As with any industry, the landscape of shipping changes over time – overcoming old obstacles and facing new challenges. Sometimes, the nature of these hurdles will result from the limitations of technologies and equipment available at the time. However, at other times, these problems will arise from societal or political factors that bleed over into industries; international shipping can often be affected by these issues.
Rising Fuel Costs
Around the world, people are finding that fuel costs are increasing – it doesn’t matter where you live or what you do; this is having a large impact on life. The rise in cost is due to various factors, with the Ukraine war being a huge factor. In some cases and in our personal lives, there are some options to combat this – cutting down on travel, ordering less to be delivered, and so on. However, when it comes to shipping work, fuel is always needed for the company to continue operating. Higher fuel costs will always make a big impact on the profits of the business.
There are still options you can look into, though. You can educate your staff and drivers on how to conserve fuel when driving, and you might even be able to put in driver-aid software which highlights the most economical route or reduces the number of trips needed. There are also business partnerships you could explore, for instance, to supply you with the best fuel cards possible, to save some money, and continue to function.
The Lingering Effects of COVID-19
While it can often feel as though COVID-19 is firmly in the past, that simply isn’t the case, and the effects can still be felt around the world. In some places, that means congestion or backlog from the quarantine still enduring, but in parts of the world like China, where efforts to limit the spread of the virus are much stronger, shipping can be understandably affected. With different countries having different approaches and policies to the continued presence of the virus, the consistency and smoothness of transport are naturally going to be inhibited.
The only approach realistically to take is to stay as updated as possible with the policies and attitudes in place in the countries you most often deal with. Following their trends and patterns of behaviour will make it easier to make decisions and prepare for changes that might happen. Following the latest business and finance news will also inform you on issues like inflation that are hanging around and policy changes which will impact your business.
For those who regularly ship in and out of (and around) Europe, Brexit is a term that might have become synonymous with the idea of delays and obstruction. The uncertainty of how Brexit has been implemented up to this point has already led to some problems for shipping workers.
Regulations are constantly changing, but with the large border changes happening at the moment and bans on interacting with certain countries, there’s more disruption and uncertainty than you might have seen previously.
Again, keeping up to date as much as possible will reduce the impact that this all has on your business. You should have an open dialogue with your customers and highlight any problems that are around – both before you take a shipment and during. You can negate a lot of the impact if you keep your client informed – the worst part from a client’s point of view is a lack of communication.