Global Logistics: Trade taking shippers for a ride

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As we continue to cover in our LM pages, the cloud of uncertainly will always hang over the heads of logistics professionals tasked with navigating global trade. The ever-shifting agreements and regulations, the constant service disruptions, and the fact that your valuable freight often  moves through unfamiliar networks in remote regions are enough to test the steadiest among us.

Global GDP has been revised upward to 3.7% in 2018, and this news of expanding economies will surely open new opportunities for U.S.-based organizations in areas of the world where many have never done business, yet alone estab­lished carriers and service networks. This ominous challenge may be facing you right at this moment.

With that in mind, the editorial staff of Logistics Man­agement has focused much of this issue on the growing complexities in the global arena. While no one has all the answers on what lay ahead, we’ve gathered a few reports that shed some light on the technology and services options that savvy shippers are putting to work to help mitigate risk and cure some of the headaches.

Leading off our collection this year, executive editor Pat­rick Burnson puts perspective around a few recent reports to better define the state of global logistics networks and the services working within them. “Having just wrapped up our “2018 Rate Outlook” for U.S.-based ship­pers, I believe readers will find many of the same realities in Europe and Asia,” he says. “Costs for carriers are rising across all modes and rates are going along for the ride. All the while, customer service demands have never been more fickle. It’s a similar story with identical challenges in many cases.”

According to Burnson, it’s hardly surprising that “technol­ogy innovation” and “disruption” were singled out in UK-based Transport Intelligence’s (Ti) collection of surveys as two of the most important trends around the globe, especially in the freight-forwarding sectors—and for good reason.

“Many shippers told Ti that they believe that the more traditional intermediaries would begin to lose out to the grow­ing number of new tech-based start-ups this year, as they’re starting to see technological innovation as a clearer path to mitigate the impact of rising rates,” says Burnson.

And when you combine the desire for beneficial technology with the fact that airfreight and ocean cargo are projected to see the most growth over the next year due to more expansive e-commerce activity, those savvy intermediary start ups stand to gain some serious ground—and quickly.

How shippers select and work better with those third parties that are both positioned with the technology you may not have, as well as the physical assets and network connections you need, is the angle of this year’s “3PL Roundtable”.

Burnson has gathered three of our best sources to detail where the 3PL market stands in terms of services and chal­lenges, but more importantly to offer steps on how to find the right provider and optimize that relationship—one that could eventually make or break your organization’s global efforts.

Rounding out this month’s global collection is the “Ocean Carrier Trends Report” geared to help shippers better understand what to expect out of rates and capacity in light of the new global shipping alliances. And technology correspondent Bridget McCrea examines the advances in the global trade management (GTM) solutions sector.

“Global trade is set to go on a tear this year, and it’s going to take shippers along for the ride,” says McCrea. “All that momentum should push better GTM traction as the need for trade classification, documentation, and import/export filing is only going to increase. The providers have done a great job keeping up with the functionality, now more shippers just have to take the leap.”

About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

Importing and managing the logistics of your precious freight is no easy task. Compliance to U.S. Customs & Border Patrol is essential to your cargo clearing customs. Use a freight forwarder to lower your chances of having shipment delays and to oversee all of your international freight logistics. Contact a customs broker to file your ISF and issue any pre-alerts to avoid penalties and delays, and arrange your ocean freight and imports customs clearance.

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