Securing supply chain success 

Securing supply chain success 

Cross-border shipping can be challenging for businesses aiming to expand internationally, and many turn to third-party logistics providers (3PLs) for help. Andrew Welling, vice president and general manager of brokerage operations at TA Services, highlights five ways in which 3PLs are advantageous to cross-border shipping.

“Cross-border freight shipping can be a complex and challenging process for businesses that want to move goods across international borders,” Welling stresses. “There are many logistical and regulatory issues to consider, such as customs requirements, documentation, and border security.”

He uses the New World’s supply chain as an example: “Manoeuvring through the North American supply chain is a complex endeavour, considering the vast enormity of obstacles like a global pandemic, a silver tsunami, and extensive truck driver turnover rates. Despite these obstacles and consequent bottlenecks, cross-border shipping is only going to increase between the US, Mexico, and Canada.”

Welling adds that regardless of economic events and shifts like inflation, shipping across the US-Mexico border is expected to increase in the near future thanks to the recent nearshoring phenomenon. “From management software to 3PL warehousing and everything in between, supply chain management is understandably difficult for enterprises to helm in-house,” he points out.

Welling highlights five ways in which 3PLs can assist with cross-border shipping needs anywhere in the world:

1. Customer compliance

One of the most significant challenges in cross-border freight is managing customs requirements. Different countries have different rules and regulations regarding what can be imported and exported, as well as how goods must be documented and inspected.

3PLs can help shippers tackle these regulations and ensure they are compliant with all relevant laws and requirements. This can include either owning or working with a trusted customs brokerage responsible for preparing and submitting the necessary paperwork to customs authorities, coordinating inspections, and other required procedures regarding cross-border logistics operations.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in hefty fines and stagnant inventory that lingers in customs limbo, failing to reach end destinations and causing significant financial burdens.

2. Carrier management

Another challenge of moving cross-border freight is finding reliable carriers to transport goods across international borders.

3PLs can help businesses find and vet carriers that have the necessary licenses, insurance, and experience to transport goods safely and efficiently. 3PLs can also negotiate rates and other terms with carriers on behalf of clients, ensuring the best possible service at a reasonable price. These cost savings can be significant with a partner that knows the ins and outs of cross-border freight logistics.

3. Freight consolidation

When shipping goods across borders, it can be more cost-effective to consolidate multiple shipments into a single container. This can be challenging to coordinate, as it requires finding other businesses that are also shipping goods to the same destination.

3PLs can help to identify other freight that is heading to the same destination and facilitate the consolidation of these shipments. This can reduce shipping costs as well as the shipper’s overall carbon footprint.

4. Risk management

Cross-border freight transport can be risky, as goods are often in transit for long periods of time. During this time they are subject to a variety of risks, such as theft, damage, and delays.

3PLs can help shippers manage these risks by providing insurance coverage and utilising trained staff to mitigate any potential problems. For example, they can use real-time tracking systems to monitor the movement of goods and intervene in the event of any issues.

The right 3PL will also have an extensive background of cross-border logistics experience, ensuring expertise in risk management. Having strategically located facilities and a keen understanding of all regulatory requirements allows 3PLs to react to any challenges accordingly with multiple solutions if problems happen to arise during transit. 

5. Supply chain visibility

Another benefit of using a 3PL provider for cross-border freight is increased visibility into the supply chain. 3PLs can provide shippers with real-time updates on the location and status of their shipments, as well as other key performance indicators such as transit time and delivery accuracy.

This information can help shippers to make more informed decisions about their supply chain, such as when to reorder inventory or when to adjust production schedules. Increased visibility accompanies a plethora of business advantages, like cost savings in areas such as shipping costs and order fulfilment.

Let the experts help with cross-border logistics

Overall, 3PLs can be a valuable resource for shippers needing to move goods across international borders. They can help shippers manage complex customs regulations, find reliable carriers, consolidate shipments, mitigate risks, and provide supply chain visibility.

“Supply chain management is made easy by the experts. They can help with logistical challenges like shipping costs, order fulfilment, cross-docking, and warehousing,” Welling emphasises. He concludes by stressing that a partnership with an accomplished 3PL provider can help shippers to shift the focus back to their core competencies. “Consider outsourcing cross-border logistics to those whose careers are devoted to constantly improving their knowledge and expertise in the field, so you can shift your focus to improving internal business operations,” he says. “Those in search of more efficient and cost-effective cross-border freight operations and a better overall customer experience should connect with a superior 3PL provider today.”

Published by

Jaco de Klerk

In his capacity as editor of SHEQ MANAGEMENT, Jaco de Klerk is regarded as one of the country’s leading journalists when it comes to the issue of sustainability. He is also assistant editor of FOCUS on Transport & Logistics.
Prev Nampo 2023: what a show!
Next Land use development and transport planning integration are vital

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.