Execs Finding Ways to Get Perishables to Customers Quickly

Supply chain issues have had devastating effects on the global economy. Not only has the cost of transporting goods increased, but delays, dwindling inventory and uncertainty is also creating consumer anxiety. However, companies are getting creative when it comes to getting their goods into the hands of their customers quickly and efficiently. Let’s take a look at the strategies that are being used by companies to overcome the challenges of the current supply chain.

Companies Are Finding Ways to Get Perishables to Customers Quickly

Port congestion has created supply chain issues for months. Shippers from various industries have changed their logistics strategies. They are rerouting to achieve stability due to pressures from port congestion and erratic schedules. Supply Chain Dive has reported that Fresh Del Monte has begun utilizing “non-traditional” ports (those not fully containerized) to avoid the West Coast port congestion. 

By reimagining their logistics, they have been able to avoid the massive congestion and promptly get their time-sensitive products to their destination. They have begun using ports like the Port of Hueneme rather than the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Galveston rather than the Port of Houston, and the Gloucester Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, which usually handles break bulk cargo. Using alternative storage solutions has also helped them buy some time with perishables.

Is This a Trend in the Supply Chain Industry?

According to Duke University, three major issues have contributed most to the chaos. First of all, COVID created a shortage of workers due to shutdowns that have reduced production capacity worldwide. Second, customer demand has changed since the pandemic began. 

Finally, systems for manufacturing and logistics are frequently operated at or close to their maximum capacity, leaving little room for expansion. As a result, an already strained supply chain is further exacerbated by the sudden influx of products through already congested ports.

What Are Other Companies Doing to Address the Issue?

Supply Chain Brain reports that many shippers are opting for suppliers that can be accessed by rail. In addition to utilizing non-traditional ports, some companies are opting for resources closer to home accessible by rail. For example, in the future, Mexico may become a significant American supplier due to its proximity and ability to transport by train. 

Some companies use a combination of land, sea, and rail instead of solely relying on ports. On the other hand, smaller ports are too shallow for large ships. Shipping through deeper canals, like the Panama Canal, can take too long, and there might not be enough truckers to travel to distant ports. 

The Top 10 Shipping Ports in the US

Shipa Freight lists the top 10 shipping ports in the US.  

  1. Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles is the largest in North America. It manages 20% of all incoming cargo for the United States and extends over 7500 acres. For comparison, in 2018, it had 8.8 million TEU or twenty-foot equivalent units. Its container volume increased by 5.5% to 9.3 million TEU in 2019.

  1. Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach, North America’s second-largest port, has 3,200 acres and handles an annual cargo tonnage of 78.2 million metric tons. It is currently one of the leading trade routes connecting Asia and North America.

  1. The New York and New Jersey Port

The largest port on the East Coast, the New York and New Jersey ports, receives 72% of the first port of calls. It has 74 million metric revenue tons, and the annual container value is $205 billion. 

  1. Georgia Ports – Savannah and Brunswick

The Port of Savannah is home to the largest single-terminal container facility in the nation. The container volume is 4.35 million TEU in Savannah alone.

  1. Port of Seattle-Tacoma

The Port of Seattle-Tacoma’s primary exports are oilseeds and grains, machinery, and computers. The container volume is 3.7 million TEUs and can house 4.2 million containers.

  1. Port Metro Vancouver

The North Fraser Port Authority and the Fraser River Port Authority merged in 2008 to form Port Metro Vancouver, now Canada’s largest port. The port, which spans 3700 acres, is comparable to Canada’s following five largest seaports and is projected to grow at a 3.5% annual rate. Container volume is 1.8 million TEUs, and annual cargo value is $276 billion.

  1. Port of Virginia

The Port of Virginia is one of the busiest ports on the East Coast and growing at a rate of 2.6% over the last five years. It has a container volume of 2.85 million TEUs, and the economic impact for the states is $92 billion. Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport, Virginia International, and Virginia Inland are the significant terminals here.

  1. Port of Houston

The largest port on the Gulf Coast, the Houston Port handles 52% of project cargo among ports in the region. The 50-mile-long port has over 200 public and private terminals, and the Port of Houston is the busiest in America concerning foreign waterborne tonnage. It has an annual cargo tonnage of 247 million metric revenue tons and an annual cargo volume of 1.6 million TEUs.

  1. Port of South Carolina

This port is a combination of Georgetown and Charleston ports. It has an annual cargo volume of 1.9 million TEUs and provides 10% of all jobs in the state, offering wages that are 32% higher than the state average.

10. Port of Oakland

Historically, Oakland was the first container port built in the US. It handles 99% of all containerized goods that move through Northern California. It has an annual container volume of 2.5 million TEUs.

Consumer Demand is Paving the Way For the Future

As consumer demand increases, companies will find a way to fulfill the need. Instead of thinking of this as a supply chain issue, perhaps companies can look at this as a supply chain opportunity to develop creative solutions that will reshape the supply chain landscape. 

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