The COVID-19 pandemic, port congestion and equipment shortages have meant supply chains across the globe have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year. Now, following the recent Suez Canal blockage, the world’s largest ports are preparing themselves for further congestion, with as much as 1.9m TEU of cargo expected to be affected.

At such a difficult time, it is more crucial than ever before for businesses to work with a partner who can provide a varied portfolio of alternative solutions. Global Product and Development Director Lee Alderman-Davis, who heads up Ligentia’s Product Development team, is leading the way in ensuring Ligentia has one such portfolio.

With many businesses struggling at this time, Lee offers a deeper insight into sea-air services and their benefits…

The Importance of Sea-Air

For some time now, we have been seeing relentlessly high air freight rates and a severe lack of capacity.

There has been very little in the way of recovery in the passenger market and airlines are charging higher rates to make operations financially viable. Capacity is constrained too, with the UK importing millions of Covid test kits, an increase in hi-tech imports, ecommerce and retailers looking to replenish their stocks. Additionally, the effects of the Suez Canal blockage mean that any spare capacity is unlikely to be around for long.

Sea freight would be the first alternative in this situation, but between port congestion, lack of equipment and the incident with the Ever Given, the market remains heavily disrupted. The ripple effects of the blockage are expected to be felt until at least July, and Maersk have reported that it will lead to loss of capacity between 20-30% in the coming weeks.

The result? More businesses are considering combining the two modes to get the best of both worlds – low-cost ocean transport, and high-speed air.

Sea-Air Advantages

Ligentia’s sea-air product has a number of great benefits.

By combining the sea and air modes, you can save 30-40% of ocean transit time – so it’s a much speedier solution – and with virtually guaranteed transit times, it’s very reliable. Providing total control at origin, we also ensure our customers receive priority loading. They are the last container to be loaded and the first to be off loaded. With a fast turnaround in Dubai and a flight directly to Heathrow or Europe, sea-air services are extremely agile and incredibly simple.

Avoiding Suez Canal-Driven Disruption

Sea-air services are a great solution for navigating the disruption caused by the Ever Given. We offer priority loading onto vessels, a short transit time to Dubai, fast turnaround and then straight onto a flight to destination.

Below are just some examples of the origins we now offer the sea-air product on, including Chittagong, Shenzhen, Mumbai, Penang, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh:

Customer Support

Right now, our teams are working closely with our customers to find the solutions that best suit their needs. As a service provider, it’s our responsibility to find alternatives for customers – and with disruption expected for at least another few months, it’s going to be an ongoing process.

Our dedicated team of sea-air experts are in place and ready to support businesses who will be able to benefit from multimodal shipping.

If you would like to find out more about our sea-air services and discuss your requirements, please get in touch. We’re here to help!

As supply chains across the world navigate the disruption caused by both COVID and the current new Brexit regulations, Chinese New Year is the third area that needs further consideration.

More and more shippers have announced they will be manufacturing through the holiday as the Chinese government discourages workers from travelling home due to the surging Covid cases in many parts of China. This could create backlogs during CNY as large numbers of freighter flights have been cancelled weeks ago. Post CNY, the market is expected to be robust as a result of inventory replenishment and an ocean market that will continue to be heavily congested. The impact on yields is still unclear, but we anticipate rates staying at a higher level as we close out Q1.

Our Ligentia teams are assisting customers by operating charter flights to avoid any disruption in service over this period.

How will Chinese New Year be different in 2021?

With social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions in place, and with many public events already having been cancelled, there is little doubt that 2021’s Chinese New Year will feel very different. Nevertheless, people are still very much looking forward to the celebrations, with meeting up with friends and cooking their own Chinese New Year feasts high on the agenda.

“Things are very different, but we are still looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year,” says Sally Hu, Ligentia’s HR Business Partner in China. “The whole family normally gather together to celebrate, and many people will be unable to return to their hometowns to do this, which is naturally disappointing. But we are finding new ways to celebrate, such as gathering with friends locally!”

A traditional Chinese New Year

Traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year vary widely between different regions and countries. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances you might expect:

  • Reunion Dinners: Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends. Many people travel long distances to be together, particularly for their New Year’s Eve feast. Dishes with lucky meanings are included, such as fish, dumplings and spring rolls
  • Deocrations: In the run-up to Chinese New Year, but traditionally on New Year’s Eve, people decorate their houses using red lanterns, paper cutouts and New Year’s paintings, which are all thought to keep evil away. As this year is the Year of the Ox, you can expect to see decorations that reflect this.
  • Red Envelopes: After the Reunion Dinner, parents give children red envelopes, wishing them health, growth and good studies. Money in these envelopes is believed to bring good luck
  • Firecrackers & Fireworks: As soon as New Year arrives, firecrackers and fireworks are set off across China. It’s believed that the louder the firecrackers, the luckier it is for business and farming in the year to come
  • Lion & Dragon Dances: Public parades and performances are commonplace, featuring colourful lions and dragons. Lion and dragon dances can usually be seen on New Year’s Day and, while regaining popularity in China, they are very popular in Hong Kong and Macau

2021: Year of the Ox

In Chinese tradition, each year is characterised by one of the 12 animals that feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has a year dedicated to them once ever 12 years, in a cycle.

Leaving the Year of the Rat behind, 2021 is the Year of the Ox, which symbolizes strength and determination.

As we continue to face the current challenges dictated by the spread of COVID-19, not surprisingly working remotely within the logistics industry has fast become the new way of doing business. This has made it even more important for us to connect and engage with you via the most up to date digital supply chain technology.

Launched earlier this year Customer Hub is a single platform to educate, inspire and collaborate.

Our Chief Customer Officer, Dan Gill explains;

“At Ligentia we are constantly looking to introduce new innovative ways of working that deliver real value to our customers by adopting the very latest digital supply chain technology. Our priority is to keep all communications across the supply chain in a single easy to use platform, and our recently launched Customer Hub does just that.”

There are 6 reasons we believe your organisation should use Customer Hub:

Remain Up to Date

Comprising of 6 key areas – News, Knowledge Hub, FAQ’s, Quick Links, Analytics and My Documents – you will be able to gain detailed insights into the industry, answers to specific questions and access customised information.

Access Big Data

Our unique Analytics module allows machine learning (ML) to interpret unstructured data that then presents meaningful insights to your organisation. Allowing your team to respond quickly and effectively to challenges across your supply chain.

Choose your Preferred Communication Method

The Customer Hub provides seamless integration of multiple communication channels into one place, such as Live Chat, Email, WhatsApp and WeChat. So you are in complete control of how you can communicate with our team of experts.

Access Real-Time Freight Information

By integrating shipment details with the flow of information in a single view means you only have one place to go and no conversations need to happen outside of the platform. This is yet another demonstration of our commitment to making moving goods simple.

There is No Additional Cost

We don’t believe there should be an additional charge for Ligentia customers to access Customer Hub, especially given the current economic challenges. Our aim is to add value to your supply chain operations by looking at new and innovative ways of working.

User Feedback is Important

We’re constantly asking for our customers feedback and a new took in Customer Hub allows you to comment on your experience. Meaning our team of experts are always reviewing, responding and developing with our customers at the forefront of our planning.

There are very few providers that have the in-house expertise and foresight that we do, and that is derived from a powerful combination of people and technology.

To access Customer Hub click here

Anthony Plummer, UK MD Ligentia Enterprise, highlights the importance of digital supply chain technology post-COVID.

Digital supply chain technologies will have a significant impact on global operations moving forward. Supply chains have suffered huge impacts during the COVID-19 global outbreak, primarily from a supply side in China and then from a demand side as other countries were impacted.

Digital technology now runs the majority of global supply chains to some degree, although may not be immediately visible to everyone. Increasing robotics, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are all present and here to stay and becoming more important to drive the efficiencies and control required. COVID-19 will likely provide disruption for the rest of 2020 as the new ‘normal’ becomes clear with increased e-commerce, social distancing and disrupted global supply chains as further outbreaks occur round the world.

Predictive analytics may have struggled to understand this new behaviour, but should be used on a wider basis in global supply chains to help understand and manage operations. Understanding and predicting patterns within supply chains should not be based on anecdotal ‘evidence’ or individuals experience as the human mind cannot compute the thousands of eventualities in today’s inter-linked supply chains. Using years of data around all of the parties and providers in a supply chain can help to understand a likely critical path rather than what is expected to happen in a perfect world.

Understanding the likely risks will ensure that inventories can be managed more efficiently and costs minimised.

To find out more about our unique proprietary software Ligentix click here.

Value Add, OVAS, direct-to-store, upstream optimisation, cross docking. Multi country consolidation, DC bypass – many terms and a range of solutions – ultimately, we’re making your products “retail ready” at origin to reduce handling in the warehouse and on the shop floor.

Why Upstream?

  • Supports dynamic decision making
  • Need to re-route garments from the UK to Korea or sell in China? We can ensure your product meets local requirements such as re-labelling.
  • Need to re-direct microwaves from France to the UK? We can change the plug and re-box your product
  • Can reduce your cost to serve
  • Cross docking solutions mean on receipt of goods at your warehouse they can be devanned and stored quickly, minimising handling and maintaining floor space.

Buyers Consolidation (CFS/CY): Consolidation of multiple orders from different shippers at origin into one container, this reduces freight costs and can have a positive impact on lead-time as containers can be sent direct to the warehouse rather for deconsolidation.

Value added services (OVAS): Vendors deliver into Ligentia warehouse for packing based on customer requirements, benefit of upstream solutions include; Identify product issues at source, most QC issues can be easily rectified before loading avoiding re-work costs at destination.

Direct to store (DTS): Cargo loaded and packed for delivery into a domestic network, this will include final delivery details attached to a single carton (SSCC label) for injection into a parcel network such as DHL

ScanPack: Bulk orders received from shipper, then received and scanned at item level – orders are allocated by store based on replenishment requirements, items are scanned at into cartons and ASN’s at container level are transmitted to client warehouse for receiving.

Send us an enquiry to find out how Ligentia can support your organisation at origin.

Our global team is working hard to continue operations as normal. Following the recent announcements of an extended New Year holiday we have applied contingency plans that allow our colleagues in China to work from home, and managers are in daily contact with their team.

We expect supply chains to be affected as manufacturing is halted further, and staff will be unable to attend work. This will also affect truckers, cargo handlers, warehouse operators etc. The knock on affect is likely to be a surge in air pricing as the back log of orders mount due to delayed production, and the demand for air freight will increase to bridge the gap.

The good news is we are planning with our customers to identify priority orders and products to forward plan as much as possible.  By looking at new routing options that may include road/air services, sea-air services and other deferred air services, we will be able to help you keep your supply chain moving.

For more information about our air freight services click here or email sales@ligentia.com

Source: Air Cargo News 29/01/19

The air cargo industry is bracing itself for the impact of measures taken to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China. Overnight, British Airways announced that it would suspend all direct flights to and from mainland China, with others expected to follow.

United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Canada are amongst the other airlines that had already announced plans to reduce flight numbers.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has extended the New Year holiday – a time when production in the country comes to a halt – by at least three days, until February 3.

Businesses in the Jiangsu province, which includes Shanghai, have been ordered to remain closed through to February 10.

And the vast majority of flights into and out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, were stopped last week.

It isn’t yet clear what impact this could have on air cargo, although supply chains are expected to be hit, with bellyhold air cargo capacity already reduced.

Meanwhile, there has been some suggestion that there could be a surge in demand when factories re-open.

Did you know that each and every day, there are 20 million parcels sent by air cargo, weighing over 140,000 tonnes in total. Plus 657 million packages and 898 million letters. Air Cargo is more diverse than you might expect with 1.1M smartphones being transported, 80,000 flowers and even 200 race horses.*

Here at Ligentia we’re playing our part in this busy sector, offering customers 24/7 Air Services to support customers when time is of the essence in getting their goods from A to B.

Our Air Division was created in 2014 in response to our customers’ requirements for multi-modal services.  We began with 30,000 sq/ft of bonded warehousing in Heathrow and within 6 months we’d added in additional facilities in Manchester.

Now with a substantial and expert team of staff on the ground working seamlessly together in both of these locations, we’re able to support customers with quick and efficient handing of their cargo –that is ‘cleared’ within our facility.

Many of the goods we handle also benefit from our pre-retail services, being palletised down to SKU level to meet onward distribution centre requirements.  With e-Comms growing at 20-30% year-on-year, Ligentia is experiencing increasing demand for these kinds of services from customer organisations across multiple sectors and encompassing everything from the most established retail players, through to entrepreneurial start-ups.

Our Air Division is also going from strength-to-strength at other key global locations – demonstrating the reach and coverage of this super-efficient service.  We currently have live consolidation hub projects in Dubai as well as growing our Air Freight provision into Australia as market trends across the world continue to impact trade lane demand. Intra-Asia business is another growth hotspot as is South Africa.  Closer to home, we are also seeing an increase in the volume of UK air business we’re supporting out of our Bristol and Glasgow thanks to the focus and dedication of our branch teams on the ground.

Global Air Freight Director, Lee Alderman Davis comments, ‘Changes in consumer behaviour are fuelling the popularity of Air Freight services, which is driving growth in our own business.  The team in Ligentia’s Air Freight Division really embrace the challenge.  They work together as one, often going above and beyond to make sure that every detail is taken care of for our customers and goods arrive reliably and always on time, when speed of delivery really matters.’

In addition to e-Comm services, Ligentia also operates Aircraft On Ground (AOG) services, providing expedited services for parts to airlines and other industries where 24/7, rapid response international freight enables a business-critical operational response.  Beyond this Ligentia is also expanding its support to non-retail sectors, involving high value products that require the care, speed and security of delivery that Air Freight can provide.  Sectors including communication, hi-tech and electronics are all benefiting from the responsiveness and agility of Air Freight services from Ligentia.

*source: IATA, The Value of Air Cargo