Depleted stock levels push up volumes

Volumes into Gauteng are on the increase as the country moves into the pre-Christmas peak season. This was good news, said Nicholas von Flemming, group national sales manager of CFR Freight, indicating that while still far from the pre-pandemic days, there was some normality returning to industry – albeit a new normal.

By Liesl Venter, Freight News

Volumes into Gauteng are on the increase as the country moves into the pre-Christmas peak season. This was good news, said Nicholas von Flemming, group national sales manager of CFR Freight, indicating that while still far from the pre-pandemic days, there was some normality returning to industry – albeit a new normal. “Buyers are running short of current stock and need to place new stock orders. Space and availability of product, however, is far from guaranteed with the current carrier performance. The strategy of sourcing stock in different global regions is also under pressure because global delays persist and are not just limited to Asia,” he explained. “Thus, the usual growth from the European Union (EU) and the USA when Asia is delayed is diluted as these regions have carrier issues of their own to deal with. Airfreight has become the most significant alternative for small parcel volume due to the delays experienced with ocean carriers.” According to Von Flemming, delayed cargo is one of the biggest challenges faced by operators at present. “Dealing with delays, which results in goods reaching clients late, is an ongoing challenge. The delays in a foreign FCL transhipment hub/loading port or originating from a blank sailing inevitably manifest in a delay of product reaching the consignee. This is even more apparent as the LCL/ FCL threshold goes higher owing to higher container pricing by the carriers,” he said. “There is some benefit, as we do carry the over flow along with a large portion of baseload volume for clients. There is pressure to get this stock into stores as soon as possible though. A key component is looking to communicate as effectively as possible with our client base. Our weekly strategic briefings allow us to collaborate with our client base to offer them insight into delays. Being a multi-trade NVOCC, we have a neutral expert in every origin and destination port, feeding us with information constantly. Whilst in the current environment it may not always be the news we want; clients must be briefed openly and accurately on all eventualities.” He said in Gauteng the company had engaged in additional services in several areas of the business. “We have seen more requests come through for a one-stop-shop solution offered by the CFR Group to clients on a neutral basis. Whilst this has its own challenges, it also holds exciting opportunities. The depot product is growing and is busier with customs stops and FCL packing.” There were two further developments worthy of note, said Von Flemming. “Firstly, the arrival of a new branch manager for ocean freight, Natasha Lawrence, who has extensive knowledge in the logistics sector, and secondly, the launch of a direct Johannesburg consolidation from Antwerp. This provides further opportunities of pure Johannesburg consolidation boxes in the near future from other trades.” According to Von Flemming, with a lot of cargo having to make its way up to Gauteng, hauliers have no other option but to operate a hub and spoke system. “It has been to our benefit to control our road freight synergies to allow us to find solutions for time-sensitive cargo through making space on our Durban-Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth- Johannesburg trucking solutions.” He said new types of cargo were moving to LCL as carrier pricing had resulted in shippers asking forwarders to consider LCL more and more. “This has allowed us to design solutions and strategies around larger opportunities with our client base.”

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