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International Container Shipping
International ocean shipping (sea transport, sea containers etc.) has become increasingly more critical as companies expand supply chains globally. Global supply chains are reducing the cost of manufacturing. Lower labor costs combined with government subsidies and even lower raw material prices have driven a significant amount of manufacturing overseas. Managing a global supply chain, with international shipping, overseas employees, global shipping and a overall global perspective is a significant challenge for the international global companies of the 21st century.
Shipping containers internationally is a challenge for companies who sell products globally and those who source globally, ship overseas, and sell domestically. Service companies are also beginning to source globally, ship globally, and utilize international resources to reduce costs. Documents can use international shipping or electronic means can be used to send documents anywhere around the globe.
As more low cost manufacturing centers open internationally (Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia etc.), shipping and a properly managed supply chain are quickly becoming competitive advantages for companies. Utilizing third party logistics companies with knowledge of various international shipping means, global tariff and tax issues, international shipping laws, and local knowledge of shipping methods can reduce the time and cost of establishing a companies supply chain. A mismanaged global supply chain can eliminate the lower cost of manufacturing globally as working capital and international shipping rates can slow a company down. Managing this challenge with airfreight, sea containers and late stage customization can enable a company to provide its customers the services and products they need while being able to react to their needs quickly.
International container shipping is not new, but the means and methods are changing. As issues arise with shipping-international such as the longshoremen strike on the West Coast of the US several years ago, companies need to understand the risks of their supply chain and develop many solutions for managing its global supply chain and shipping-international.
When products are shipped internationally, and product lead times are short, air freight is an option for international shipping. Overseas manufacturing must be selected to match the corporate strategy. If a company is going to be the low cost manufacturer in an industry, it can rely on overseas or international shipping primarily by sea. All of its products can be manufactured globally and then shipped to its international end market by the least expensive overseas method. If the company plans on providing more value, some international manufacturing would be beneficial, but the global supply chain should be matched with some manufacturing closer to the customer to reduce shipping time of end products and provide the level of service to its global customer base.
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