The Command Center – July 2021 Shipper News

This is a snippet from The Command Center, Cargomatic’s email newsletter for shippers. Sign up at the bottom of this page to get The Command Center delivered to your inbox every month.

Chris Paul, the point guard of the Phoenix Suns, has a move he tries a couple of times a game. He’ll be running down the court with a defender chasing him, and then Paul will stop. He might maintain his dribble (he might pick it up), but every time he does it, the defender chasing him runs into him, and the referee calls a foul. 

We’re not discussing Paul’s maneuver as a way to rehash the NBA Finals (sorry, Suns fans, and to many of Cargomatic’s team members who live in the Phoenix area). Instead, we’re using it to illustrate what’s happening across the supply chain right now. 

First, there are delays at various ports worldwide; exports from Asia have encountered wild swings, where things essentially stop for a few days or weeks, then pick up with a massive surge of movement. That means the ports across the US see swings in volumes weekly, sometimes slower than they’d like, but often being choked by the massive inbound volumes. 

This month, we saw the issue affect railroads, too, as many lines were forced to suspend lanes into cities like Chicago due to the massive backlog of goods. 

All of these issues leave shippers playing the role of the defender chasing Chris Paul. The stop/start nature is creating hiccups and jamming up the movement of goods on the coasts and across the mainland, and it seems like goods are quite literally crashing into each other. 

That’s the bad news. 

The worse news is that there really isn’t an end in sight. 

Speaking to Bloomberg, Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said, “we easily see this going through up to Chinese New Year, and there’s a lot of indications now that it could go beyond that.” 

In short, we’re in for a very rocky peak season, and there are already companies scrambling to ensure that their holiday season isn’t at risk. Many shippers are actually adding to the complexity. Right now, there’s trepidation across the board about locking into rates (many shippers are holding their breath and hoping to utilize the spot market for peak season). This approach is sure to disappoint many shippers who see rates continue to climb and capacity continue to tighten. 

We’re encouraging our shippers to connect with their account team as a way to ensure that we’ve got capacity available during the holiday season. 

Three Articles We Liked: 

  • Business Insider ran a story discussing the challenges shippers are facing today. 
  • Our Careers on the Move podcast featured a pair of guests, Matt Schrap from Harbor Trucking Association, and Warren Kucker from Shelly.AI. 
  • FreightWaves went to the dogs, and one of Cargomatic’s pups made the cut.

SMB Shipper’s Guide:

Subscribers of our email newsletter got a preview of our new white paper, aimed at helping companies that are setting up their first supply chain avoid common pitfalls.

Sign up at the bottom of this page to get The Command Center sent directly to your inbox every month.