Articles by Month: January 2022
With supply chain logjams on U.S. coasts expected to stretch well into 2022, shippers looking to ease the strain on intermodal supply chains are increasingly turning to underutilized sea ports and air terminals – including those in Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati. As a longtime provider of Cleveland container freight station (CFS) services, On Time Delivery & Warehouse is prepared to onboard new business-to-business clients for consolidation/de-consolidation of import/export freight, full container loads (FCL’s), less-than-container loads (LCL’s), block & brace services, product segregation, heavy/oversized loading and unloading, stack & wrap services, CFS warehousing and customs bonded warehousing.
What is CFS – And Why Does it Matter?
CFS is short for container freight station. These are facilities located near ports, terminals, inland container depots or major railway hubs that help facilitate import/export shipments from origin and destination. They’re particularly popular with those utilizing LCL (less-than-container) shipments because they can serve as a central hub for importers/exporters looking to ensure their goods are going to be securely stored, carefully handled, and expeditiously sent on the next leg of the journey.
Among the core functions of CFS providers:
- Preparation of container load plan.
- Stuffing and de-stuffing containers (both FCL and LCL).
- Marking and sealing containers for identification.
- Serving as a temporary storage space for cargo, empty, and laden containers.
- Moving empty containers from container yards and laden containers to nearby ports and terminals.
- Stacking, sorting, tracking, and tallying containers pre- and post-shipment.
- Organization of customs clearance procedures (examination, classification, goods assessment, etc.).
- Ensuring safety and security of all goods in the facility.
- Managing break bulk cargo (cargo that’s not in a container).
Cleveland container freight station services are essential because they help decongest air terminals and sea ports – freeing them from numerous customs clearance procedures.
As reported by WKYC Channel 3 in October, the Port of Cleveland can easily handle 100,000 containers annually. Yet in recent years, it’s been topping out well below that – somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000. Pandemic-related congestion on the coasts is spurring a shift to higher local volumes, as cargo owners and third-party logistics (3PL) firms increasingly eye smaller ports to move their goods. Cleveland is the third-largest port on the Great Lakes. Although it can’t handle U.S. Navy or cruise ships, it can accommodate vessels bound for transatlantic shipments. Plus, smaller ports like Cleveland are often more efficient – and cost effective – than the larger hubs in Southern California (Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland) New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas (Houston).
Businesses of all sizes have struggled with supply chain instability the last few years. It’s considered the No. 2 concern, just after finding and retaining qualified, reliable workers. Girding themselves for more supply chain volatility on the horizon, many mid-sized companies are strategically stockpiling inventory, allocating more funds to ensure timely deliveries, and onboarding software that allows for greater transparency. These are smart tactics for Northeast Ohio businesses – and can all be successfully implemented by teaming with a dedicated Cleveland 3PL (third-party logistics) warehousing and distribution partner.
According to the recently-released 2022 Business Leaders Outlook Survey, conducted by JPMorgan Chase, the majority of mid-size company leaders appear to be shifting from a small-business mindset to a larger one in an effort to stay competitive in the global economy. To maximize their competitive edge, more than half of respondent companies (with annual revenues ranging between $20 million and $500 million) were adding suppliers from new areas as well as dedicating more capital to higher shipping and delivery costs. One-third were changing materials or manufacturing processes, and some had even stopped working with some suppliers altogether.
More than 80 percent of firms said they had to increase wages in order to recruit and retain workers. This is a particular challenge for companies managing their own warehousing and logistics in-house – further highlighting the benefits of working with an established Cleveland 3PL.
Other top concerns for companies looking ahead this year are difficulties with forecasting, customer demands for lower costs, customer demands for reduced response times, and overall rising expectations for customer service. Well over half of companies queried are actively investing in inventory & network optimization.
As an experienced team of third-party logistics professionals, we recognize that while many businesses stress over supply chain operations, the consumer-driven approach does open the door for innovation opportunities. Running an efficient, cost-effective operation has always been a challenge – and it’s one that Ohio 3PL operators are uniquely equipped to help resolve. Among the top concerns we help clients address with Cleveland 3PL services: