Global Shipping Way Too Loaded

By Freddie Pierce
As the global supply chain becomes more and more sophisticated, a surprisingly essential problem is going largely unaddressed: overloaded shipping meth...

As the global supply chain becomes more and more sophisticated, a surprisingly essential problem is going largely unaddressed: overloaded shipping methods that are threatening the safety and sustainability of operations.

With cheap new ships flooding the market (to the dismay of the charter industry) and major players slipping, it’s becoming difficult to maintain the standard that customers demand – that is, when they demand anything at all.  Record consumer saving in many parts of the world – especially Europe, where the crisis has hit global shippers particularly hard – is making companies scramble to reshape their fleet.

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Essentially, the problem boils down to a business built on shaky ground – or choppy waters, if you prefer your metaphors unmixed.  Shipping is predicated on knowing what to ship and when, and with the boom and bust cycle reasserting itself with a vengeance over the past five years, that’s become more difficult than ever.

That means construction projects in Europe operating at half their potential, consumers without the products that might bring them back into the store, and greater uncertainty than ever for logistics companies.  It’s the kind of downward spiral that could mean dark days for the shipping industry, which is the lifeblood of the global supply chain.

Fortunately, new methods and new technology have the potential to bring shipping back from the brink – and the supply chain along with it.

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