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Monday, September 24, 2018

Tips for Shipping During Peak Season

Peak Season is again now upon container carriers with all experiencing a sharp increase in volumes while at the same time capacity on some trade lanes is actually smaller.

There are fewer carriers as consolidation of the global container shipping industry rolls on so they can fight their way back into profitability from unsustainably low freight rates and increasing operating costs. Most recently ONE Line has been formed with a huge merger between Japan’s three largest carriers namely, NYK, MOL and K Line. Furthermore Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Corporation have formed an alliance.

This means carriers are operating at full capacity and frequently over-booking their vessels and this situation will persist into January 2019.

Here are some tips to minimise impacts on your business:
  • Factor in 1-2 week delays into your delivery schedule just in case
  • Factor in rate increases of about 20-30%
  • Supply forecasts and bookings as early as possible
  • Prioritise your shipments so carriers know that in a tight situation which ones should be uplifted first
  • All shippers scramble to load the faster more direct services but often in peak season the slower carriers prove more reliable and your cargo will arrive sooner
  • If your supplier has even part of your order ready consider a split shipment by LCL on the first available vessel or even some air freight to keep your customers orders flowing
  • You stay in control of your freight rather than your supplier. Generally suppliers only care about getting a container delivered to the port and off their hands so they can get paid and do not consider carefully which carriers will be most reliable. To frequently clients get told by their supplier they can get it shipped only to find the container then gets short-shipped at a transshipment port and ultimately arrives later than the routing we originally recommended
  • Allow for Golden Week holiday season 1-10 October if you are sourcing from China
  • Get your documents to your Customs Broker urgently so pre-clearance through Customs prior to arrival can be obtained. Even Customs, Quarantine, wharves and local trucking companies struggle to cope during peak season
If you would like more detailed advice on specific trade lanes or have a shipment stuck somewhere please contact me or any member of my team at Depth Logistics for help.

All for now,

Brad Skelton