Summer is coming to an end, however from Grupo Raminatrans we cannot say the same about the crisis of international maritime transport, that is why we have to analyze the situation we are experiencing and share with you what we observe.
We are about to enter the quarter of the year where consumers are more consumers, a demand that will increase as we approach the end of the year holidays. And is that just around the corner we have Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and above all, Christmas, and failing on these dates is the worst.
Like a gear lacking oil, when one of the parts gets stuck, the whole system is disrupted. So now that the international economy has begun to see the light and consumers demand more and more products, the global shipping system is still struggling to meet that demand.
We are still immersed in a crisis in international maritime transport. That is why importers and exporters of all types of products, especially electronic items in the case of importers, anticipate difficulties in the season of Christmas shopping. There are not enough ships, there are not enough containers, and there are too many delays at the ports to get in and out. In less words, we have the entire logistics chain affected.
Everything indicates that some Chinese companies are also manufacturing less due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic, since the Asian giant has imposed strict rules to control the spread of new waves of the virus, when there are outbreaks in certain places, production is delayed and this causes bigger delivery. Thus, each time a factory closes, each time a port closes, some importer is left without its delivery. And some consumers are left without their product.
The biggest crisis in history since containers began to be used in World War II
Shipping experts say the pandemic has sparked one of the biggest crises in history since containers began to be used in World War II. “The entire port infrastructure system has been overwhelmed,” said John Manners-Bell, chief executive of consultancy Transport Intelligence.
The imbalance and uncertainty of maritime transport derived from continuous interruptions, congestion in ports, typhoons in Asia and the sustained increase in freight prices, together with historically high demand, have triggered new approaches in logistics companies, approaches to which Grupo Raminatrans is no stranger.
Costs won’t drop immediately
Global shipping experts are not particularly optimistic. Bank Of America (BofA) analysts, for example, note in their weekly newsletter that “container shortages continue around the world, and shipping prices continue to skyrocket” and in the same way, they predict that high prices will continue, at least, until April 2022.
A first move to overcome the difficulties caused by maritime transport took place in summer. Some large companies, such as Ikea, Walmart, and The Home Depot, began chartering ships and acquiring containers. The Swedish furniture multinational has confirmed the development of these initiatives and explains that they have taken other additional measures, such as the prioritization of “certain ranges and products” within its catalog to ensure those most demanded by its customers. But as Jordi Espín, the secretary general of the association of Spanish loader companies, Transprime, points out, “chartering ships directly by shippers is a risky strategy not available to everyone”. “Only large corporations or a group of large corporations can take on the charter of a ship for their cargoes,” explains the federation of freight forwarders Feteia-Oltra.
From the Association of Shippers of Spain (ACE), its general secretary, Nuria Lacaci, recognizes that they are analyzing possibilities in order to optimize time and costs of the transport of goods by sea. One of the options considered is also the use of break bulk ships.
And it is that each possibility must be explored, that is why in the face of this situation, and as we always tell you, from Grupo Raminatrans we will do everything possible to continue offering our best service, because the search for solutions is always in our DNA, because we do not know how to do it otherwise.