Fashion Logistics in an Era of Non-Stop Port Strikes

Remember the looming port strikes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts threatening to shut down international trade and, by extension, much of the U.S. economy as we know it? Well, after a year of tense and tenuous negotiations, cooler heads prevailed and a major, long-term agreement was reached in April with port workers:  
These negotiations were very significant in that they affect 14 East and Gulf Coast ports that cumulatively represent 95 percent of all containerized shipments—and 110 million tons of import and export cargo—to the Eastern seaboard.  

National Retail Federation (NRF) Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jon Gold told LM that this news is positive for both supply chains and the U.S. economy in that the agreement provides stability on the waterfront for East and Gulf Coast ports. “This provides the stability that retailers and other importers and exporters and transportation and logistics providers, among others, really rely on through the ports,” he said.
  Similarly, a deal was reached with dock workers on the West Coast in December, ending a very costly port strike.  


This, of course, was great news for an array of industries, but especially the U.S. apparel industry, which relies heavily on multinational supply chains. But just in the month since the deal was reached, a number of labor disputes have flared up at ports elsewhere in the world, highlighting the never-ending apparel supply chain management and fashion logistics challenges facing companies.   Two weeks ago, for example, port workers in two Brazilian cities unexpectedly went on strike. In the first week of May, port workers in Hong Kong — the world's third-busiest container port — ended a massive 40-day strike that created loading and unloading delays of three days or more. A series of port strikes occurred in Chile in late March and early April, and a port strike may be looming in Israel. If your garments are stuck on a ship somewhere waiting to be offloaded — or if you have to redirect your supply routes through a distant port not dealing with a work stoppage, costing you days (and money) — how are you supposed to maintain a level of speed-to-market necessary to thrive in this frenetic industry?

Simply put, in an era where it's not uncommon for apparel supply chains to stretch around the world and back, apparel companies have to be able to deal with major disruptions. At The Apparel Logistics Group, our fashion 3PL services can keep you agile, ahead of the curve, and prepared for whatever complications the world may throw at your operations.
Posted: 5/31/2013 4:39:05 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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