Container transport is often a logistical puzzle

All the pieces of the puzzle are dependent on each other, and it can be difficult for freight owners because it impacts both costs and delivery time if their piece of the puzzle doesn’t fit.

Unfortunately, transport operations have to endure delays. Road conditions, handling times in container terminals, wind and weather, and rest times regulations are some of the conditions that affect our daily business. And especially right now, factors like unstable vessel rotations, equipment and capacity restrictions are locally controlled and have a big say in the logistical puzzle.

Most companies understand this – delays cannot be eliminated – but you can minimize disruptions if you take precautionary measures and have a good relationship with your transportation partner.

We have put together 7 steps to avoid disruptions in the future.

01 - Talk with your transport partner frequently

Now, more than ever, it is essential that lines of communication remain open between you and your transportation partner. Today, you can handle almost everything via e-mail, website, or forms—but if something goes wrong, if you have a particular need, or you need some extra flexibility, a good relationship
with your logistics vendor is critical.

The logistics business is bustling currently, and it is not uncommon that everything takes a little longer than usual. Especially in times of urgency, it is better to pick up the phone and spend two extra minutes on communication to avoid disruptions.

Of course, you shouldn’t call about every little thing so it’s recommendable that you identify which element you should have a more personal communication about, i.e., regarding orders, priorities, and possibilities.

02 - Plan extra time for document and equipment release

We all know that document and equipment release can be a lengthy process and that delays in these procedures will create significant issues further down the logistics chain.

Therefore, we encourage you to make preparations well in advance—and that you plan for extra release time. As mentioned, it’s hectic at the moment leaving little room for flexibility. The consequence is that if delays happen, you can’t expect just to be able to book a new transport for the next day.

And that’s a problem if you haven’t planned for extra time.

03 - Double-check and prepare for pickups

We always advise our customers to double-check the status of their document and equipment release. Delays can significantly impact the next steps of the transport because it affects the pickup of the container afterwards.

If you want safe cargo transportation, you need to work out the logistics related to the pickup of your containers before scheduling the pickup time, otherwise, the transportation partner may not be able to meet your requirements.

04 - Be aware of alternative transport methods or routing

The more flexibility you have, the more solutions you have to choose between. Many transport companies can offer multiple modes of transportation, so if your original transportation method does not work, you should consider having a dialogue with your transportation partner about alternative methods or routing.

Let’s say you have a shipment of five containers that are going from Rotterdam to Stockholm. The thing is, it’s not possible only by truck before the next week. Instead, you can use intermodal transport and send the containers first by night train to Hamburg and then by truck to Stockholm. This might be more expensive than using only trucks as your transportation method, but the delivery time is quicker and more convenient.

The question is; What is most important to your client’s business and you: delivery time or price?

05 - Talk to customers about more flexibility in loading/unloading schedules

Experience tells us that almost everyone wants delivery at 8 o’clock in the morning. Naturally, that isn’t possible. But if your customers are flexible about their loading/unloading schedules, they can have the delivery in the afternoon instead of waiting until 8 am the following day.

From the customer point of view, flexibility may entail extending the opening hours of the warehouse, so delivery can come in a little later—in return, your transport partner may also be able to offer other additional services or advantages because deliveries happen outside peak hours.

06 - Get the insight you need with strong reporting

Avoiding disruptions in the future often includes analyzing and evaluating which areas you need to focus on. Therefore, it is a good idea to find a trans portation partner that provides solid reporting so you can stay updated about possible risks and challenges.

It is very simple—you need solid data to make good planning decisions in the future. Without proper reporting, you don’t know what and where to improve.

More control, less worry!

07 - Have a complete overview of costs at any time

Do you always have an exact knowledge of the costs related to your freight transportation? Often, transportation comes with unforeseen, incurring costs. That is why you should demand transparency and visibility from your trans-
portation partner.

• How do they handle unforeseen circumstances?
• Do they inform you when they experience big issues?
• Are they clear about the alternatives and the costs included?

At the same time, it is essential to note that there is much more to this than price estimations. Reliability, compliance, stability, etc., are critical parameters to consider when choosing a transportation partner. If they can’t deliver on these, costs will undoubtedly increase.

As you might have noticed by now, many of the steps involve elements of dialogue and extra planning time. Well, times are bustling at the moment, so it’s better to check one more time to be sure everything is in order.

If you want to avoid disruptions in your transport chain, follow these steps and
find a transportation partner that you trust and that can help you accommodate your needs. A flexible transportation partner with intermodal possibilities, a good network, and solid experience will get you a long way.

If you have any questions about freight logistics or container transportation, we are happy to answer them.

About Ancotrans

Ancotrans is a market leader within container road transport and one of the oldest family-owned and family-managed companies in Denmark, with a network of 8 offices across Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Our vision is to become the leading European container trucking company, and our daily mission is to deliver the most eco-friendly container transports in our markets while still fulfilling our ambitious service goals.