As if the world did not have enough problems, on March 25 one of the world's largest container vessels ran aground in the Suez Canal. The gigantic Ever Given, from shipping company Evergreen, and loaded with nearly 20,000 containers, blocked all traffic through one of the world's most important waterways. During the six days Ever Given was stuck, more than 400 ships were waiting to pass through.
And just like that, the world's focus shifted to the container shipping industry. Overnight, the general public became aware of some of the complexities of trade: shipping companies, routes, freight forwarders, customs agents, ports and the process to ensure that we all get food on the table and gas in the tank.
Around water coolers across the world, people talked about how this would affect the delivery time of their new Play Station 5; in Canada, snowmobile manufacturers went out and warned that stocks had run out due to the grounding. US President Joe Biden offered to help refloating the ship. In addition, oil prices rose, while animal rights organizations alerted us that some 200,000 animals were trapped on the ships queuing in the canal.
But it was not just the general public who was taken aback by exactly how dependent we are on that international shipping runs fluidly (pun intended!). All over the world, logistics and purchasing managers called - and faxed! - their freight forwarders to check if their goods were stuck on either Ever Given, or any of the hundreds of boats lining up at either end of the canal. Or, even, on one of the ships that decided to avoid Suez altogether and instead bet on that it would be faster to round Africa and take the journey via the Cape of Good Hope. But above all, thousands of companies tried to get a straight answer to the question: how does this affect me and my business?
Because if there is something this new "Suez crisis" has made abundantly clear, it is the importance of having full control and be able to influence your transports; to know and have a say, where, when and above all, how, you ship your goods.
In a crisis, relying on intermediaries and freight companies that someone else has chosen for you, is not only an enormous stressor, it could also mean higher costs: not being able to immediately inform customers when their goods will arrive can cause both badwill and result in strained customer relations.
The shipping business is a conservative one and despite the fact that most industries have entered the digital era, much of the work of booking containers, arranging customs clearance, and scheduling is still done manually, by phone, or even fax. Accordingly, there are many players, and middlemen, and it could be a challenge to get specific information on who does what.
German insurer Allianz estimated that the cost of the blockage in the Suez Canal could cost cost global trade around one billion US dollars per day during the time Ever Given was stranded. And it may cost even more for the companies that have containers on board the ship to finally get hold of their goods.
Adnavem’s mission and raison d’etre is to be an industry innovator: to continue to find more efficient and affordable ways to ship goods around the world. By digitizing the entire process, all parties: importers, exporters, shipping companies and logistics suppliers, will benefit. Adnavem's platform offer complete transparency and thus more cost-effective and productive routes. As a customer, you also have full control over and can choose the transport routes, price point and timings that suit you best.
Adnavem's platform cannot, yet, prevent ships from running aground, but already today we can help our customers sleep at night, secure in their knowledge that they themselves have chosen when, where, how and with whom they want to send their goods.
In the next blog post, we will discuss how control towers in logistics, with the help of AI, smart algorithms and predictive analytics, can help transport buyers gain insight into the supply chain and give BCOs greater control over their transports.
Do you want to know more or want to be a part of our community?
Contact us directly or subscribe to the Tech Up Logistics Blog.