QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What Can The Customer Do To Negate The Effects Of Blank Sailing?

Though shipping companies inform their customers in advance regarding blank sailings, it may be too late for them to take any useful steps to counter the effect of such a blank sailing.

Out-of-stock situations leading to production delays and delayed deliveries may be the result. This is where an effective forecasting system comes in handy.

Optimum safety stocks that take into consideration such stock-outs can, to a certain extent, overcome such situations.

An effective communication system with the carrier or carrier agent can also help the customer get a heads-up on any possible blank sailings or other delays.

Having a back-up transport arrangement to transport goods under such situations, even though it might be more expensive than sea freight, can help businesses from situations of stock-out, etc.

But whether to go in for an alternative transport arrangement will depend on the urgency for the goods and commitments made to the market.

As mentioned above, specialized shows and sporting event organizers could benefit from this kind of arrangement.

Just as they affect customers, blank sailings affect the ocean carriers too.

Most importantly, frequent blank sailings will affect their goodwill and market standing, especially, when the reason for blank sailings is to increase demand for cargo space or to push up the rates.