By Liesl Venter
With soaring freight rates and delivery delays unlikely to change any time soon, meeting shipper demand is a constant challenge. “As a result of a shortage of containers, shipping lines are now only utilising containers to markets where they can earn the highest margins,” says Riaz Ismail, national operations manager of ZacPak. “With vessels constantly bypassing certain ports, it’s almost doubled the long-distance transport rates .” Ismail says the use of non-operating reefers for LCL cargo also poses a constant risk as cable theft of these units severely impacts the bottom line. Challenges like port productivity and ongoing lockdown restrictions around the world have further exacerbated the situation. “The new normal has, however, made operations and management teams highly flexible to deal with the restrictions and challenges we are facing.” Ismail says ongoing lower airfreight capacity has had a positive impact on the LCL market. “We are seeing volumes increasing – and while the new normal is very different from how we used to operate, it is important to note that supply chains will mature under these new circumstances. Already there are model changes for importers. The current volumes experienced within ZacPak have been favourable – and we believe that this will continue for the months to come.” With South Africa, in essence, being an importing economy, there are also increased opportunities for the country’s landlocked neighbours. “As a part of the CFR group of companies we believe we can add value to clients in neighbouring countries.” The future, says Ismail, will continue to be sustainability.