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Consumer Rights And Customer Service As Shipping Jams Wreck The Supply Chain

The resumption of normal life has not been even across the world. Shipping and logistics systems across developed countries are simply not up to scratch with the sudden boom in productivity, and even Canada, a net importer, is struggling to shift huge numbers of peas, according to Bloomberg. While this seems like a small and precise problem, it actually hints at a larger issue in the notoriously complicated shipping and logistics industry, one which will have impacts on consumers and their rights.
Fees and bonds
Containers are stuck in ports across the world – the astonishing story unfolding in Los Angeles has already cost retailers millions in delays, according to the LA Times, and the Journal of Commerce has confirmed that record import volumes are slowing British Columbia port flow. This, of course, is having a big knock-on effect on retailers and, by proxy, consumers, represented in costs. Understanding this requires a look at the various fees and charges involved with the shipping process. The customs bond, which enables shippers to organize customs charges efficiently, is very useful in keeping the supply chain moving. With excess imports, greater pressure is exerted on the chain, and issues start to crop up.
Consumer costs
A result of poor shipping turnarounds is a disconnect in the delivery cycle to customers. This has led to costs being pushed on to the consumer. CBC.ca notes a near doubling in total sales volume across a 6-month period, despite higher import volumes, and this has created inefficiencies in the supply chain. Accordingly, consumers are finding themselves burdened with the cost when retailers cannot fulfill an order or other issues arise. Tackling this as a retailer is a matter of pre-empting issues, and looking to have a robust customer service system in place to minimize the risk they would be passing over to customers from service costs.
Trouble on the horizon
This problem isn’t limited to the western seaboard. Many will be aware of the strikes that took over The Port of Montreal, and the use of back-to-work legislation by the governing party to get workers back into the docks. However, further trouble looms given the contentious manner of the mechanism used to get dock workers back to offloading cargo. Logistics and retailers are anticipating further disruption, and businesses should too. Looking to communicate this to customers, and perhaps building surplus stock, now will enable retail to create a situation where they maintain customer service despite the disruption.
With import volumes remaining high across North America, it’s actually not so much of a wild strategy for retailers to look at retaining surplus wherever possible. The impact of low worker headcount in ports across Canada will continue to have an impact on the supply chain – this much has been made clear over the past few months. Retail businesses can, and should, adapt.

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