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A Natural Disaster, a Friend in Need and a Logistics Solution

A Natural Disaster, a Friend in Need and a Logistics Solution It’s good to have a friend in the logistics business.   That’s the word from Chris Bennett, a Michigan businessman who last year was stranded with his family when Hurricane Irma ripped through their St. Thomas home in the U.S. Virgin Islands.   The ferocious storm packed wind speeds exceeding 180 miles per hour, destroying houses and knocking down trees, power lines and cell phone towers. Irma left St. Thomas without electricity and without an operating airport.   In Michigan, news reports of the hurricane immediately concerned Chris Cser, a friend of the Bennett family for 15 years and Director of Operations for ICAT Logistics DTW. Unable to reach Bennett by phone, Cser shot him a text.   The gist of the message: “How are you and what can I do to help get your family to safety?”   While awaiting a response, Cser reached out to contacts in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean to determine how to access the ravaged island. Instinctively, Cser sensed that his experience as…

Don’t Become a Victim of the “Fast, Easy” Quote

Don’t Become a Victim of the “Fast, Easy” Quote Some supply chain managers would like to believe that an internet price check is a quick and practical way to find a freight hauler who will save them time and money.  After all, it seems so easy. All you have to do is type in what you’re hauling and where it’s going and just like that some stranger will hook you up with a trucking or sea-going company that is willing to accept your check. No fuss, no bother – at least until your shipment is packed incorrectly, left sitting in a warehouse, sent with improper documentation, delayed when another internet customer took priority, or stuck because a customs officer didn’t understand the bill of lading.  That’s how some supply chain managers learn a lesson the hard way: Shortcuts can lead you to a dead-end. That’s because operators out there lure you in with a low quoted price that ultimately costs a bundle. With some freight forwarders, anything can happen from the time the cargo is picked up.  The supposed quick and easy solution…

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 are climbing fast…

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 Lakes comprise the world’s largest surface freshwater system and are 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 greater GDPs. …

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…


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