Supply chains have evolved and became global over the last decades. Today the demand for cargo services and the need to (re-)organize logistical connections is becoming a central aspect for success as relaunching markets and production after the COVID 19 lockdown is not just about procuring services but to organizing the interrelated aspects of logistics like mode, capacity, equipment availability to name a few. The cost impact based on increased freight spend for shippers is huge and certainly, there is the opportunity and need to reconsider previously established operations and partners.
Companies have already been challenged in the past to balance the interdependencies between freight spend and on-time delivery. Therefore, the importance of container shipping has been constantly increasing over the last decades. But at the same time, we can see in these weeks, how fast flexibility needs and supplier channels have forced many companies to move freight from ocean to air cargo. What a major impact!
To address the increasing volume of overseas shipments in the pre-covid-19 past, ocean liners were building bigger and eco-friendly vessels and repositioning of containers alone is currently a major thread to functional sound logistics networks. Ports have to adjust to the new requirements of handling bigger vessels like we see in Germany with the Port of Hamburg, where for 20 years the deepening of the waterways to the port was subject of courts and environmental protection initiatives – so even besides the planning and operational complexity, global logistics is a connected and networked challenge. All those activities are expanding the global transportation network and informational need, which can only be addressed with increasing digitalization and collaboration. But it is still a great opportunity for improving of companies’ individual routing options for multimodal shipping and global fulfillment.
From a shipper perspective, the challenge has always been to ship goods across the world by ensuring on-time delivery and still keeping the transportation cost in the budget. Accurate and efficient contracting of capacity from ocean liners is becoming more and more important.
Procurement of ocean shipping services is the activity of sourcing and procuring not only the best ocean freight rates but also the best shipping services and now also information amongst the various carriers available in the market in line with the requirement of the shipper and consignees of the goods. Routing options through the transportation network considering different modes of transports for the drayage carriage and alternative ports of loading and unloading for the deep-sea ocean leg are driving cost savings for transportation and digitalization. They adress the need for fast, reliable data and resilent supply chains.
Demand and supply forecasting data is typically only the initial point and the foundation for shipping service procurement, in short, shaping your network. With that data, a rough transportation plan can be generated well ahead of the time of operations, based on strong and collaborative digital communication between partners, authorities, and customers.