In the coming year, there will be new transportation hurdles that will challenge supply chains everywhere. How they overcome these challenges will be the ultimate freight test.
By 2016, the expansion of the Panama Canal will be complete. While this will open up new trade possibilities, it also will come with massive changes. The extra room in the Panama Canal will result in larger vessels called New Panamax and Post New Panamax. The ships can hold more cargo, which could help with some ocean freight rates. However, many ports in the US and around the World might not have the capabilities to handle the larger vessels. If the ports do not upgrade to handle larger ships, the port congestion could worsen quickly.
On the domestic front, there is a massive shortage of truck drivers by 40,000. This could impact capacity issues. The 40,000 vacancies are expected to become 400,000 in ten years to further exacerbate the problem. Trucking companies are having a difficult time attracting new and younger drivers.
Meanwhile, internationally, there are new and emerging markets growing. Commodities, like heavy machinery, are in high demand throughout Africa and the Middle East. It would be a wise for a company to take advantage of this opportunity.
The transportation challenges that face US companies might seem difficult, but working with a knowledgeable freight forwarder can make a great difference. They have years of experience in all types of shipping. They will help plan your transportation strategy and help navigate your freight across the stormy waters of uncertainty. With a freight forwarder, your company can survive the problems of the upcoming year and beyond.