We’ve all seen the reports about America’s snarled shipping ports. Hundreds of full container ships are at anchor off the coasts, unable to unload. Assembly lines sit idle, starved for parts. Store shelves are eerily empty, making consumers anxious about Christmas.
The intricate choreography that guides the world’s supply chain is way out of step. Experts, industry analysts and government officials offer no encouragement about when things will get cleaned up.
“Certainly, a lot of the challenges that we’ve been experiencing this year will continue into next year,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who himself was anchored at home for more than two months on paternity leave as the crisis escalated.
Robert Handfield, a professor of operations and supply chain management at North Carolina State University, adds: “We’ve had a series of smoldering issues that had been around for a while, and then COVID was kind of the needle that broke the camel’s back. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a mess, and it’s going to take some time to address.”
The problem: As a shipper, you may not have the luxury of time. Your customers are waiting for their vital shipments to resume production. That’s where ICAT Logistics Detroit comes in.
Our shipping network extends around the world. So, too, does our knowledge of alternative routes when bottlenecks appear. If one port of entry is closed, we’ll find another. We’re not boxed in by long-term contracts that require us to get in line and wait for the logjam to clear.
That’s important because the current crisis shows no signs of relief. It brings a perfect storm of challenges, including pandemic-related shutdowns, convulsive swings in supply and demand and political disputes over solutions.
Today’s disarray also has revealed long-standing problems that will take more time to fix: aging infrastructure at vital international ports, trade imbalances, unhealthy reliance on China as a single source for goods, and a shortage of trained labor, from dock and warehouse workers to truck drivers.
The American Trucking Association says the nation needs to add at least another 80,000 drivers to the current workforce of 3.6 million professional truck drivers, who move more than 70 percent of the goods in the U.S. economy.
One initiative to clear backlogged shipments is to increase the working hours for key ports. It isn’t easy, given the complications that flow from delays along the international supply chain, and the shortage of labor in the U.S.
One analyst described the inter-connectedness as a “logistics Rubik’s Cube.” Another observed that a disruption in one part of the world means moving things around like a “Jenga Game.”
Solving such puzzles requires intelligence, experience and a deft touch. At ICAT Logistics Detroit, we pride ourselves on the nimbleness and flexibility to address any challenge for our customers.
In more than 26 years in business, ICAT Detroit’s solutions-oriented professionals have persevered through trade wars, hot wars, storms at sea and all sorts of breaks in links to the world’s supply chain.
As a result, we have systematically built a global network of contacts and relationships to provide timely and cost-effective shipping – no matter the destination or product. Our worldwide network serves more than 30,000 airports.
We understand – and respect – that every shipment is mission critical to our customers. Whatever the task, we sweat the details, deploy the most effective strategy, and communicate fully with our clients to ensure safe, secure, and dependable delivery.
If you’re feeling lost at sea—or worse, your shipment is—know that we can help you find your way home.