The problems affecting the maritime sector are a challenge for any (good) forwarder | Sealogis

In recent months, the maritime industry – and consequently the logistics sector – has had to navigate quite some challenges, caused by structural problems of several origins. “Various shipping companies are in the red which is resulting in a reduced number of players in the market. This is an expected scenario,” says Edwig Laenen of Sealogis Freight Forwarding Belgium, which is investing more than ever in knowledge, talent and technology.

The difficult economic times are changing the landscape of shipping companies. Deep red figures lead to bankruptcies, takeovers by one of the big shipping companies, but also to new alliances.

Where an oversupply led to a hunt for the lowest figures in the annual tender, the odds have now completely changed in a market that is no longer determined by shippers but by (ocean) carriers.

Corona crisis is a fire accelerant

The corona crisis accelerates the process by disrupting sailing schedules. The result is that capacity is available when it is not needed, and vice versa. Booming volumes in the e-commerce industry (especially on Pacific trade) are doing the rest.

This situation disturbs not only the commercial process with permanent price increases, but also the operational process. The shipper, with or without the help of his forwarder, must redesign his supply chain (the exercise between availability of goods, availability of containers, place on board the ship, acceptable price) for each shipment.

Where is the one-stop-shopping concept of the shipping companies?

Who remembers the one-stop-shopping concept that would become the new model for shipping companies in the 1980s, either or not represented by an agent? The forwarder would become a dying breed...

The fact that this concept was talked up by shipping companies who, a few years later, one by one decided to outsource their back office (or even front office) to low-wage countries ultimately played into the hands of the forwarder.

Real forwarders invest in knowledge and talents

The professional forwarder was the only one who invested in HR and brought knowledge on board. Because more hands were constantly needed to compensate for the degrading service of (some) carriers in order to meet the justifiably high demands of the shippers.

This observation is more relevant than ever today!

This also applies to Sealogis Freight Forwarding Belgium. Our company continues to invest in knowledge and service and soon has almost 40 employees in our Antwerp office.

At the same time, at the initiative of the corporate office, we are investing in high-performance IT systems (ERP and TMS) and in even better communication with our customers.

More than ever, we support and advise our customers with our talents, knowledge and IT expertise!