Wow, the last year has been a rollercoaster for most of us. The pandemic has thoroughly affected almost every industry in the world, and shipping has really gotten the brunt of it all. Between production factory shutdowns and port closures in early 2020, to major congestion and peak season hitting early in the back half of 2020, the new moto through all of the last several months has been “uncertainty.”
But uncertainty in shipping is no small thing. Your customers rely on your word, you have deadlines to meet, and any potential hiccups or delays in the process affect your entire team and bottom line. So how should you be dealing with the unreliability of the transportation market right now? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Preparing for Unreliable Transportation Market Conditions
The harsh switch between record low and record high shipping volumes between the first and last half of 2020 surely threw shippers, carriers, and freight forwarders for a loop. Everything about 2020 was uncertain, and it left us all feeling a bit frazzled at the end of it.
Container availability, equipment availability, and port congestion all flipped on a dime in the last half of the year and it’s left shippers wondering – how do we prepare for and operate in unreliable transportation market conditions?
Utilize Large Networks
There isn’t a more important time to be connected than now. Having a wide array of carriers accessible as a moment’s notice is so important when market conditions are unpredictable. You never know if an ocean carrier will get overbooked, a road carrier can’t find a trucker, or a particular route will become unavailable due to port outbreaks such as those at Yantian Port.
At Interlog, we’ve prided ourselves in building our model around strategies that are rooted in risk mitigation. This involves having several contracts with different ocean, air, and road carriers, as well as working with an extensive network of other brokers and carriers that can aid in switching plans in a moments notice.
Versatility is the name of the game in market conditions like these, and we’re proud to ensure our customers we can handle the volatility with confidence.
When market conditions get as nuts as they’ve gotten in the last several months, there isn’t really any “one” ideal strategy for your cargo. At some point, you should be making a call between a few options regarding what’s best for you. But the worst is when you feel trapped in a corner due to working with a freight forwarder that has limited options.
It’s important to ensure that you have options. Talk with your freight forwarder about solutions and options that can help to speed up your freight and reach your customers in a timelier manner.
Work Ahead of Time
Being proactive with your shipment decisions is incredibly important during unreliable market conditions. And the most important aspect of this is working with a freight forwarder that can strategically arrange plans far in advance to when your cargo actually needs to be picked up.
Unfortunately, when capacity is tight, carrier operate on a “first come first serve” basis, and if you’re working with a freight forwarder that waits till the last minute before lining up shipping solutions, you’re going to regret it pretty quickly.
In essence, trying to ship during unreliable market conditions requires you to work with a strategic partner that has a large network, can act fast, and customize solutions according to your needs and the state of the market at large.
At Interlog, we’ve really built our entire process around adaptability and risk mitigation. We’d love to have a conversation with you regarding your shipping practices, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us! We’d love to help in any way we can and answer any questions you and your team may have!