If You Manufacture Chemicals Outside the U.S., Outsourcing Container Drayage Might Be Right For You

By Paul Benfer – Kinetic Supply-Chain Services –

As a chemical manufacturer that imports containers, you are always running to meet client delivery requirements.  You take measures to reduce the length of time from order to delivery.  You route import containers to the closest port to your customer to cut down on transit times and inland freight costs.  Many times you and your team have difficulty in sourcing carriers, as the closest port may not be one where you drive much volume.  If the container has hazardous materials on board, you are faced with finding a carrier that can dray your load at an affordable cost.  With capacity tight and fewer carriers willing to handle hazardous materials due to insurance costs and local law enforcement,  you encounter delays and demurrage costs.

How do you effectively manage your container drayage with limited personnel and a tight budget?  One way is to outsource.    Many years ago a good friend of mine asked if we could help him manage his container drayage.  I had recently hired an operations manager with years of port experience, so the opportunity seemed like a good fit.  Thirteen years later, the account is one of our largest.  We have branched out to manage their final mile imports from container freight stations and airports throughout the U.S.  The partnership is successful because we function as an arm of their supply-chain team.

We didn’t start out taking over large segments of his container business.  It was built up over time by handling small and new lanes where he had issues securing carriers.  Being a logistics provider, we are free to source multiple carriers with varied service offerings.  Our roster of drayage providers enabled us to select the right carrier for the container shipment.  Whether the move required a tri-axle, trans-loading and over the road delivery, or special permits, we had options.  A few years ago we introduced automatic email notification.  Now their customer service team receives live updates when containers and LCL are picked up, appointed and delivered.    We also work seamlessly with their customs broker.

The end result has been a dramatic decrease in penalties and fees.  The overall delivery performance is at record levels.  Our business continues to grow.