In March of 2012, a Senior VP of supply chain made his first trip to Vancouver. He appreciated the March break from the East Coast winter. However, his purpose was to find a solution for his shipping problem. He needed to get over 100 40’ containers off of the Vancouver port and to their US destinations.
The Freight Problem
The containers were grounded and stuck due to massive congestion caused by the longshoreman strike affecting the US West Coast ports. Thousands of additional containers were discharged in the ports of Vancouver during the two-week job action, causing the port to become overwhelmed. Eventually, terminals stopped discharging ships to avoid making a bad situation much worse.
The Freight Solution
At the time the executive surmised that moving forward, it would be a good idea for his company to spread their 25,000 plus containers from Asia per year over a greater number of ports. The very next year, in addition to routing over US South and East Coasts, they routed over Vancouver to reach US West Coast and Midwest markets. Transit times were comparable and acceptable.
The Benefits Of Using Multiple Ports
By spreading their ocean freight shipments over several ports, the company reduced dwell time risks, not only limited to recurring labor issues, but also due to congestion, rail car shortages, and bad weather. The greatest risk to any supply chain is having one of the links in the chain cutoff. A port strike, trucker disruption, or rail car shortage can turn into a nightmare for importers potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and contractual fines. By building several and diverse links, you can manage your risk.
PCB Freight Management Can Help
Whether you ship 100 containers each year or 10,000, a well planned multiport strategy will reduce your risk. PCB Freight Management can assist you with all of your freight forwarding needs, including implementing a multiport strategy to mitigate your freight import risk.