UWL President Duncan Wright joined Steve Ferreira, CEO at Ocean Audit for a fireside chat during FreightWaves' Global Supply Chain Week 2021. These two men have decades of combined experience in the ocean freight and logistics industry. In fact, they both worked at Sealand in their early days. Together, they discussed challenges that shippers are facing, including how to navigate congestion, container and capacity issues.
A shifting global freight environment
Wright touched on some of the shifts currently happening in the global freight market: “We have a huge shift in global containerization right now. We have a container problem. We have an infrastructure that’s struggling."
"From a macro standpoint, we have a huge shift in consumer demand. A lot of companies forecasted drops in demand when COVID-19 hit, and the consumer almost went in the other direction," he shared. "You’re going to have to [take] a very close look at your distribution models, carrier contracts, etc.”
Because of these dynamic shifts, traditional retail distribution models are being challenged in 2021. This is driving the need for flexible, alternative solutions.
"We are in a very exceptional period of change and opportunity for the 3PL community in the warehouse space. We're up to over half a million square feet in most of the major port markets on the East Coast and continuing to expand that," said Wright.
One of the places we're is expanding is in the NY/NJ market, which is in such high demand right now. Our newest Distribution Center (DC) is expect to come online in Newark in November 2021. Contact us now to get on our consideration list for the new space, or learn more about our retail and fulfillment solutions here.
Shippers are looking for ways to get their inventory closer to their customers. "The shifts in ecommerce and the traditional RDCs of the retailers which sit in inland locations — that whole model has been really turned on its head," Wright explained.
"Customers are looking for more and more solutions which put warehouse product near the populations, tied to the ecommerce demand. And also, the increase, obviously, that they have in safety stock needs based on the complete unpredictability of the global ocean environment right now," he said.
With the current challenges that exist in the market, having an NVO like UWL in the mix can give shippers that extra flexibility they need.
Improving flexibility with a strategic network
So what is UWL doing to address these changes? Wright shared how owned assets in strategic locations help clients pivot in response to changing market conditions.
"At the World Group, we have a lot of assets in our network. We own and operate the buildings, the drayage component, and these are areas of great risk for our customers. So what we do is link those together so we have our own drayage handling our own warehouse moves, our forwarding moves, and then trying to provide these alternate solutions to customers in other port markets - we can quickly help them adapt," Wright said.
UWL's niche assets help clients navigate around logjams when congestion crops up at major gateways. "Most mid-size BCOs and shippers today will traditionally use the LA region, Ontario, Chino, those types of areas to distribute to their customers across the country, and we're able to quickly offer the East Coast solution to that, and also looking into the Gulf and finding alternate ocean services that also help support their distribution needs," he explained.
"Its such a complex problem now and we believe we've got the actual, physical skin in the game to really help these customers with the dynamic shifts that we're seeing and the need for flexibility in their supply chain."
Catch the recap on FreightWaves
Special thanks to Casey, Phil, and the whole team at Freightwaves for the opportunity to be a part of this event and to highlight the products and services that UWL offers. Check out the full video recap on FreightWaves.com.