We are delighted to confirm that our Ligentia team in Australia have successfully attained a number of ISO accreditations.

The standards attained, with certification underway, are:

  • ISO 9001:2015 (quality management system – ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements)
  • ISO 14001:2015 (environmental management system that can be used to enhance Ligentia’s environmental performance)
  • ISO 45001:2018 (IMS is compliant with the world’s international standard for occupational health and safety, and is used / followed to protect our employees and visitors from work-related accidents and ill health, as well as proactively improving our OH&S performance)

Through the attainment of these ISO accreditations, Ligentia is able to provide increased confidence to customers and stakeholders that the service they receive is of a high quality. The standards ensure we take a consistent approach to services both internally and externally and allow continual improvements to take place within the business (including increases in efficiency and productivity) based on the measuring and monitoring of performance.

Additionally, we will be able to build even stronger relationships with our customers and suppliers, while at the same time providing confidence to key stakeholders and regulatory authorities that the business is being managed well.

Speaking regarding Ligentia Australia’s achievements, Dean Neville, Managing Director – Australia, said:

“We started our disciplined IMS journey some five years ago, continuously testing ourselves via external half-yearly workplace auditing alongside our day-to-day management and operational process improvement initiatives. Over the last three years, auditor feedback about our 3PL warehouses has reviewed our practices as at or above the standards required to be considered in the ISO application process.

“We committed to the application process in late H2 2020 and went through rigorous ISO auditing in early 2021. We passed all of the testing. Ultimately, the standards achieved are testament to how we operate together in a daily basis – but it’s certainly nice to be able to rightfully reference the globally recognised accreditations too!”

We look forward to continuing to work to these standards to provide the best service possible for all. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about how our teams can support your supply chain requirements.

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!

At approximately 13:00hrs GMT today the Ever Given was successfully re-floated in the Suez Canal, and is presently on route to the Great Bitter Lake accompanied by several large tug vessels.  It is currently unclear if the vessel is in need of repair, engineers report the ship’s engine is fully functional, and both the owners and operators are indicating the ship will quickly be able to proceed to Rotterdam.

Expected impact

With supply chains already strained with the challenges faced by the pandemic, the disruption of the canal blockage is expected to have a ripple effect until the end of June. According to current data there are over 370 vessels currently anchored, waiting to move through the canal, with many more on their way to the region.

Extended transit times, further blank sailings, port congestion and a lack of empty containers, will likely result in an increase in rates through congestion surcharges, PSS and other emergency surcharges carriers may impose.

Alternative solutions

Last week our Customer teams priority was identifying the shipments that are on the vessels queuing and inform Ligentia customers of expected delays. This week our teams are working with Ligentia customers to implement changes to future bookings to move stock quicker and consider different modal options. Our sea-air Dubai to UK service, air services and rail services, are all options currently being considered as our dedicated teams work hard to find solutions.

For more information on available capacity over the coming months click here to send your shipment enquiry.

On Tues 23rd March 2021 one of the world’s largest shipping vessels ‘Ever Given’, run aground causing Egypt’s Suez Canal to be blocked. With authorities currently scrambling to refloat the cargo ship, traffic remains halted in both directions.

Officials have blamed strong winds for pushing the Ever Given sideways, causing an immediate queue of at least 100 vessels seeking to transit between the Red Sea and Mediterranean.

The Suez Canal blockage will have a considerable impact on international trade for months to come. With supply chains already strained with the challenges faced by the pandemic, the disruption caused by further delays, schedule changes and blank sailings is expected to have a ripple effect until the end of June.

Bloomberg has today reported that Egyptian authorities appear to want to wait until Monday for a higher tide to try and tow the vessel away, indicating that the most realistic return to normal for vessel traffic will only happening in a minimum of 10 days.

Is rerouting an immediate option?

According to current data there are almost 240 vessels now queued. Fears that this will take days to resolve has led to many carriers considering rerouting vessels around Africa. Yesterday (25th March) saw Ever Greet, a sistership to the vessel blocking the canal, as the first to head south for the Cape of Good Hope. However, experts currently state that detouring ships doesn’t seem like a viable option at the moment, due to risks of taking unfamiliar routes, limited supply to the crew and an extended shipment time.

Ligentia’s Customer teams are in contact with carriers regularly regarding possible diversion of cargo vessels in transit and will update all customers impacted by this as soon as possible.

Click here to view live images of the vessels delayed due to the blockage.

We are delighted to announce that Ligentia has been ranked in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. The Track 200 league table has been running for over a decade and ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales, measured over the latest two years of available accounts.

What’s more, Ligentia was one of only six supply chain management and logistics companies to make it into the top 200.

In 2019, our international sales hit £55.6 million, resulting in an average international sales growth of 31.69% pa. Last year, 2020, we also recorded revenues of c. £300 million, further demonstrating our strong year-on-year growth, which we expect to continue.

Recent investment from Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”) will support us in continuing to deliver our ambitious growth plans and will enable the enhanced development of Ligentix, our proprietary customer technology platform.

Speaking regarding the investment and Ligentix, Ligentia CEO Nick Jones said:

“Our significant investment in our technology platform means we have been able to not only maintain our service to customers but deliver some substantial change in the way we work. That investment has positioned Ligentia at the forefront of change in our sector. Our new partnership with Equistone will allow increased investment in our business at a time where there is a considerable awareness of global supply chains and the risks that organisations face without the right visibility systems and partners.”

Why air charters can be the ideal solution

As air freight rates continue to rise, lack of passenger aircraft has led to a major reduction in capacity. Meanwhile, a distressed shipping industry adds further pressure. With Chinese New Year fast approaching, now could be the right time to consider using air charters.

In recent months, we have seen a dramatic surge in enquiries from new customers looking for agile, resilient and reliable solutions to move their goods – as well as a specialist provider with the relevant expertise. We have now supported numerous customers with air charters and have moved a wide range of goods – from fashion to PPE – around the world.

There are a great number of advantages to using our air charter services, which include:

  • Increased speed and agility
    Faster turnaround, reduced risk of delays and 24/7 availability through our Rapid Response team
  • Cost efficiency
    Ligentia’s robust network of contacts mean we are able to find the most cost-efficient solution for you
  • Flexibility
    With exclusive use of the aircraft, the process can be scheduled to suit your specific requirements
  • In-flight tracking and visibility
    We provide full visibility and transparency through our PO management platform, named Ligentix
  • Specialist knowledge
    Our team is experienced in handling urgent shipments of both a sensitive and complex nature
  • On-the-ground support
    Our experts are on-hand to assist you to ensure smooth operations throughout the process

If you would like more information on the air charter services currently available from Ligentia, please email lee.aldermandavis@ligentia.global

Global Equipment and Capacity Update

This week all carriers have reported severe shortages of 40ft high-cubes at depots, and there has also been a run on 40ft standard boxes, with even 20ft containers beginning to show as unavailable at times.

Meanwhile, the empty equipment so desperately needed back in Asia is scattered around depots across Europe, particularly in the UK, where embattled ports have been forced to limit the restoration of containers back onto already overcrowded terminals.

A recent Alphaliner report stated, ‘All containers are very much in need; they still spend on average 45 days empty at depots, especially in regions with low container availability such as China and the US, the average is comparably high, with 61 and 66 days respectively, compared with the global average of 45 days.’

Shipping lines have announced the temporary suspension of cargo bookings into South China next month, blaming reduced capacity from local feeder operators. The move has prompted dismay among local forwarders who have warned customers “not to hesitate” to take any chance of booking cargo prior to Chinese New Year, which falls on 12th February. Last week, OOCL reported a “sharp” drop in available feeder capacity, due to Covid quarantine rules affecting ship crews, telling customers it would suspend bookings for South China ports from as early as 11th January until 23rd February. And ONE made a similar announcement highlighting restrictions will begin on 5th January and continue at some ports until 26th February. Ports impacted include Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Fujian.

There have been reports of vessels leaving China underutilised on some trades, due to the chronic lack of equipment with forecasters expecting the challenges to continue until after Chinese New Year.

The other option available to lines is to increase vessel speeds – faster service unlocks structural capacity in a shipping string – although this does come with increased costs.

Southampton Port Update

Due to a backlog of trucks Southampton port is stopping vehicles from entering on their booked VBS slots today. VBS slot times of 06:00, 07:00 and 08:00 have had their slot times pushed back to 09:00, 10:00 and 11:00.

We are also aware that the empty container issues at Southampton port are gradually worsening:

  • ONE are now refusing to accept any empties back into Southampton. Suppliers are being offered Manchester, Liverpool, London or to wait until Monday.
  • CMA empties are going to Portsmouth which incurs an average additional £150 per container from suppliers.
  • HAPAG are continuing to restitute in Southampton however the depots available are only open between 08:00 and 17:00 which are times drivers historically are away from the port area. Due to high volumes, these depot queues can be anything up to a 6hr wait.

Any empty containers returning by rail are also bound by the above parameters and charges. Due to the disruption at Southampton as they struggle to move boxes around in time, there is already an increase in the number of rail failures. Furthermore rail providers have very little control meaning recovery options are limited and a quick recovery may not be a viable option if a container fails to rail.

Our Customer Success teams will continue to keep customers updated on affected shipments as we remain focused on finding the best possible solutions at this challenging time. 

This month we’re celebrating 3 fantastic announcements from BIFA.

Congratulations to Harry Wilson, our apprentice based at our Tilbury, UK office for being recognised as an APPRENTICE of the YEAR 2020 finalist. Harry joined us in August 2019 as part of our International Freight Forwarding Apprenticeship Scheme and has taken on a wide variety of responsibilities, both within his apprenticeship remit for ocean freight exports and in other areas such as ocean, road and air imports. Showing a great passion for Freight Forwarding we are sure Harry will have an incredibly successful career ahead of him.

We are also proud to announce we have been recognised as a finalist in two further BIFA categories – the SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT award and AIR CARGO SERVICES award.

Well done to everyone across the business. Again and again we receive recognition for the innovative approaches we have when working with our customers, and every Ligentia colleague has a part to play in that success.