port, which is also ranked No. 1 domestically for total throughput tonnage, boasts the largest grain port in America. Air cargo is accessible through the Louis Armstrong International Airport.

10. Port of Corpus Christi

Operating since 1926, this 36-mile Texas port provides a 47-foot deep channel for domestic and international trade. It provides access through rail and road, connecting to two major interstate highways (37 and 181) and three railroads (BNSF, Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific). It is the third-largest port domestically and No. 2 for crude oil exports.

With a warm climate that allows for easy operation year-round, the Port of Corpus Christi is also a part of the Intracoastal Waterway that stretches from Brownville, Texas, to Boston, Massachusetts, along the Atlantic Coast. The port also implements renewable energy practices by using wind energy for breakbulk and heavy-lift cargo.

11. Port of Mobile

The Port of Mobile carries more than $22.4 billion in economic value to Alabama. The only deepwater port in the state, it sits on the Mobile River. It houses 5 million square feet of warehouse and open-yard space and has a channel depth of 45 feet. Its tonnage in 2018 totaled 26.8 million tons.

Major imports for the Port of Mobile include heavy lift and oversized cargo, containers, coal, aluminum, iron and steel. Major exports include heavy lift and oversized cargo, containers, coal, lumber, and plywood. The port has 1,500 miles of inland and Intracoastal waterways. It serves the Gulf of Mexico, the Ohio and Tennessee river valleys and the Great Lakes. It is owned and operated by the Alabama State Port Authority.

12. Port of Greater Baton Rouge

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge sits where the Mississippi River and Gulf Intercoastal Waterway converge. Its 45-foot shipping channel is upheld by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This port also offers access to intermodal transportation via connections to interstate highways.

The Midwest and other U.S. regions can be accessed through the Port of Baton Rouge’s 15,000 miles of inland waterways. The port also provides access to the Gulf of Mexico, Latin America and the Panama Canal. Its bulk and breakbulk cargo include asphalt, aggregates, limestone, barite, carbon black, coal and coffee.

13. Port of Plaquemines

Twenty miles south of the Port of New Orleans (and also in Louisiana) is the Port of Plaquemines, which boasts of more than 100 miles of deep-draft access, with a minimum of 45 feet. It’s within the same Plaquemines Parish where you will find the unincorporated community of Venice, which supports oil and gas tonnage. Venice has pipelines, petroleum infrastructure and draft wharfage with both deep and shallow water to support vessels carrying oil supply.

The Port of Plaquemines, which can be accessed by 33 U.S. states, has annual tonnage exceeding 55 million tons. Popular imports include coke, carbon black feedstock, crude and fuel oil. Exports include coal, grain-corn, soybean and wheat.

14. Port of Metropolitan St. Louis

That is how the city of St. Louis, Missouri’s port authority refers to the important trade hub in the Midwest. The 70-mile port is the second-largest inland port in the U.S. Its cargoes include grain, coal, chemicals, and petroleum products.

Metro St. Louis is also the 17th largest port in the U.S., with an intermodal transportation system that includes six Class One railroads, seven interstates, and two international airports. It has access to two foreign trade zones and contributes to thousands of jobs in Missouri and Illinois. The Port of Metropolitan St. Louis ships more than 36 tons of freight annually. It has 16 public terminals and more than 130 piers, wharves, docks, and fleeting.

15. Port of Portland

Oregon’s Port of Portland may be on the West Coast, but it is a central trade hub for the Midwest, having shipped more than 4 million tons of grain worldwide in 2017. It has been an auto gateway since 1953, importing and exporting vehicles manufactured by Ford, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda. More than 300,000 automobiles were imported or exported through the Port of Portland’s terminals in 2019.

This port’s intermodal transportation includes rail and interstate highways. With three airports, four terminals, and five business parks, the Port of Portland has also helped generate more than $6.4 billion a year for the region. It has also helped spur the creation of 27,000 jobs and contributes to more than $1.8 billion in wages.

16. Port of Pascagoula

More than 32 million tons of cargo pass through this Southeastern Mississippi port each year. The Port of Pascagoula is Mississippi’s largest seaport. This port provides easy access for shipment through the Gulf of Mexico. Shipping lanes can be accessed within two hours from open ocean, and the channels are 42 feet deep.

The Port of Pascagoula is operated by the Jackson County Port Authority. Popular imports are forest products, crude oil, and chemicals. Exports are forest products, paper products, petroleum products, chemicals and project cargo. It ranks No. 23 in total trade—domestic plus international—with a volume of 27 million tons in 2018, according to statistics from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Each of these ports fulfills different factors that help them to successfully function in their respective regions. Whether it’s the depth of the channels to allow for varying size ships to dock or easy access to transportation, these ports help to facilitate domestic and international trade. In turn, they help spur the creation of jobs and stronger local, state and national economies. Overall, these ports are helping to shape the United States economy for the better—one import, one export, at a time.

GSO

Western U.S. package delivery company GSO completes brand conversion to General Logistics Systems US, Inc.

Three years after West Coast package delivery company GSO was acquired by international delivery group GLS, the company has officially changed its name to General Logistics Systems US, Inc. (GLS US).”

“GLS is an international company with 30 years of experience and allows me to proudly say, we now have global experience delivered locally,” said GLS-US CEO, Randall Swart. “Over the past year, GSO has gone through many exciting changes, and we remain committed to providing the best service to our valued customers. In 2020 we will celebrate 25 years doing what we love — delivering packages as an extension of our customers’ businesses.”

Swart said the company looks forward to using the knowledge and experience of the GLS Group to invest in new technologies, new facilities, new vehicles and future growth to support customers’ growing shipping needs. “We are excited about the potential to accelerate our growth and presence in the market,” he said.

GLS US, which serves California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah, is converting all trucks, drop boxes and supplies to GLS.

GLS acquired California-based GSO in October 2016. Since then, the two companies have worked seamlessly to integrate systems. The conversion to GLS reflects shared values between the two companies – reliability, security, transparency, flexibility, and sustainability. Customers started seeing the GLS brand in the Northwest when the company bought Seattle-based Postal Express in 2017 as part of a focused geographic expansion.

GLS US continues to expand and provide unmatched Priority Overnight, Ground and Freight delivery services throughout the Western United States. It has 2,300 U.S. employees, 48 depots, two hubs, and a customer service center to support more than 20,000 customers with a high-quality level of service including later pickup times, earlier deliveries, and proactive package tracking – all at competitive rates.

“Throughout the years, our service offerings and technology have evolved based on the needs of our customers,” Swart said. “We are committed to continue making improvements to ensure the best shipping experience possible. We’re growing quickly and are committed to living up to our reputation of providing all our customers with the same excellent delivery and customer service standards we’ve built over the years.”

GLS US will continue to offer customers an overnight delivery footprint unmatched by the national carriers with significantly reduced transit times across the West Coast using its ground and freight services. “We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for our customers and our company,” Swart said.

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GLS, General Logistics Systems B.V. (headquartered in Amsterdam), provides reliable, high-quality deferred parcel services for over 200,000 customers, complemented by logistics and express services. Through organic and inorganic expansion, the Group has grown to provide network coverage of 45 countries via wholly owned and partner companies, and it is globally connected via contractual agreements. Seventy central transshipment points and about 1,400 depots and agencies are at GLS’ disposal. With its ground-based network GLS is one of the leading parcel service providers in Europe. In the financial year 2018/19 GLS achieved revenue of €3.3 billion. For more information about the Western U.S. parcel and freight delivery services offered by GLS, visit www.gls-us.com.

market

Despite the Name, the Refrigerated Container Market is Red Hot, Spurring Industry Moves

The global shipping containers market is poised to experience significant market valuation and robust growth through 2025, according to industry research published last year. Sorry about the temperature mix you are about to withstand, but the hottest segment of that market in that study was refrigerated containers, a.k.a. reefer.

Be they 20-foot, 40-foot or even higher cubes, “reefer containers are projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the product type category during the forecast period,” which was 2017-2025 for Persistence Market Research. (See https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/market-research/shipping-containers-market.asp.)

The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the period is forecast by PMR to be 10.2 percent for the reefer segment, with the 20- and 40-foot sub segments expected to push the positive growth. It’s interesting to note that this factoid was part of a report that more prominently played up the predicted 8.6 percent CAGR for the dry container segment.

That said (or, more accurately, written), it is telling that PMR expects the overall container market to register a “robust” CAGR of 8.3 percent throughout the eight-year period, even with the forecast of a slowing global economy in 2020.

“The growth of the shipping containers at a global level is pushed by the growth in the economy, rising seaborne trade, increasing demand for highly efficient and superior capacity shipping containers, growth in sales of specialized shipping containers by department of defense and rising trend of increasing use of remote container management (RCM) solutions,” PMR finds.

There have been anecdotal indications of the reefer market’s continued growth. Universal Africa Lines (UAL), a conventional ocean transportation carrier that specializes in handling project cargo, breakbulk and containers, boasts a fleet of more than 4,000 containers including reefers, high cubes, open tops and flat racks with the ability to provide a multitude of shipping options including door-to-door service. Last summer, UAL announced its call at Port of Houston’s City Docks as part of its U.S. Gulf/Mexico to West Africa liner service.

Port of Houston was attractive to UAL due to the available dedicated laydown area for project cargoes and berth availability, both of which provided added flexibility to the carrier’s multipurpose fleet.

Cogoport, a leading digital freight logistics business in India, announced in July 2019 the launch of reefer cargo services to and from destinations around the globe. “We are meeting significant demand for reefer exports to North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and to those importing refrigerated cargoes–enabling SME [small-to-medium enterprise] shippers all over India to deliver better productivity, service and profitability when moving their perishable cargoes,” said Cogoport CEO and founder Purnendu Shekhar at the time.

India has experienced “rapid and sustained growth in refrigerated exports during the past decade with commodities like fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts, meat, pharmaceuticals and chemicals driving demand for reefer import and export services,” explained Shekhar’s company in a press release.

“We have had a great experience working with Cogoport, moving onions to different corners of the world–saving us time and budget,” says Ankit Begwani, CEO and founder of BegwaniGlobal. “Like many other SMEs, we are also seeing huge demand for shipping of perishable cargoes, not least for fruit and vegetable exports to Malaysia and Dubai. This requires high operational output, optimization of shipments and customer satisfaction for delivering goods on time. Every cent matters to every SME business, and Cogoport has demonstrated that it can help deliver that value with better rates, better margins and better visibility.”

The reefer demand is not going one way in India, where the rise of the middle class has created a greater desire for refrigerated imports, particularly from Germany, South Korea and Russia, according to the advisory from Cogoport, which is headquartered in Mumbai and has offices in Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

Perhaps the greatest indication of reefer’s rise comes in the form of technological advances that different industry players seem to announce almost daily.

Miramar, Florida-based Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), the largest wireless network operator at sea, and Globe Tracker, the fastest growing provider of global supply chain IoT visibility for cold-chain, announced their partnership in November to bring real-time reefer monitoring to Seaboard Marine, the largest marine cargo shipping line in Central, South America and the Caribbean.

Under the multi-year, multi-ship agreement, Seaboard Marine becomes the world’s first container ocean line to implement a truly portable, fully 24/7 monitored, 4G LTE based private cellular and integrated satellite communication network for containers on vessels. The innovation and expertise from WMS and Denmark-based Globe Tracker—whose North American headquarters are in Sarasota, Florida—results in “a novel vessel network that is seamless, interoperable, and provides end-to-end enhanced visibility and real-time connectivity, both in the cloud and on the vessel at sea,” according to the companies.

They add that Seaboard Marine also becomes the world’s first ocean line to implement full IoT visibility across their fleet of intermodal assets, including reefers, gensets, chassis and vessels—all on a single integrated easy to use platform.

“By IoT equipping our Controlled Atmosphere (CA) reefer fleet and other critical assets, we are well-positioned to provide more responsive cold chain services for our trade lanes, which facilitates complex processes such as USDA cold treatment,” noted Seaboard Marine Vice President Piero Buitano in the announcement.

“The vessel system also provides real-time alerts to crew technicians, so problems can be quickly detected and corrected, if necessary, thereby increasing temperature compliance,” added Frederick Urbina, Seaboard’s Refrigerated Services manager.

Noted Pramod Arora, WMS president and CEO, of Seaboard Marine: “They have been a valuable partner in pushing us to innovate first-to-market solutions that we are now deploying within their fleet. We look forward to continuing to partner with Seaboard Marine for future innovations.”

Globe Tracker had already started the partnering mojo in September, when it announced having teamed with Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based SeaCube Containers, a global leader in refrigerated shipping containers and gensets, to provide IoT-enabled gensets for Ocean Network Express (ONE), the sixth-largest shipping line in the world.

The cutting-edge GT technology provides cellular communication of operational parameters from gensets, including fuel level, battery voltage, events and alarms and even remote shut-off capability for certain genset brands.

“The growing demand for greater tracking, transparency, security, diagnostics and asset fleet management using smart technology will continue to be a key driver for leased solutions,” said Greg Tuthill, chief commercial officer at SeaCube, in the joint announcement. “By partnering with Globe Tracker, we will continue to enhance our leading-edge technology solutions and expand our commitment to the intermodal industry by providing smart asset technology leased products.”

John Harnett, senior director Marine and Intermodal at Globe Tracker, added he was pleased to be working with SeaCube “in providing this best-in-class genset solution to ONE. In genset telematics, we are the only provider integrated into the micro-controller of two out of the three leading brands in North America. This provides ONE with the most robust amount of data and assists in setting maintenance intervals, reducing maintenance costs, extending asset life, monitoring fuel consumption and having full operational visibility of their genset assets.”

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Carrier Transicold, which is under the umbrella of Farmington, Connecticut’s United Technologies Corp., used the Nov. 5-7  Intermodal Europe 2019 in Hamburg, Germany, to unveil its new TripLINK digital tool that is designed to make shipping perishables simple, transparent and reliable worldwide.

The tool digitally connects customers to updates on their assets, including vital cargo health information. TripLINK software securely gathers and analyzes machine and cargo-health data that it wirelessly obtains from telematics hardware in the refrigerated container and the micro controller.

“Our aim in unveiling these new digital solutions is to bring to our customers convenience, visibility and actionable intelligence, ultimately to derive more savings for them,” said Kartik Kumar, vice president & general manager, Carrier Global Container Refrigeration. “At Carrier, the future is now. Through leveraging the latest cutting-edge technology, especially on the digital front, we provide our customers practical solutions they only once dreamed possible.”

Also part of a new suite of digital solutions is the Container eCommerce portal, which began supporting customers in Southeast Asia in mid-November. The portal put on view Carrier Transicold’s full catalog of refrigerated container unit parts and allowed orders to be placed easily.

Also on display in Germany was Carrier’s new Micro-Link 5 controller, which is billed as the industry’s first wireless connectivity enabled refrigerated container unit controller that is also equipped with advanced diagnostics, allowing service technicians to save time and money by reducing container moves and the need to restack units to retrieve critical data or conduct troubleshooting. And a new DataLINE Connect mobile app allows customers to work directly with a refrigerated unit equipped to receive data via a smartphone or tablet.

Staying in Europe, but traveling back the previous month to October 2019, CEVA Logistics opened a new integrated, end-to-end cold chain facility at DP World London Gateway in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, UK.

More than 50 customers, including representatives of French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM, attended the unveiling of The Chill Hub, which CEVA describes as a state-of-the-art facility with dedicated areas for handling pharmaceuticals, fresh and frozen produce, beverage products and flowers as well as other goods requiring temperature specific handling and storage.

The location is considered strategic because a deep-sea port is on the same site as the logistics park where The Chill Hub rests. London Gateway, which has links to more than 110 ports in 60 different countries, is considered the UK’s No. 1 reefer hub.

“With its excellent road and rail connections, our best in class warehouse management systems and direct port access, the Chill Hub is a powerful demonstration of the synergies between CEVA Logistics and CMA CGM,” said Nicolas Sartini, CEO of Baar, Switzerland-based CEVA Logistics, which has offices worldwide, including all over North America.

“This state-of-the-art facility will enable us to offer a unique value proposition to our shipper customers,” Sartini continued, “providing a faster delivery of goods through an energy-efficient building. We can also give full visibility and control of the entire inbound operation through The Chill Hub.”

CargoSmart Limited—which leverages technologies including artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, as well as a deep understanding of ocean shipping for its transportation and logistics clients—announced in November its new Connected Reefer Solution. The one-stop, AI and IoT-enabled reefer cargo management system for ocean carriers and shippers features end-to-end information transparency, including enhanced reefer container Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI) support, real-time container status monitoring updates, and predictive cargo arrival status.

“CargoSmart Connected Reefer Solution provides users with a one-stop, hassle-free solution that seamlessly integrates IoT-enabled containers with cloud-based monitoring software and APIs [application programming interfaces],” said Lionel Louie, CargoSmart’s chief commercial officer, in the announcement. “With the cutting-edge technologies and the vast volume of data collected, CargoSmart Connected Reefer Solution brings an unprecedented level of real-time cargo status visibility, empowers more accurate and responsive planning, and significantly drives down operation costs for carriers and shippers.”

Louie was not blowing smoke. CargoSmart reefer management was the winner of the Lloyd’s List 2019 “Excellence in Supply Chain Management” Asia Pacific and the 2019 TIBCO Trailblazer Visionary awards. And the solution received this praise from Li Dong, general manager of COSCO Shipping’s Equipment Management Center: “In addition to heightened visibility to reefer cargo status, COSCO Shipping replaced manual PTI with AI-enabled PTI, bringing significant enhancements in cost-efficiency savings as well as reefer management capabilities.”

cargo

Logistics Experts Take to the Skies for Air-Cargo Solutions

A major U.S. air carrier sought to fill the void caused by leading same-day delivery services implementing their own fleets in the sky. A Midwest zoo needed to fly in from the West Coast its newest tenants. And a growing air cargo company required logistical expertise to take itself to the next level.  

Whether it’s managing airborne cargo networks, moving animals across the country or breaking air carriers into the delivery business, seasoned logistics professionals proved they were on it. Witness the following air cargo solutions.

Delta Cargo and Roadie

With UPS, FedEx and Amazon having acquired their own planes in recent years to cut down on costs associated with booking flights on major air carriers, Delta Cargo recently turned the tables by getting into the ground transportation business. Based in Atlanta, Delta partnered with Roadie, a local same-day delivery service, to recently launch DASH Door-to-Door and mark an industry-first for a U.S. passenger airline.

The 24/7 pick-up and delivery service, from your business or home, is available from Atlanta to around 60 U.S. cities with more being added all the time. Pairing TSA-approved drivers with air cargo, Delta Cargo and Roadie boast that DASH is the fastest cross-country door-to-door service in the country—and that it’s competitively priced. 

Matt Weisenburg, Delta’s director of Cargo Strategy and Alliances, referred to DASH Door-to-Door as “a game-changer” for Delta, as Roadie has more than 150,000 verified drivers and the largest local same-day delivery footprint nationwide, reaching 89 percent of all U.S. households. DASH includes handling of time-critical shipments in industries including medical, manufacturing, automotive, industrial parts and more. 

 “Customers want what they want when they want it,” said Marc Gorlin, Roadie’s founder and CEO. “This partnership means we can deliver—whether it’s across town or across the country.”

Brookfield Zoo and FedEx

A female sea lion, about age 2, was found in May 2018 at Westward Beach in Malibu, California, where she was unable to care for herself after being weaned from her mother. When staff from the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro rescued her, the sea lion was severely underweight, extremely malnourished and suffering from multiple puncture wounds and fishhooks in her body and one of her eyes, which led to a ruptured cornea. Vision in her good eye was limited.

Six months later and about 90 miles away in Dana Point, California, a second female sea lion, also about 2, was found dehydrated, malnourished and obviously unable to fend for herself. Rescuers from Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach discovered she had lacerations on one of her flippers and chest from a possible boat propeller or predator bite. X-rays later revealed she had 30 to 40 stones in her stomach and, once those passed, she started eating again and was released back to the wild in January 2019. But a month later she was found again at Dana Point Harbor looking emaciated, and a new exam revealed she had a cataract in her right eye.

Experts agreed neither sea lion could survive in the wild, so the respective mammal care centers began looking for permanent homes for them. The National Marine Fisheries Service reached out to Chicago Zoological Society, which agreed that Brookfield Zoo could take in the sea lions. They were introduced to each other at the Laguna Beach mammal center, and animal care specialists from the Chicago zoo flew to California to meet both sea lions, get familiar with their distinct personalities and make arrangements to take them back to Illinois. 

FedEx generously supplied the plane with the precious cargo aboard that arrived at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sept. 18, 2019. The zoo named one sea lion Carolyn after Carolyn Frisch, the FedEx employee who made the travel arrangements. The second sea lion was named Sabiena (pronounced Sa-bean-ah) after Sabiena Foster, FedEx’s Chicago regional communications manager and the company’s No. 1 community volunteer.

Frisch and Dan Englund, who together manage the FedEx Live Animal Desk, have a combined 60 years+ experience in moving animals around the world. “I’ve gone to the Brookfield Zoo as a child, have visited with my own children and now I have a namesake there!” said an excited Frisch. “In my 30 years of shipping animals, I’ve never been so honored. There could be no greater acknowledgement of the long-standing relationship I’ve had with the Brookfield Zoo.”

Menzies Aviation and Hermes Logistics Technologies

Operating cargo handling facilities in nearly 40 airports across six continents and handling more than 1.6 million tons of cargo in 2018, Menzies Aviation needed a Cargo Management System (CMS) for its global network. The London Heathrow-based company recently selected the flagship CMS from Hermes Logistics Technologies, the UK’s leading consumer delivery specialist. 

Hermes 5 (H5), the latest version of the CMS, was scheduled to be rolled out at Menzies cargo facilities during the current first quarter. The standardization and open connectivity of the H5 platform allows for complete compatibility and data-sharing across all Menzies’ logistics facilities and services, which cater to customers small, medium and large.

“After benchmarking the industry, we selected H5 as our cargo management system because it was clear Hermes offers the most advanced solutions in the market,” said Robert Fordree, EVP Cargo, Menzies Aviation. “Hermes is in our DNA, we have a shared history and working with them means that we are uniquely positioned to take full advantage of the depth of functionality H5 has to offer.”

Fordree adds that “H5 will be integral to our toolset for achieving our growth trajectory.” Yuval Baruch, CEO of Bracknell, UK-based Hermes, agrees with that sentiment, although he notes Menzies Aviation will be building up “from an already strong foundation.”

Hermes 5 has been adopted by airports, airlines and ground handlers across the globe, including Hanoi Airport, RSA National, LuxairCARGO and CHS Trade in Slovakia since its 2018 launch. “Hermes 5,” Baruch says, “represents the future of cargo management solutions, its open architecture allows for full integration into cargo ecosystems, from warehouses to airports.”

Currently, the CEO and his team are gearing up for the Feb. 14 Hermes Tech Hub in Leeds, where the theme will be, “For the Love of Innovation: How Tech is Driving Personalization in the Retail and Logistics Sector.”

ltl freight shipping

Benefits of LTL Freight Shipping

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is a method of shipping that uses either LTL carriers or parcel carriers. The sticking point of this type of shipping is that it allows for people to put together their smaller loads (less than 150lbs, 68kg) and then ship them together with other people’s packages. This allows shipping companies to make shipments much more economically than with the FTL (full truckload) alternatives. But, besides economical benefits, there are other benefits of LTL freight shipping that you need to be aware of in order to incorporate it with your business. So, let us take a look at why LTL freight shipping is comparable and often preferable to FTL shipping.

Top Benefits of LTL Freight Shipping

The fastest way to ship your packages is to have a shipping company pick them up, load them and directly transport them to your desired location. Unfortunately, this is often the least economical way of doing it. In order to make shipping cheaper and more eco-friendly, shipping companies often have to use alternative ways of shipping. And one of the better ones is LTL. Even though it can be slower than direct FTL shipping, it allows for a much better cost and fuel efficiency. And, with modern technologies and regular use, it can be just as efficient as FTL shipping.

Shipping Cost

One of the largest benefits of LTL freight shipping is the reduced shipping cost. Since this method of shipping is based on smaller loads from various clients, it manages to reduce the overall shipping cost for everyone. This is due to the fact that by using LTL, shipping companies put together multiple smaller loads. By doing so they manage to reduce the fuel and the number of vehicles necessary to transport their loads. If they were to ship client by client, they wouldn’t be able to fill the vehicles to their maximum capacity (hence the less than truckload). But, by lumping up items together, LTL shipping manages to save cost on transport, while allowing the same service as FTL.

Eco-Friendliness

More and more companies are turning towards eco-friendliness as a necessary mode of operation. And, once you take a look at our current rate of climate change and our carbon footprint, you’ll also be hardpressed to look for eco-friendly solutions. Luckily, when it comes to shipping, LTL is one of the greener options. By reducing the amount of fuel and vehicles necessary for shipping, LTL allows shipping companies to be much greener. They are also able to figure out optimal pathways, due to more regular shipping that is common to LTL. So, if you are looking for an easy way to make your shipments greener, simply employ LTL freight shipping.

Increased Safety

The first way that LTL freight shipping increases the safety of your items is with ample packing. Companies like Triple 7 Movers will first make sure that your possessions are properly packed. Then they will repack them each time the total LTL shipment is altered. By reapplying protective covers, they ensure the safety of your possessions from both physical and environmental harm. Individual loads are usually either packed on a parcel and then secured, or the company puts them in protective containers. This allows for maximum safety during shipping as well as easy handling.

Another safety feature of LTL freight shipping is that there is almost no chance of a package getting misplaced. By using tracking technologies, safety measures, and notification requirements, moving companies ensure that any package on board is well looked after. Furthermore, shipping companies usually organize LTL shipping routes with as few stops as possible. This allows them to keep packages safe for the entirety of the trip.

Better Organization

The biggest worry people have about LTL freight shipping is the supposed lack of availability. After all, with an FTL, you have the control of timing and the necessary route. Meanwhile, the LTL shipments are often limited by their route and the necessary drops. So, can better organization really be one of the benefits of LTL freight shipping? Well, as it turns out, it can. LTL freight shipping is ideal for customers who have regular shipments. Shipping companies often group up regular customers together. This allows them to achieve a greater degree of reliability and consistency. Along with regular shipments, companies also use automation to figure out optimal routes.

But, the true beauty of modern LTL freight shipping is that you don’t have to rely on your shipping company’s skills alone. Modern technologies allow clients to track their packages and get live notifications of any delays or setbacks. Therefore, with LTL freight shipping, you should be able to run your business and both send and receive your shipments with a high degree of reliability.

Shipping Options

Most shipping companies offer various shipping options. These options can come at a higher cost, but they can also make your shipping much better organized. Some of them are:

Expedient shipping – You can use this option if you want your goods to arrive faster than standard transit time. This option can often be quite costly, but it is quite useful for emergency shipping.

Liftgate – Does you freight exceeds 100 pounds? Then you should opt for Liftgate. Also, consider using it if the receiving location doesn’t have a clear dock for shipments.

Limited access – You can use this type of LTL for areas that have limited access due to safety reasons. So, for your construction sites or rural locations, you would probably want to choose this kind of shipping.

Custom delivery window – If you need your shipment to arrive within a specific period, you can opt for custom delivery windows. Most companies will deal with your package so that it fits their workload. This allows them to deal with transport cheaply and efficiently. So, this option can also be costly and should, therefore, be used with ample forethought.

shipping containers

Which Items are Prohibited in Shipping Containers

While shipping undeniably makes the relocation process much easier and significantly less complicated, the shipping practices do have some restrictions. It is extremely important to be well-informed on what items are prohibited in shipping containers, so as not to encounter any difficulties, delays, or serious problems in your attempt to bring this process to end successfully. Bear in mind that each and every container is inspected in detail prior to shipping. Thus, do not try to ignore the strict regulations regarding the prohibited items in containers. 

To help you handle the whole process with ease and without any potential inconveniences, we have made a comprehensive list that can eliminate your dilemma and clear away all your doubts on what items are prohibited in shipping containers. Having studied these closely, you can start orchestrating the shipping operation and commence a search for ways to negotiate better shipping terms.

Flammable and toxic items

Flammable and toxic items are on the top position of our list for understandable reasons. These items can considerably harm not only the belongings within the shipping container but the whole shipment as well. While some of these are easy to identify, others come as a surprise. Hence, it is always a good strategy to obtain information on allowables and non-allowables from your shipping company.

The flammable and toxic items you are to avoid putting in a shipping container are batteries of all types, aerosols, household cleaners and solvents, nail polish and nail polish remover, fireworks, various chemicals, oils, fertilizers, and similar. The list is extensively long, so once again we need to emphasize the necessity of consulting your shipping company and relevant institutions on this point. Only this way will you get peace of mind and confirmation that none of your items are among non-allowables.

Plants and animals

There are numerous pros of maritime shipping, but being able to ship animals and plants is not one of them by any means. Although it does not take too much thinking to understand the reason behind this, there are still those who are willing to give this option a try nevertheless. Understandably, the outcome of such a decision always includes severe consequences. Namely, no living being is able to survive a few-day shipping in a firmly closed shipping container without light or fresh air. Moreover, some countries have very strict regulations regarding bringing non-native plants to their territory. Apparently, they feel threatened by plants and seeds potentially infected with dangerous parasites and germs. Eventually, these might affect and endanger their existing vegetation. While it is true that this may sound like an exaggeration, we cannot deny that it is still possible.  

Illegal items 

Even though certain types of items are illegal all over the world, a lot of countries have their own regulations that define legal and illegal items in shipping terms. To avoid any problems and complications, gather enough information on this point.  

Generally, firearms, ammunition, drugs, and some medications definitely need to be mentioned when discussing what items are prohibited in shipping containers. An immense number of countries have strict laws regarding bringing weapons and ammunition across their borders and these need to be obeyed at all times. 

Perishables are prohibited in shipping containers

Although the shipping industry is intensely working on automation that will change the pace for shipping operations, it is still common for containers to be placed in storage for some time until the shipping is finally scheduled. This period is more than enough for perishables to spoil and even damage some of your belongings in the container. Hence, items that are forbidden in these containers include fresh produce, frozen and refrigerated food, and any food containers that have been opened and cannot be firmly closed anymore. 

Items that are not prohibited but yet should not be in shipping containers

Besides the items which are not acceptable because they are hazardous and potentially harmful, there are those which are not prohibited but yet should not be in shipping containers.  These usually have either high material or emotional value and are, most often, considered irreplaceable for the owner. Concerning the period of time these would have to spend in a container, it is a reasonable choice not to go for this option. Otherwise, you risk damaging, losing, or even completely destroying these items irrevocably.

Hence, all the important business or personal documents, jewelry, family albums, money, computer disks and laptops, keys, and cell phones should be kept at hand and not exposed to the risk of being shipped in a container. Depending on their number, these could easily be packed in the essentials bag or box you will take with you.

Conclusion

Knowing what items are prohibited in shipping containers is of utter importance for the success of the shipping process. Should you disobey the restrictions regarding this, you risk going through some major difficulties. In other words, your shipment may be delayed or even canceled. Hence, it is advisable to get all the necessary information and do some research prior to sending your shipping container overseas. This is the only approach to this task that guarantees a positive, completely problem- and stress-free experience.

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David Nelson had worked in the shipping industry quite sometime before he became a copywriter. He has decided to share his knowledge and experience with all those who seek advice in this field. David also follows the latest trends and can provide the necessary information to make any shipping process easy to conduct, be it a part of a relocation or a try to import cargo from Japan with ease, for example. Unsurprisingly, when he is not writing, David is traveling around the globe and exploring new areas. He is a passionate globetrotter indeed.

Shipping

Five Important Ways to Negotiate Better Shipping Terms

The final price of your product or service depends on a wide range of factors. Shrewd people in business know there is more to making profits than keeping your buying price low and selling price high. Additional business expenses can reduce your final margin. These include shipping, marketing, storage, and a range of legal expenses.

Negotiating a low price from your manufacturers is just the beginning. Supply chain negotiation training seminars can teach you several ways to gain value before your products reach your customers.

The shipping industry can offer you notable savings opportunities. To identify these, you have to have a keen eye. In this article, we look at five ways you can apply negotiation training skills to obtain better shipping rates.

Understand the Shipping Terms

Global trade has thrived on the back of shipping and logistics companies for hundreds of years. As a result, the shipping industry has developed a unique culture and language. Whether you are dealing with local or multinational shipping companies, there is a range of terms that you should know.

Terms such as CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and FOB (Free on Board) are used freely in the shipping industry. If you are new to the business, you can learn shipping terms by attending a seminar on the essentials. If you don’t understand the industry’s regular terms, you risk making a deal that can be negative for your business. 

Negotiation training seminars can teach you how to prepare before sitting down to make a deal. You can improve your position by researching the industry before meeting companies. Also, you can carry out mock discussions with shipping company agents. This can give you a feel of the language and questions that may come up during a real negotiation.

Research Possible Hidden Costs

One of the things that can diminish your profits is hidden logistics costs. The final price for your products should factor in all the costs you expect to incur before delivery. Talking to the different authorities that can come into contact with your products in transit can clarify your overall costs. Knowing the factors affecting your shipping rates can help you negotiate to reduce hidden costs.

By working closely with your shipping company, you can identify smart ways to cut down your costs. Many companies have different shipping rates based on weight as well as box dimensions. If you use the standard boxes the shipping company provides, you can save a few dollars on each load.

Develop Your Negotiation Strategy

Once you have understood the market and options available, negotiation training can help you plan your strategy. Writing down your strategy and goals can give you an overview of the entire process. The points listed below are some of the elements taught in negotiations seminars that can help to strengthen your strategy.

Budget

Based on your business model, you should have a price you are not willing to go above. Your strategy should include the ideal and maximum price you are willing to offer for the shipping service.

BATNA

A BATNA is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It refers to a set of alternative options you can take if you cannot reach a viable deal in your negotiations. A well-planned BATNA can help you to recognize a bad deal and give you the confidence to walk away.

Timelines

Time constraints can have a significant impact on your negotiations strategy. The earlier you start discussions with shipping companies, the less pressure you will have to close a deal. Beginning your negotiations early can give you more time to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

The Urgency of Delivery

Your strategy should state how fast you need the products to be delivered once ordered. Same day deliveries often cost more than two or three days of delivery. The delivery time constraints depend on the nature of your products and promises made to your customers.

Payment Terms

Although one-off payment offers come with attractive discounts, they can also be quite risky. Making payments in installments is safer and keeps the shipping company committed until the final payment. Offer well-balanced payment terms that enable your shipping company to deliver your products on time while limiting your financial risk.

Concessions

Well-trained negotiators plan the concessions they are willing to give before discussions begin. In your research, find concessions that can create value for the shipping company and present them in your meeting. The negotiation process can become very challenging if you are too rigid.

Use Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)

According to the World Shipping Council, the intermodal shipping network plays a significant role in the cost and rate of service delivery. An intermodal network is made up of ships, airplanes, trucks, and trains. The connection points where cargo is transferred between modes of transport are also part of the network. Many companies depend on intermodal networks for the inland dispersal of cargo from harbors and airports.

Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL) provide a useful service by shipping your cargo via their own intermodal networks. A trusted 3PL provider can save you time and money while allowing you to focus on your core business.

3PLs allow you to negotiate with one service provider who can manage all the regulatory and intermodal networking issues you may face. Further, your 3PL can help you connect and share shipping costs with other dealers in your vicinity.

Negotiate with Other Shipping Companies

Before signing off on a deal, make sure you have exhausted your other options. If you only deal with one shipping company, you may miss a better option. In a comprehensive negotiation seminar, you can learn how to leverage competitive bids to secure better deals.

Additionally, training to negotiate with multiple companies feeds into your research. It teaches you more about the existing challenges in the shipping industry. The knowledge you acquire can help you create value as you deal with the shipping companies.

Round-Up

The shipping industry presents smart people in business with a wide array of chances to negotiate better deals. The techniques in this article are not exhaustive. However, they can set you on the right track and feed into your strategy.

Negotiation training seminars are designed to maximize your potential and spur you into action. However, there is no strict rule book that is applicable in every case. As you grow in business, you can develop your own strategies based on your training and personal preferences.

ocean

A Tough Year on the Water Hasn’t Dampened Innovation for these Ocean Carriers

To say that 2019 has been challenging for ocean carriers would be an understatement. The year began with the National Retail Federation forecasting a decline in year-over-year growth, echoing World Bank chatter of a slowing global economy.

And don’t forget the tariff wars between the U.S. and China (heck, the U.S. and just about anyone). Managing capacity on ships has also been an issue, and then there is the potential biggest bogeyman of all: the International Maritime Organization’s low-sulfur fuel mandate taking effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Sure, we could dwell on the gloom and doom, but that would not be very Global Trade magazine of us, now would it? We here in our silky ivory tower like to spotlight the positive, which we reveal with these ocean shippers we love.

MSC

Mediterranean Shipping Co. this year watched the world’s largest container ship, the MSC Gülsün, complete its maiden voyage from northern China to Europe. With a width of 197 feet and a length of 1,312 feet (!), the Gülsün was built by Samsung Heavy Industries at the Geoje shipyard in South Korea. It can carry up to 23,756 TEUs shipping containers on one haul. That capacity can include 2,000 refrigerated containers for shipping food, beverages, pharmaceuticals or any other chilled and frozen cargoes. That’s a lot of snow cones!

MOL

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines sees MSC Gülsün and raises you the MOL Triumph, which achieved a new world load record this year. Departing Singapore for Northern Europe on THE Alliance’s FE2 service with a cargo of 19,190 TEU. That surpassed the previous load record achieved in August 2018, when Mumbai Maersk sailed from Tanjung Pelepas to Rotterdam with 19,038 TEU onboard. Yes, you are correct, that’s a pretty slim margin of victory, and analysts suspect the MOL Triumph record won’t last long given the 23,000 TEU ships being introduced.

HYUNDAI MERCHANT MARINE 

Speaking of THE Alliance, current members Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming will be joined in April 2020 by Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The South Korean carrier recently signed an agreement to join THE Alliance and then passed the pen to the founding members, who extended the duration of their collaboration until 2030. “HMM is a great fit for THE Alliance as it will provide a number of new and modern vessels, which will help us to deliver better quality and be more efficient,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd’s chief executive. 

HAPAG-LLOYD

Oh, speaking of the fifth-largest container shipping company in the world, Hapag-Lloyd is piloting an online insurance product as part of a digital offering to try to overcome the widespread practice of shippers relying on the limited cover provided under the terms of carriers’ bills of lading. While Hapag-Lloyd says it takes the utmost care in transporting cargo, company officials acknowledge things can and have gone wrong. Thus, the introduction of Quick Cargo Insurance, which is underwritten by industrial insurer Chubb in Germany and is limited to containerized exports from that country, France and the Netherlands. However, the carrier says it plans to expand the offer.  

MAERSK

To navigate new environmental regulations, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is considering going old school. We mean really old school by using a modern version of the old-fashioned sail to help power its ships. Currently being tested on one of Maersk’s giant tankers, the sails look less like the flapping silk you know from Johnny Depp movies and Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt and more like huge marble columns. But they are nothing to laugh at as two 10-story-tall cylinders can harness enough wind to replace 20 percent of the ship’s fossil fuels, according to their maker, Norsepower Oy Ltd. 

MOL, THE SEQUEL

While we’re getting all green up in here, it’s worth also pointing out that Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. This year joined three other Japanese companies— Asahi Tanker Co., Exeno Yamamizu Corp., and Mitsubishi Corp.—in teaming up to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021. Their joint venture e5 Lab Inc. will power the vessel with large-capacity batteries and operate in Tokyo Bay, according to a statement the foursome released on Aug. 6. Thanks to the onslaught of legislation to improve environmental performance, other companies are also looking to battery power. Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen is developing an electric container vessel, and Rolls-Royce Holdings last year that started offering battery-powered ship engines.

AMAZON

No, this is not a leftover strand from a different story in this magazine about moving packages on the ground. “Quietly and below the radar,” USA Today recently reported, “Amazon has been ramping up its ocean shipping service, sending close to 4.7 million cartons of consumers goods from China to the United States over the past year, records show.” While other ocean carrier leaders prepare for the bald head of Jeff Bezos, his move really should be no surprise given Amazon’s attempt to control as much of its transportation network as possible. (See my September-October issue story “Air War: Fast, Free Shipping has UPS, FedEx and Amazon Scrambling in the Air”). Of Amazon now floating into the sea, Steve Ferreira, CEO of Ocean Audit, a company that utilizes data and machine learning to find ocean freight refunds for the Fortune 500, told USA Today: “This makes them the only e-commerce company that is able to do the whole transaction from end-to-end. Amazon now has a closed ecosystem.” 

TMS

Signs You’re Ready for a Transportation Management System and What to Look For in Finding the Right One

The transportation management system (TMS) market is growing globally, and for good reason. Common objectives like controlling costs, establishing internal efficiencies and managing capacity restrictions have established the need for technology that provides uninterrupted visibility across the supply chain and helps streamline operations.

In fact, in Gartner’s first Market Guide for Real-Time Visibility Providers, published November 2018, supply chain leaders surveyed for the report ranked visibility as the highest priority in the supply chain.

But it’s not simply a given.

Especially in today’s volatile global trade climate, having a TMS in place can ease the burden on transportation leaders to ensure goods get to their destination on time without crippling costs. The modern supply chain requires the flexibility and scalability provided by transportation management systems.

Knowing when a TMS is right for your business

A growing business means more robust transportation needs. Being equipped to manage the increased volume and complexity is crucial, especially as you onboard new customers, some of which likely have strict retail compliance policies that can result in fines and penalties for not following suit.

Greater complexity in your transportation needs also means the need for greater visibility. If you can’t confidently say you know where all of your shipments are at a given time, it’s time to consider a TMS. Implementing a TMS arms your business with visibility and provides the real-time information needed to also keep customers informed. That access to real time data and insight is not merely a nice to have, as it was in the past. With trade volatility on the rise, the ability to stay informed and to make quick pivots is imperative. Those who can accurately see the whole picture at the click of a button will surpass the competition as they rush to make less informed decisions.

In addition to business growth and the complexity that comes with it, a TMS is an especially crucial tool to have in place if your business is considering M&A activity. As shippers are suddenly faced with the myriad challenges that comes with integrating disparate systems, having a TMS in place serves as a binding source for systems and data.

I know I need a solution. What now?

TMS solutions have become more robust and powerful over time while also decreasing in price. This has made them more accessible to companies of all sizes, especially given the ability to get them up and running quickly thanks to cloud-based software.

A few questions to consider as you think about which kind of TMS to purchase are: What key pain points am I hoping to address? Do I want a standalone TMS solution or a TMS and a 3PL that can I partner with to manage my logistics needs? And how do I ensure disparate systems are cohesively integrated?

Businesses will commonly implement a TMS to increase supply chain visibility and operational efficiency, integrate disparate and/or legacy systems, optimize costs and have access to detailed analytics and reporting. To achieve these goals, you’ll want a solution that includes the following:

-End-to-end automation and dynamic collaboration so you can seamlessly manage your entire supply network, across all modes;

-Detailed shipment visibility providing insight around pricing and load management to ensure your shipments are delivered on time and on budget;

-Actionable business intelligence and analytics that can provide the immediate insight needed to make better shipping decisions;

-A healthy carrier network of local, regional, and national multimodal carriers to provide services on a shipment-by-shipment basis or dedicated lane opportunities. If you opt for a managed TMS, your provider can help you pinpoint more efficient routes, cost reductions and opportunities to explore new markets versus needing to do that work internally.

As transportation management technology has advanced in recent years, the price of transportation management systems has dropped, offering businesses of all sizes the opportunity to take advantage of the myriad benefits. From providing an unprecedented level of visibility to compelling opportunities for cost savings and increasing operational efficiency, the decision to adopt a TMS in today’s uncertain global trade environment should be an easy one.

Ross Spanier is senior vice president of operations at GlobalTranz, a leading technology and third-party logistics solutions company providing award-winning Transportation Management System (TMS) products to shippers, logistics service providers and carriers.