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Cross-border logistics best practices to improve your international supply chain network

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Trucks moving across the border

Moving products locally is challenging enough from a planning and logistics perspective however the movement of goods across borders is an even greater logistics challenge. The process of moving your goods across borders presents several unique challenges, as a result, it’s important to adopt a few focused best practices. Below we will detail a list of best practices that you should consider, ensuring your products move smoothly to their intended destination with minimal risk and delay.

1. Doing your local research is vital

Before moving your goods through another country’s borders, you should conduct research on their local regulations, laws, and cultural norms. This is because this research will allow you to gain an understanding of their customs expectations surrounding your products, which products can and cannot be imported or moved through the country’s borders, and whether your products will even be viable given their cultural norms.

2. Build strong local partnerships

Developing strong local partnerships with local logistics partners can significantly improve the overall quality of your supply chain network in that region. This can include getting in touch with a local customs broker to ease the complexity of a customs clearance process which you may not be familiar with.

Not only can this streamline the customs clearance process, but it can provide you with additional local insights surrounding the regulations of the country you are moving goods to or through.

3. Technology is your best friend

Technology particularly cloud-based technology, can play a huge role in managing cross-border logistics for example transportation management systems otherwise known as TMS can help you optimise, and plan the best routes to move your products through. This can reduce the costs to your transportation fleet regarding fuel consumption and reduce time spent on the route, it also gives you the ability to track entire fleets, both locally and globally.

4. Having a great risk mitigation plan

Having an effective contingency plan in place can take you from a day of lost time and money to a day of moderate inconvenience to your business.

It’s important to have a plan in place for potential disruptions to cross-border operations, whether this means having a backup supplier or an alternative route in place. The reason for this is that, while transporting your products from your country of origin to their final destinations, various potential disruptions can occur, including man-made strikes affecting transportation routes or natural disasters affecting a broader region.

5. keep your knowledge up to date

Keep in touch with the situation on the ground as it is important to stay informed of events as this can keep you up to date on changes to local regulations, and other possible risks unfolding such as civil unrest in the country your products move to or through. In addition, this can help you stay one step ahead of your local competitors.

Final thoughts

To manage the logistics challenges involved in a cross-border supply chain you need a comprehensive approach to the multitude of factors involved in this process. All five of these factors will play an important role in the overall success of the operation.

The combined approach of these best practices will benefit the overall quality of your cross-border supply chain network. By adopting these best practices, organizations can minimise disruptions and ensure that their cross-border logistics operations are optimised for success.

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Logistics

New Multimodal Inland Port Association Launched at Transport Forum

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Railway freight train in South Africa

A significant milestone was reached in the South African logistics sector with the recent launch of the Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA). This new association was launched during the Transport Forum, an online event on 23 May 2024 attended by over 250 delegates, with a distinguished panel from industry, Transnet and academia. The event marked what many are calling the dawn of a rail renaissance in the country.

MIPA addresses a critical need in South Africa’s logistics landscape, which is increasingly grappling with rising costs and severe congestion. The association aims to act as the unified voice for inland ports across the nation, focusing on promoting, supporting, and advocating for the increased movement of cargo from road to rail.

Warwick Lord, MIPA

“Transporting more cargo by rail has become an imperative, considering the growing cost of logistics in South Africa. It is no longer just a nice-to-have,” says Warwick Lord, MIPA Chairman.

MIPA aims to reform the rail industry through private investment, foster trade activities that meet social objectives, and facilitate the crucial transfer of goods from road to rail. By optimising industrial and logistics activities through efficient multimodalism, logistics costs will be reduced, and efficiency will be improved.

Formed by leading entities in the transportation sector, including the Cato Ridge Inland Port, Tambo Springs Development Company, Portfutures, Autoforce, Mac Group, Cape Town Inland Port, the Cape Winelands Airport, the Musina Intermodal Terminal, RailRunner South Africa, and RailRunner Services, the association is committed to collaborating on best practices, particularly in through private sector participation (PSP). It will work closely with government and state-owned enterprises.

“We aim to create one voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability in the logistics sector,” says Lord.

MIPA’s strategy to drive more cargo from road to rail includes using innovative multi-nodal technology and improving collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders, to optimise each supply chain link from a cost and efficiency perspective.

“Inland ports increase accessibility through long-distance transport corridors, leading to lower distribution costs and improved capacity by consolidating freight volumes,” explains Lord. “These multi-modal terminals can handle large amounts of cargo continuously, allowing sea ports to extend their cargo base, which is crucial given the increasing size of vessels.”

Furthermore, inland ports provide significant dedicated logistics developments, proximity to rail and highways, ample truck parking, and less traffic congestion.

Lord says MIPA is dedicated to facilitating free trade and promoting sustainable practices. The association will support its members in complying with sustainable development goals and the SADC Vision 2050.

Dr Juanita Maree

Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), highlighted the launch of MIPA: “Our logistics network is at a turning point, with more alignment across the country than ever before. By working together, we can achieve significant advancements. It is crucial to continuously foster dialogue, share insights, and raise awareness to build a sustainable supply chain for the future.”

According to Lord, MIPA will aim to expand its membership, encouraging more stakeholders to join and contribute to the conversation.

“The business community plays a vital role in developing and facilitating trade within the logistics and supply chain environment. We will lobby warehousing, transport, and consulting businesses through these channels to join MIPA. We will also seek to include State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) – as they are significant players nationally and globally – while fostering a close-working environment with the government,” concludes Lord.

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Affordable, Reliable & Highly Tailored Overnight Road Services Delivers With Superior reach & in Record Time

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African man near transport trucks

In a world where businesses demand swift and dependable logistics solutions, Seabourne Logistics is leading with its innovative ONR (overnight road service), setting new industry standards, delivering goods punctually and rapidly expanding its reach to cater to a rapidly growing clientele.

Designed to provide quick and efficient deliveries throughout South Africa, reaching destinations typically accessible solely by air, the overnight service gives clients a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced market.

“The success of our overnight road service can be attributed to our dedication to quality, reliability, and cost-effectiveness,” says Garry Harris, Director at Seabourne Logistics ZA. “We understand that our clients’ success depends on their ability to have goods delivered on time and within budget, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Transporting goods overnight by road presents numerous benefits. The foremost advantage is its cost-effectiveness, offering potential savings of up to 50% compared to airfreight services. Moreover, it excels in cargo handling, boasting greater space and flexibility than airlines. This facilitates the transportation of hazardous materials and liquids, which may be subject to stricter airborne regulations.

“While road transport does have its limitations, it is considerably more accommodating, permitting the carriage of items like aerosols or lithium batteries that may be restricted on flights. Importantly, our service consistently upholds high quality standards, ensuring minimal disruptions,” continues Harris.

Seabourne have created distribution hubs and fulfillment centres which are strategically positioned across the country to cater to the growing clientèle. Not only has it increased the service’s reach, but also allows for more efficient transportation networks.

The company has invested heavily in the development of this service.  All linehaul vehicles are equipped with long-range tanks and anti-fatigue cameras that are consistently operated by a double crew, whose activities are closely monitored by a 24-hour control room.

Iveco Turbo Daily 50C 70 vehicles with reinforced heavy-duty tow bars and 1.5-ton trailers are operated within their warranty period on the overnight road service – ensuring reliability. The fleet is subjected to bumper-to-bumper service checks every second to third day, depending on the rotation schedule.

The vehicles have dimensions measuring 4500 (length) x 1700 (width) x 1900 (height), with a carrying capacity of 2.5 tons and 16 cubic metres of space. The trailers have dimensions of 3300 (length) x 1600 (width) x 1700 (height) and can carry 1-1.5 tons with 9 cubic metres of available space. To enhance their robustness, the rear sections of the vehicles are equipped with aluminium cladding walls and Marley-type floors, complete with sunken securing points.

“Businesses, driven by price sensitivity and competition in service delivery, are increasingly opting for this intermediate service that ensures next-day delivery,” explains Harris. “It holds great value in industries like the automotive sector, where the quick movement of parts is crucial. It offers convenience and flexibility, allowing for multiple deliveries in a single trip to remote places often left out from next-day delivery. Moreso, we’re constantly working on expanding our service reach and footprint across the country, providing our clients with a cost-effective solution,” concludes Harris.

The growing logistics company moved to a new and improved facility in November, doubling their warehousing space and preparing to further enhance their reach and maintain their excellent personal service.

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Logistics

Laser Cutting Systems in Shipbuilding & Supply Chain impacts

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Shipbuilding with large ship and man

Shipbuilding, a craft as ancient as our love for the sea, is witnessing a heartwarming embrace of old and new. Cargo ships themselves are one of many crucial parts of the supply chain.

We talk a great deal about the freight aspect of maritime shipping however one less studied element is how we can use certain technologies to make the creation of these fleets more efficient and the effects this has on the supply chain.

Enter the laser cutter, a modern marvel making waves in this age-old industry. Let’s dive deep into how this tool, with its humming precision, is becoming the best mate for shipbuilders and how the supply chain benefits from it.

1. Precision Meets Passion

Laser Cutters:

Think of Laser cutting systems as the skilled artist’s brush in a shipbuilder’s hand. Their finesse ensures that ships are crafted not just robustly, but also with an attention to detail that would make any craftsman proud.

Supply Chain Ripples:

Thanks to these machines, there’s less scratching of heads and more nodding in approval. Fewer reorders of materials mean smoother sails from design boards to docks. This also means less cost is wasted on reordering materials and thus a less expensive component of the supply chain is produced.

2. Quick Production Times

Laser Cutters:

These aren’t your granddad’s tools. They fly through sheet metal at great speed, proving that modern tools can keep up with the high seas demands.

Supply Chain Ripples:

Quicker construction of cargo ships means that more assets can be added to the existing supply chain expanding capacity and ensuring the supply chain can keep up with demand.

3. Less Material is Wasted

Laser Cutters:

]They’re the embodiment of ‘waste not, want not’. With their precision, every bit of metal finds its purpose.

Supply Chain Ripples:

Less scrap means not just savings, but also fewer headaches about what to do with leftovers leaving us with a greener production of our ships.

4. Every Piece in Its Place

Laser Cutters:

In shipbuilding, every section is a piece of a grand puzzle. With lasers in the mix, each piece of metal can be precision-cut to fit any section of the ship.

Supply Chain Ripples:

Fewer misfits mean less time wasted going back and fixing the problem. This is music to the ears of everyone, from the shipyard to the suppliers saving time materials and precious resources.

5. Remember These High-Tech Tools Need TLC Too

Laser Cutters:

As sophisticated as they are, they’re a bit like pets. Give them care, and they’ll purr (or, hum) along perfectly.

Supply Chain Ripples:

This means the supply chain needs to have a soft spot for machine maintenance, ensuring parts and services are always on standby to service the machines that improve overall supply chain efficiency.

6. Greener Supply Chain

Laser Cutters:

Beyond their precision, they’re a wink to our green future, less waste and more sustainable practices mean a greener supply chain as these tools begin to see more and more use.

Supply Chain Ripples:

As shipbuilding turns a shade greener, the supply chain is now on the lookout for eco-friendly partners. What this means in effect is that clients and brands who sway to the more eco-friendly side will be more likely to do business with a partner that shows an ecofriendly initiative.

7. Cost Savers

Laser Cutters:

They might ask for a few extra pennies upfront, but the symphony they bring to shipbuilding often makes it worth every cent.

Supply Chain Ripples:

With a vision on the horizon, there’s a gentle nudge for more flexible payment dialogues, keeping an eye on long-term gains.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the dance between laser cutters and shipbuilding is a sight to behold. A balance of tradition and technology, proves that even in an industry as seasoned as shipbuilding, there’s always room for a new partner.

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