Equipment imbalances can overcomplicate difficult situations, especially when ocean carriers have blanked sailings to adjust capacity due to falling demand. While the movement of ocean freight is, at its simplest definition, a way to move cargo and inventory between nations with trade relationships, the movement of equipment is another part of the equation. Anyone who has ever tried to book freight on a carrier experiencing an equipment shortage will testify to the choke hold that containers have on ocean freight.
Are there other options if you don’t have a box, chassis, or truck? Maybe. Air freight is the great time equalizer in logistics, if for no other reason than air carriers rarely see a lack of cohesive packing as a reason to refuse freight. While it’s impossible to toss a cardboard box aboard a container ship without a container, single boxes and small packages can move by the thousands in an airplane.
Pre-pandemic, the equipment imbalance complicated the market, which then exacerbated pandemic delays because shippers couldn’t find equipment, even when they had inventory available for shipping. As container pools went dry, the early blanked sailings stalled full containers at skipped ports leading some carriers to export empty boxes rather than wait for refilling, shipping, emptying and turning.
By bringing in a full box of exports, quick turning a container means that carriers send it back to where the bulk of the cargo is and cut the time in half, expediting one side of the supply chain and leaving the other side hamstrung. It stands to reason that many people hear about the upcoming blanked sailings, now expected to run well into the end of the first quarter, and they immediately start worrying about access to equipment if they’re lucky enough to have a route without skips.
Now is the time to polish your relationship with your logistics provider. Getting ahead of disruption and planning for contingencies requires experts who understand the ebb and flow of your supply chain. If you want to learn what sets Edward J. Zarach & Associates apart from other forwarders, contact us today.