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Chinese ban on ad hoc charters highlights the need to be flexible when choosing carriers

Posted on 18th November 2015 by YmeriHart

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A Chinese government’s ban on ad hoc charters out of major cities has highlighted the problem shippers face if they cannot easily switch between carriers.

The ban may be imposed only until the end of November but the timing is especially difficult as exports to Western countries ramp up for Christmas.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration’s has said the ban on ad hoc charters out of Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenyang has been imposed because of poor on-time performance by charter operators in congested airports.

So, how will the manufacturers and other shippers make sure their goods are in the warehouses and on the shelves in the vital Christmas shopping period? An earlier ban was lifted briefly to allow charter flights bringing two NBA teams into the country to play exhibition basketball matches, but it is unlikely freight charters can count on similar exemptions!

Obviously most goods are booked to be carried on scheduled flights – both as bellyhold in passenger planes and in freighters operated by the airlines and the integrators. But it is precisely the unexpected surge in demand that shippers most want to meet that can be affected by this ban.

Some shippers are trucking to other cities which are not affected by the ban and others are switching to the spot-market to find space on scheduled flights – an expensive option in both cases as capacity is very tight.

Even if shippers do find the physical space to ship their cargo, how will they be able to track it and, just as importantly, ensure the documentation is exactly right so that the goods do not end up being rejected by the carrier or stuck in Customs?

Each carrier – both small trucking companies in China and airlines operating internationally – has its own particular requirements in terms of documentation. This applies to both the information required and the way it is presented.

And, even in ‘emergencies’, shippers still want to find the best value for money. So how can they quickly compare all the options and decide what best suits their required combination of speed, price and destination ? A combination that could easily change for different products and different customers?

The answer is: find a company offering a multi carrier management software solution that makes all the decisions. The most sophisticated systems not only make the carrier selections based on the exact criteria entered by the shipper, they also print the label that ensures a seamless journey to the end destination. Tracking and detailed data for management reporting are, of course, included.

This is the only cost-effective and reliable way that shippers can ensure they have the flexibility to change their supply chain suppliers at short notice. Exactly what is needed in the six weeks before Christmas.

See Pantechnik’s extensive list of carriers here

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