The global shipping industry and the uncertainty of changing trends

The state of the global shipping industry continues to be highly unstable. Ocean trade routes continue to face huge disruptions and backlogs from the pandemic, which has triggered an ongoing global container shortage crisis, fluctuating oil prices, soaring sea freight rates and more. The disarray has cascaded down supply chains creating a negative feedback loop of hold-ups, roll-overs, congestion, equipment deficit and free-times pressure. It all sounds very disheartening, but we’ve made it our top priority to make every shipment with Hillebrand as hassle-free as possible. 

In this post we share a few critical and actionable tips for anyone planning to ship cargo to help brace you for the choppy waters ahead, and present our exclusive 2021 shipping report and trend forecast for all 22 major ocean trade routes, compiled by our in-house experts. Our route analyses and predictions are intended to guide you to make educated decisions this year, which may include rerouting, switching freight transport mode or adopting risk-proofing measures. 


Predicted trade route trends

Take action for uncertain times ahead

A year ago, the situation we face today in the shipping industry was absolutely unprecedented. Now, unbalanced demand, blank sailings, surcharges and lengthy delays are the unwelcome new normal. It’s clear that volatility in the industry will continue for a considerable amount of time. You should be ready to take action now to ensure the disruption to your own supply chain is kept to a minimum, even under challenging circumstances.  

Fundamental steps when sea freight shipping during precarious times:

  1. Anticipate your bookings and predict volumes. Consider Hillebrand’s groupage service for beverages if shipping less than full load, departing frequently on multiple shipping routes so you can maintain optimum inventory freshness. 

  1. Consider alternative modes of transport. Air freight is especially useful for urgent or high-value deliveries, and is currently the least disruption-affected mode of cargo transport. 

  1. Expect delays. If you are moving temperature-sensitive goods like beverages, that means protecting your cargo from possible temperature fluctuations caused by long waiting times at ports. Choose temperature-controlled containers, and check your freight insurance covers all eventualities. In a situation of temperature-controlled container shortage, Hillebrand can help preserve your goods with specialised insulation liners. Such insulation liners are particularly beneficial to cargo such as wines, beers, and spirits, by reducing temperature contrast to an average of 8-11ºC. Hillebrand also offers full-coverage shipping insurance. 

  1. Book your spot on containers and ships well ahead of time, crucial in this current global container shortage crisis.  

  1. Organise smart warehousing. Hillebrand has 50+ temperature-controlled warehouses in all major strategic locations to store goods like alcoholic beverages safely, for any length of time.  

  1. Partner with a reliable freight forwarder. With Hillebrand you will benefit from our longstanding and trusted network of carriers, priority customs clearing, demand surge planning, control tower management, inventory control, product recall and disposallogistics optimisation and more. In difficult times, it’s essential to have experienced support on your side. 

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