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Enter the Free Trade Zone to Avoid a Costly Trip on the High Seas

Enter the Free Trade Zone to Avoid a Costly Trip on the High Seas With ocean rates for freight shipping rising like a tsunami, don’t let high costs swamp your budget. Better to follow ICAT Logistics DTW’s advice and find a port in the storm -- a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) – that can save you money on your shipping and handling. A Free Trade Zone is a duty-free area that offers warehousing, storage and distribution facilities for trade, transshipment and re-export operations. The financial advantages are significant, especially with ocean rates continuing to climb: Rates for an FTZ are typically low during non-peak season when customers can ship everything to the FTZ for distribution at any time. By utilizing the FTZ in this way, shippers avoid ocean rate increases during peak seasons, when high demand sends rates soaring. Storage costs at an FTZ will be relatively minimal compared to ocean shipping rate increases. An added bonus is that there’s no customs duty outlay until the merchandise enters the market. “Global ocean rates…

Great Lakes, Great Economic Growth

Great Lakes, Great Economic Growth Thanks to an exceptional multimodal freight transportation system that connects it to the rest of the world, the Great Lakes Region is continuing to flourish economically, and freight traffic is growing stronger than ever. Together the five Great Lakescomprise the world’s largest surface freshwater system andare home to U.S.- and Canada-flag ships, as well as an array of freighters from across the globe. The region, with its network of U.S. and Canadian highways, rail and shipping networks, not only serves nearly 200 Fortune 500 companies located in the U.S. and Canada — including automakers and Tier One suppliers — but also provides an efficient route to parts of Europe and Asia, with better delivery times and costs than some ports along the U.S. East Coast. The latest data show that the region generates a global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is larger than Japan’s, Germany’s or the that of the United Kingdom. Only China and the whole of the U.S. have…

In Difficult Times, Our Industry Rises to the Challenge

In Difficult Times, Our Industry Rises to the Challenge In the logistics and freight delivery business, finding solutions to the challenges of our clients is all in a day’s work. Recently, however, three names in the news have pushed many in our industry to abandon normal protocols and find new ways to deliver the goods. By now the names are familiar to anyone with a TV or access to the news: Harvey, Irma and Maria — a trio of devastating hurricanes. They closed shipping routes, blocked highways, flooded warehouses and cut off the routine supplies of goods that are the basic necessities for millions of people in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Caribbean and most recently Puerto Rico, where the destruction was historic and the continuing challenges have been monumental. Now, in this difficult time when the stakes are highest for the people we serve, our ability to improvise and innovate is not just essential, it is critical, and sometimes a matter of life and death. While much work remains to be done, we have heard of heroic shippers…

Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone

Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone Researchers tell us that on average, adults make 35,000 decisions a day. Some are less consequential than others – oatmeal for breakfast, or eggs? One egg or two? White shirt or blue? Brown shoes or black? Loafers or boots? Studies also note that as we assume greater responsibilities in our lives, we make more independent decisions that have consequences well beyond a menu or choice of clothing. Children, for example, make about 3,000 decisions a day; adults nearly 12 times more. If you are a manager in a complex a supply chain organization, the consequences of your decisions have rippling impacts on others. That’s why it’s so important to consider the needs of others up and down the line and bring them into your decision-making process. “Without transparency, communication and cooperation you create silos that can be damaging in a supply chain,” says Dan Cser, owner ICAT Logistics DTW. “Networks of…

How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility

How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility One of the best ways to enhance the performance of your supply chain operation is to improve visibility. That means knowing precisely the location of products, freight and inventory no matter where they are along the chain. The advantages are obvious: besides controlling your shipments and orders in a complex global environment, real-time visibility introduces opportunities to reduce inventory and mitigate risk that could crop up if you are unaware of the status of your freight. A global supply chain can be a knotty operation. Visibility helps remove the knots by improving the speed and accuracy of shipments, putting a clear focus on products and supplies that are in transit or in house and enabling supply chain managers to intercede when kinks show up that will slow progress or increase costs. There are numerous platforms on the market that help companies establish global supply chain tracking systems. They can be very effective and – depending on what you need -- very expensive.…


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