Freight Forwarders – Keeping your Supply Chain Working

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Freight Forwarders – Keeping your Supply Chain Working

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Freight Forwarders – Keeping your Supply Chain Working

Guest Contributor- Terry Allen, Director and Owner: Hawthorn Logistics

At this stage we are all more than aware of the challenges facing the Global Supply Chain. There is no good news, from Brexit, to driver shortages, blocked canals, congested ports, fuel increases etc there seems to be no end to the problems.

That’s not including any issues that are driven by the Global Pandemic of Covid 19.

We are hearing constantly about possible scarcity of materials and products in the coming months, not least in relation to empty shelves at Christmas.

How do we navigate through all of these issues? How do we ensure that our products and services are impacted to the least possible degree?

Having worked in the Transport and Logistics industry for more than 40 years I firmly believe that we need to take full advantage of the experts available to the market and use their talents and experience to help guide us through all the pitfalls.

The Freight Forwarding community has been at the coalface and forefront of every global catastrophe since time immemorial. They have kept supply chains going during times of natural disasters and emergencies, wars and all manner of trade embargoes and blockades.

We know from history that wars have been won and lost because of supply issues. In World War I for example, for every man in the trenches there were 20+ men and women behind the lines ensuring he had the equipment, food, water and weapons needed for the fight.

While I’m not suggesting we are in a war or anything close to that I am suggesting that whether you work with a global forwarder or a local indigenous supplier you have that level of support behind you to ensure you have all the resources needed to maintain your supply lines.

Your Freight Forwarder is a fantastic barometer of what is to come, they see the problems, at times, weeks before they manifest themselves in the economy.

They are aware of challenges to obtaining bookings, obtaining equipment, lengthening transit times, delays at ports, airports and much more.

They can help guide you through the issues and problems and provide you with up to date information regardless of your global needs.

Like almost everything in life the secret lies in communication and transparency. Having a trusting and strong relationship between client and carrier is essential. This relationship must be steadfast and true for both sides in order for it to work. Providing accurate and real information regarding forecasts, needs, timelines etc can be very challenging but taking the time to discuss these in advance allows your forwarder to glean as much accurate information as possible.

The more information that is shared the better the overall outcome.

Nobody can offer a cast iron guarantee that things won’t go awry. What they can do is put measures in place to mitigate against failures. As clients regularly tell me, its not the problem that causes the issues, it’s the lack of solution that ultimately leads to failure.

Talk to your Freight Forwarder, meet with them and discuss your upcoming needs. Look for best options and ask for alternatives in the event that the best option won’t or can’t happen.

To repeat, whether you work with the largest Freight Forwarder in the world or the smallest, your level of trust and confidence in them will be the key to successfully keeping your supply chain working.


Terry Allen has worked in the Transport Industry since 1979. He began his career with Aer Lingus in 1979 and has worked with MSAS Exel and is now co-owner of Hawthorn Logistics Solutions Ltd. A wholly owned Irish freight forwarder.



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