After 18 months in this pandemic, many issues have arise in the global economy. While some countries are beginning to feel some sense of normalcy, others are still reeling from the aftershocks of the virus. One pressing issue that has always resurfaced is freight. In part 3 of this 3 part series, we share how you can secure your strategic advantage with IMC during the Covid-19 Pandemic to reach safe harbors amidst this chaotic choppy seas.
So in all this disarray, with cancellations, delays, insufficient containers and freight costs rising through the roof, how and when will things begin to return to normal?
As previously shared, there is no easy answer to this problem (especially when it is a global problem with different local issues). Based on market data and industry experts, it seems:
- The peak season will continue to cause alleviated freight demand and rates for an extended period. Securing space in advance will be of paramount importance in the current climate.
- If consumer demand shifts toward services, demand for goods will stabilize but freight rates should remain high or even increase till seasonal peak demand starts to slows down (at least November 2021).
- Upon the end of seasonal peak, freight rates may still remain high as companies continue to restock inventory levels to safe levels. Only when inventories are at healthy levels will freight rates begin to drop. However, if timely restocking is not completed, we could already be heading into the next peak season in as early as February 2022.
Until we reach clearer horizons, as Friends of IMC Organic Coconut Sugar, we urge you to secure your strategic advantage with IMC by considering some of these suggestions:
1. Plan Annually: Review your yearly volumes with our sales staff to produce an accurate calendar forecast. A clear plan will ensure that expectations are aligned, and our teams can plan better to cover your needs during spikes in the market demand.
Talk to our IMC Sales team to understand how to reserve allocation so that there is sufficient ready stock available when you most need it.
2. Increase Inventory levels: We advise most of our customers to hold additional stock a few months before the peak, when freight rates are considerably lower. Orders placed during the peak shipping periods (July – Oct) will incur high freight rates. Procuring shipments during off-peak periods and stocking locally at low-cost warehouses might prove to be more economical than shipping during the peak.
Talk to our IMC Sales Team about arranging early stock for your customers.
3. Compare multiple quotes from agents: This increases your chance to get the lowest possible cost and most efficient services. For some customers, price might not be the only consideration compared to delivery timings, ship frequencies (in case shipments get pushed), etc. Additionally, this can serve as a backup plan to your main carrier.
Share with our IMC logistics team your requirements prior to shipping so we can also assist you to find competitive rates even while working on an FOB basis to help you achieve the best possible results.
4. Allocate additional buffer to your freight budget: Prices will continue to rise as demand are still high, so be prepared to buffer additional costs for freight. Consider how to rework your product pricing strategy during this period.
Let our IMC logistics team know your actual target freight price so we can assist you in negotiating the best possible rates with our agents for comparison.
5. Extra Lead Times: Make advanced bookings to prepare for unforeseen delays. Build in extra lead time into your import cycle:
- Extend the time allowance required to secure your booking: 4 weeks
- Buffer time for roll overs: 1 week
- Buffer time for transit: 150% Transit time
- Buffer time for port congestion: 1 week
Plan and communicate with our IMC Sales Team ahead of time to work backwards based on your expected arrival dates.
6. Communicate regularly with your freight forwarders: Having close communication means regular updates on shipment volatility, new routes and best possible freight rates. Regular updates also enable options to include not only the most suitable vessels out of Indonesia but also vessels out of other connecting ports that can reduce transit time.
If unsure, fret not, our experienced IMC Logistics team will assist you in handling daily communications with your forwarders and even provide competitive rates from other forwarders for your perusal.
7. Review your Distribution Strategy: Diversify your cargo movement through multiple ports. Instead of moving product through a singular main port, look for alternative ports of delivery that might have a more affordable rate or less congestion.
Speak to our IMC Logistics team who will share more about their experiences in handling shipments to alternative ports.
8. Adapt with your warehousing strategy: Review warehousing efficiencies as detention times might be cut due to the pressure to clear ports. Review each warehouse throughput and reduce receiving days to prevent detention charges which is expected to increase this year.
Check with our IMC Logistics team about how they can help to reduce other hidden costs.
9. Don’t disregard Air Cargo: As importers and exporters seek alternatives to sea freight, they turn to air cargo as a more stable option. Despite higher costs, air freight is reliable and guarantees ready stock will reach your inventory promptly while competitors remain out of stock. Having ready inventory boosts consumer confidence and the increase expense might prove to be economical in the long run.
Our IMC Logistics team is able to assist you in handling both Sea and Air freights if you require.
This list is not exhaustive and there are much more intricacies to cover. We do hope that as friends of IMC Organic Coconut Sugar, this serves as a starting point to help you improve your business continuity and remain resilient and flexible during the pandemic.
Closely partnering with IMC’s Expertise during Covid-19 can definitely help you achieve more. Discuss with our sales team on how you can secure your strategic advantage with IMC.
Till we meet again, this is us wishing you a smooth sailing!
– Your Fellow Organic Coconut Sugar Lover –