Friday, June 22, 2012

'Transloading' for Speed and Savings

Counter-intuitive strategy can boost container shipping efficiency, flexibility.

Sometimes, the obvious solution is not the best solution. Keeping your shipment in the same container across the ocean, all the way to its U.S. destination, might seem like the best option. But for some combinations of origins, loads and distribution centers, transloading can markedly improve your shipping.

With transloading, containerized shipments, often arriving from Asian ports, are “cross-docked” and transferred into domestic equipment, suitable for road or rail.

The “sweet spot” for transloading is multiple containers entering the U.S. via the West, East, or Gulf Coast ports, and then facing an inland move of 500 miles or more. This scenario can result in significant savings for domestic shipping, as well as speeding deliveries. In one example, transloading cut the transit time from China to Ohio by a week.

Transloading can also give you the flexibility to reallocate shipments that are already on the ocean, to respond to last-minute changes in demand or market conditions. It can allow you to merge in transit products from multiple origin points, working well with any combination of single or multiple origins and destinations.

Not every situation is right for transloading, but it is one more tool to consider in the ongoing effort to win the supply chain war and move your logistics to best-in-class.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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