The container crisis and the saturation of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports will not be solved  before the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Starting to plan ahead and react quickly is vital.

The saturation of Los Angeles port and airport and of the Long Beach port has crossed the borders of the logistics world talks and reached the daily news. The record of 111 ships waiting to dock was all over global headlines in November.

How can you avoid being another hostage in this situation?

As your best strategic partner in logistics, our Europartners experts have prepared a list of essential actions to keep your cargo moving, faster than going through Los Angeles and the Long Beach port.

1. Be emphatic: you need information

This advice may seem obvious, but those who have been affected by the international transport crisis – especially the ocean freight crisis and the lack of containers crisis – know that information is also scarce.

You should work with a logistics partner fully committed to provide constant visibility and tracking.

This is how we work at Europartners Group. Our specialized teams are in constant contact with shipping companies, terminals and authorities to get the latest news that may affect your cargo, keeping you constantly updated, as many times in a day or in a week you want.

In addition, understanding the current market situation is key to building and executing accurate logistics plans. The market is not moving as it was before the pandemics. Fees, surcharges, rules and dynamics are now constantly changing.

Knowing what to expect and what to request from your logistics partner is a big step towards the success of your plans.

2. Fly a security stock

Designing a multimodal plan isn’t piece of cake, but it can be the best strategy to keep your supply chain running.

To keep it in your budget, shipping some of the cargo using ocean freight services can still be a good option but flying a critical part to start operations or keeping your production line running can be vital to avoid disruptions.

3. The right plan at the right time

This is the best time to do it!

This year, the Chinese New Year festivities begin on January 25 and may last until February 20. After that, the market may need a couple more weeks to recover from potential delays.

After the February cargo fever, until June, fares are lower, ports are less congested, and operations run smoothly. You should take advantage of that period.

Another good argument is that shipping companies are asking 3 to 5 weeks in advance to book and limiting the allowable cargo weight to 10 tons. Getting chassis, drayage and coordinating everything to avoid the increasing surcharges on port time is also a task that benefits from planning ahead.

4. Demand alternatives to Los Angeles and Long Beach port

Business Insider describes the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as “the largest on the [U.S.] West Coast and among the closest to Asia, making them the ideal destination for the behemoth container ships that once offered timely and cost-effective ocean shipping.”

Nevertheless, today’s crisis leads us to search for more alternatives.

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced that these ports will operate 24 hours. However, our local teams informed us that negotiations with the unions are not yet 100% closed, and there are no staff to guarantee work throughout the day and overnight, especially after the 4Q2021 holiday season.

In that scenario, in addition to flying part of your cargo, with the right coordination, choosing another port, such as Ensenada or Manzanillo, in Mexico, can be a feasible option, if you can organize a solid plan.

Ocean freight rates have grown exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic. “Rates where the demand is strongest are almost 300% higher than a year ago,” Bloomberg reported.

Ensenada is in a strategic area for many specialized industries, rates are lower than those of Los Angeles and Long Beach port, there are no chassis charges and there are more “free days” in the port.

However, another big problem in recent months has been last-minute port omission decisions. Some shipping companies have often decided to skip Ensenada and go directly to Manzanillo.

So, another good suggestion is to find direct routes. Despite being more expensive, with the right planning and effective communication at all times, the investment will pay off.

It is necessary to assess the immediate situation, the availability of drayage and the rates to ship your cargo from Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian to Oakland and Seattle to make a sound decision.

When importing from Europe, ask your teams to show you the possibilities of LCL and a plan that considers the ports of New York and Miami, rather than shipping your products to the U.S. East Coast.

Partner with Europartners Group

At Europartners, we work to be more than a freight forwarder: we want to be your best strategic partner in logistics.

That means offering dedicated service, complete visibility and personal contact, all enhanced by our continuous technological developments.

We specialize in time-sensitive solutions, scheduling the movements your need to keep your JIT, JIS and JIC supply chains on track, at the exact moment you need it all, and we are there for you too in case of any disruption, providing efficient critical cargo services.

Our multidisciplinary teams can work with your most specific requirements to design plans for specialized industries such as automotive, high-tech, aerospace, pharmaceutical and others, with experienced talents who know the market and your industry and who can’t wait to understand your logistics needs.

And if you feel you need more, meet our dedicated specialized Key Account Management (KAM) teams and our in-house services.

Connect with us. We’re Europartners Group.

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