We know the way and every detour
Just ordering products from Asia, North America, Africa and having them shipped over to the Netherlands is not an option at the moment. The logistics sector is having a hard time. Unfortunately, as a trading company, we also suffer from the delays that occur every day. We try to handle this as good as we can in order to limit the delay for our clients as much as possible.
We are most affected by delays from Asia, especially China. Companies kept few inventories during the entire corona period. Now that the economy is improving, significantly more raw materials are being purchased. That means an explosive increase in production and transport of raw materials in ISO, 20 ft and 40 ft containers in a short time. This results in overcrowded ports in America and Europe, including Antwerp and Rotterdam. Sometimes boats are waiting for weeks until they are unloaded. That also means that they can return weeks later to pick up new goods.
More reasons why the supply chain has slowed down
At the beginning of last year, ships were taken out of service, resulting in a shortage of ships this year. We are still suffering from the already lifted blockade of the SUEZ canal. Ships unexpectedly take different routes and call at more ports on the way than before. Finally, there is again a lot of delay in China as a result of the Corona crisis. For example, there were recently minor outbreaks in the ports of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, which reduced loading and unloading capacity.
Stabilization remains off
At the beginning of 2021, the consensus was that the supply chain would stabilize in the second quarter of this year after Chinese New Year. Unfortunately, the situation has only worsened, it has deteriorated to such an extent that shipping companies are charging extreme prices due to scarcity. This is a huge challenge for the whole chemical industry, including AAKO. Some experts foresee that this extreme situation can last for another year (source; CNN).
Understanding and Loyalty
It reassures us that our clients understand the situation. On the other hand; our suppliers are very proactive. They too find it difficult to ship their goods, especially now that production is increasing again, and they are constantly looking for solutions. In short: collaboration is invaluable right now.
AAKO has a lot of in-house knowledge when it comes to the raw materials themselves and the purchasing and sales process. We are flexible. We know the way and every detour within the chemical sector. We have built good relationships which give confidence for the future and we like to act as trouble shooters. This is also reflected in our security stock, for which there is no commitment from our client. As a family owned business, we can take this risk and our customers are now benefiting from it.
In short: we are always looking for opportunities. We like to make the impossible possible. That also keeps our work fun, so we like to take on the challenge!