Freight Insights General

A Supply Chain Christmas Carol

Technology changes everything, including Christmas. Whether it’s agile sourcing of hoverboards or finding the perfect gift for the person who has everything, technology is fixing the problem for good.

Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come as they visit the Xmas supply chain.

Production: Santa’s little helpers

One of Christmas’s big sellers this year is the come-from-nowhere (and literally exploding) hoverboard. Buzzfeed traced how online celebrity love for the now-ubiquitous hoverboards so quickly lead to a massive supply of product.

They found that Shenzhen has an entire ecosystem dedicated to rapid product demand.

“New product crazes present struggling businesses and eager entrepreneurs alike with an opportunity …. The nature of China’s booming electronics business is to be adaptable to the whims of a global market.”

With over 1,000 factories already producing hoverboards, Shenzhen is already the ‘hoverboard manufacturing capital of the world’.

The Ghost of Christmas past may have been a year-long production cycle, with proprietary tech and careful sourcing. The production for Christmas Present is one of perpetual flux and readiness, from R&D, sourcing, and assembly to distribution. We have reached the era of the on-demand, responsive supply chain.

But it comes at a price.

Another story playing out with hoverboards is the potential hazard of cutting corners to save costs. But the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, or a Buzzfeed update anytime soon, will show how quickly the city has instead become the [insert whatever new craze] capital of the world.

 

Freight: Dasher, Carrier, Forwarder (and Rudolph)

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come looms with startups eager to automate freight shipping, from “Uber-for-trucking” companies like Cargomatic and Convoy to online freight quoting like us at Freightos, and even incumbent forwarders, with K+N’s new online platform. Lower carrier prices and more efficient technology promise great savings for importers next Christmas season.

There is certainly demand for better freight.

Zepol channeled Santa’s supply chain Big Data:

“Ho, Ho, holy cow! Retailers seem to be gearing up for what could be a mega shopping season…This August alone, U.S. importers brought in 1.86 million TEUs (twenty-foot containers), 9 percent higher than August of 2014”.

The Hackett Associates/National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Global Port Tracker report supported Zepol’s forecast.

“Retailers predict that import volumes at the nation’s major container ports will finish the year on a high note despite weak demand during this year’s traditional peak shipping season.”

On the customs side, it’s still very much the domain of Christmas Past. Ever since the US Congress instituted tariffs as just the second law it ever passed, tariffs have been slow in adapting. NPR’s Planet Money drove the point home with Santa’s costume, which can range from HS Section 9505 (festive articles), as importers would argue, to the U.S. Customs’ claim that the red suit falls under normal apparel codes, which attract much higher import duties.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column]

US Flag “This is huge”

Mr. Anthony Foxx US Secretary of Transportation

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