Business, Freight News, Logistics, Sea

Just in Case is here to stay, say Multimodal speakers

[ June 20, 2022   //   ]

The switch away from the just-in-time (JIT) supply chains towards a more cautious local warehousing approach by shippers is set to stay until confidence in the resilience of global ocean freight transport systems is restored, said freight experts at Multimodal 2022.

Panellists at the seminars cautioned that despite the widespread lifting of Covid restrictions,  there would be no quick return to pre-Covid practices.

“If you look at warehouse occupancy rates, customers are holding a lot of product locally, and I don’t see that changing until there is more resilience,” said Nick Winder, group managing director for WIN Logistics Group.

HMM Europe managing director for Great Britain, Peter Livey, argued that there has been so much disruption in the last few years that some previously dominant supply chain models such as ‘Lean JIT’ were no longer seen as reliable.

“I think people have been burnt in the last two years, by the disruptions to logistics supply chains,” added Samantha Brocklehurst, customer experience director for the UK & Ireland, Maersk. “We have seen a swing from JIT to JIC,  and I don’t think we can go back to JIT, but I think there is a middle ground.”

Livey said many companies have had to adjust or re-examine their models because of the extensive disruptions due to Covid and port congestion, with significant implications such as the location of stock.

However, the panellists questioned whether customers will significantly reverse two decades of outsourcing manufacturing production to China and the Far East – near-shoring production closer to consumer markets – because it was a complex and expensive change to make. More commonly, customers were instead looking at moving some production to other Asian countries, they said.

A record 860 guests gathered at the VOX in Birmingham on the 14th of June to celebrate the 2022 Multimodal Awards, presented by former international rugby union referee Nigel Owens.

On the night, £17,175 was raised for Transaid, which works to improve road safety through driver training in Africa.

Multimodal 2023 will take place on 13-15 June.