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23 February 2022

Freight and supply chain issues continue into 2022

Written by APPA President Robert Williams

The continuation of global supply chain issues right up to the end of 2021 led to many of us working over the Christmas period and starting 2022 with a flurry as production times started earlier than ever before.

It’s now late February 2022, and we are still experiencing the same major freight issues and delays. As someone who has been in this industry for over 20 years, this isn’t something we haven’t witnessed before and I’m deeply concerned that I continue to read that economists and industry experts widely believe that supply chain disruptions will continue for the first half of the year, and possibly into 2023. 

Our couriers, from TNT, Fedex, DHL, etc. have been working around the clock, continually adapting and adjusting their operations to reflect the changes in market dynamics including the constant changes in capacity and demand and operational restrictions imposed related to COVID-19 measures from local governments.

More useful information can be found on TNT's website and DHL's website.

As a distributor, I really feel for our suppliers right now. They are being forced to push back their turn-around times to cope with the increasing volumes while managing the COVID 7 day isolation and close contact rules and handling these major supply chain issues with either not enough stock or stock arriving late.

For our suppliers, this is all while paying exuberant fees. As quoted in The Guadian recently, Carlos Villazon, the managing director of Stelno Logistics, said transporting a 40ft (12.2m) long shipping container – the most common size – to Australia used to cost between US$1,000 and US$1,500, but over the last year the price had blown out tenfold. He said Australian importers also suffered because global ship operators consider Australia a “very small piece of the pie”.

Collectively, this is all putting our whole industry in Australia and New Zealand under enormous pressure.

From my own experience, even without deadlines, meeting a reasonable delivery timeframe is almost near impossible at the moment. It’s literally potluck if the goods turn-up as they should, or are part delivered, or go missing for weeks on end.

Although these issues are well published in the media, I write this article to remind all APPA members (supplier and distributor) to ensure there is clear understanding of what’s going on.

Sea, air and local freight is going to be a nightmare for months to come. We as an industry must continue to communicate, work together and support each other. It’s up to us to set the current and realistic time-frames to our clients.

Unfortunately, the days of promising a client some goods in a few days – is a far distant memory. I know some suppliers have been able to do this, but then the freight lets them down.

For the time-being, we need to be upfront and communicate, as supplier and distributor and then to our end users, so they are fully aware of what’s going on and the situation our industry is presented with.

I truly feel with this communication, we can ensure that everyone has a smooth promo experience, and it keeps everyone happier and less stressed.

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