AlixPartners’ Releases New Report on Ocean Cargo Supply Chains

Can container-ship operators really step off the boom-and-bust treadmill of past decades and continue to balance capacity against demand?

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Long “the sick man” of the transportation ecosystem, the container-shipping industry stands on the brink of a new era of sustainable profitability.

But can container-ship operators really step off the boom-and-bust treadmill of past decades and continue to balance capacity against demand? 

Moreover, what happens as more and more people get vaccinated and consumer spending starts to swing back to services, how will the industry react as the pandemic-driven surge in goods delivery moderates?  And, carriers how might carriers’ current, abysmal reliability record come back to haunt them?

All those questions and more are addressed in AlixPartners’ 2021 Container Shipping Outlook:

Carriers have a chance to break the cycle. Will they take it? – which was released today.

Also included in the report: advice for forwarders and shippers in today’s new world as well as carriers.

Brian Nemeth, a director in the transportation and infrastructure practice at AlixPartners [the global, multi-industry consulting firm], told SCMR in an interview that managers may want to approach new contracts from a high-value strategic perspective this summer.

“With high-value, time-sensitive shipments, they will want to lock in guarantees at the premium price,” he says. “From a tactical point-of-view, however, they can play the spot markets if they can handle the risk exposure. It’s a delicate balance this year, for sure.”


Smaller shippers may not have the volume to “segment” their loads, however, and may even spread their business through different ocean cargo gateways.

“Given the congestion at ports in San Pedro Bay, we are seeing more interest in booking freight through Mexico and Canada,” he says. “This is a trend that we expect to continue through the next Peak Season.”


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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

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