A Snail’s Pace: How to Boost Landside Cargo Velocity

May 24, 2018

It’s all good...until it's not! If you're like most shippers, you are continually frustrated by erratic transit times on your cargo moving through ports and the rest of your landside supply chain. Your customers are demanding, so maintaining consistent delivery schedules is critical to keeping them happy. Slow or inconsistent cargo velocity is a serious issue that warrants fast, effective action. We’ve put together this list of common causes for delays to help identify pain points and allow you to proactively mitigate any potential issues.

Causes of Terminal Delays

Cargo delays are, sometimes, truly unfortunate instances that interrupt your shipping process. They can occur for many reasons:

1. Bad weather. Like any transportation-based business, ships, ports and trucks moving cargo are at the mercy of the weather. Rain, storms, and environmental disasters can cause serious holds in the supply chain. Anyone in the shipping industry must adapt to the poor conditions and continue as usual. Sometimes, however, bad weather is unavoidable.



2. Labor (none or not enough). Having enough of the right labor to move goods is essential to consistent performance, so any strikes or labor shortages are a big problem. Labor unrest has frequently resulted in issues with cargo moving through various parts of the country so keeping tabs on labor availability and efficiency is critical to your supply chain.



3. Big ships and big demand. Cargo demand is not set. Ship size however has been steadily on the rise the last few years. When both of these factors are in effect, ports and terminals that are unprepared to efficiently work these mega-ships can struggle to handle the rise in cargo volumes, resulting in a gradual reduction in productivity (causing delays to your cargo).




4. IT upgrades equal risk. With the continued march of digitization throughout landside logistics comes associated IT and systems upgrades. Given the complexity and age of existing IT systems, anytime an upgrade is undertaken the risk of outages and disruptions is very real. Make sure you understand, in each node of your supply chain, who is upgrading what systems and why, and be prepared to handle outages if they result.

Learn how you can get accurate and timely information about your cargo from our  free guide. 




5. Holidays can cause unexpected delays. US holidays are less likely to surprise cargo owners, but international holidays can become an unforeseen delay. It is important to know exactly where your cargo will be traveling and ensure that there won’t be any unexpected delays due to a holiday. 



6. Inefficient communication. Phone calls, emails and...faxes? Whether it is relying on dispatchers to manually book appointments or trying to pry up-to-date information from a 3PL or trucker, shippers may often experience delays because of poor communication practices. Hunting for the ‘real’ version of the truth, about the status of your cargo and where it is right now, takes valuable time. Consistent data visibility is a mission-critical must-have for progressive BCOs today. Having a direct API to integrate data and events into your host systems is always a more efficient process and should be part of your ask when negotiating with transport providers.



How to Get Ahead of Delays

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The best way to prevent shipping delays is to plan carefully by relying on complete visibility to your container data as it moves from port, to depot to final destination. It is important to make sure that every person involved in each step of the shipment lifecycle understands his or her responsibilities and knows how to deal with common issues (outlined above) BEFORE they happen.

Yes, weather, customs and holidays could cause unforeseen delays. But creating a mitigation plan for those events is easier than dealing with a lack of information access. Demanding transparent visibility from each stakeholder involved is key and integrating that data is with your systems will give you more time to proactively address potential delays.

Tips and Tools to Help

Advent’s people and processes can help you and your supply chain partners consistently deliver results. If you’re struggling with real time visibility on your cargo, our eModal Data Services can provide up to the minute track & trace information from over 50 marine terminals and depots in North America. Our people can also look at your entire landside cargo flow and locate opportunities to increase efficiency, reduce manual tasks and drive cargo velocity. Contact us today and see what we can do for you.

Download the free report here.

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