- Shippers are increasingly using expedited shipping lanes to mitigate supply chain disruptions at ports, several executives confirmed in emails with Supply Chain Dive.
- Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement the ocean carrier is trying to meet "a trend to faster services." Craig Grossgart, a senior vice president at SEKO Logistics, said these types of services are "way over subscribed" as more customers request them.
- Sovos Brands CFO Chris Hall recently touted the strategy to investors. "We have and will continue to pay for accelerated lanes," Hall said during the company's Q4 earnings call.
The move toward accelerated services is, in part, a result of congestion at U.S. ports, according to Ali Ashraf, director of ocean product at C.H. Robinson.
"Congestion at U.S. ports is not slowing down, in fact, U.S. ports are experiencing higher congestion than ports around the globe," said Ashraf, adding shippers want reliability and stability during times of disruptions at the ports.
Ashraf also cited a January customer research study from C.H. Robinson, which found 52% of shippers surveyed leveraged new modes, ports or trade lanes during the pandemic.
Several expedited services already exist in the market, such as Matson's China-Long Beach Express, CMA CGM's Eagle Express X, ZIM Ecommerce Express and ZIM Ecommerce Baltimore Express. Grossgart also said he knows of "two other carriers that are trying to launch expedited services."
Both Zim and Matson did not respond to Supply Chain Dive's inquiry on expedited services. Hapag-Lloyd, however, confirmed its newly implemented China Germany Express Service was created to meet high demand for speed.
Grossgart said expedited shipping lanes give companies an edge because they can bring product to market that much faster. He recalls offering a faster shipping lane to a customer nine months ago, and the shipper noted the service "grew his business 40% and took a lot of market share because he had inventory and his competitors did not."
Food company Sovos Brands is one of the many shippers which has turned to this type of service. In the earnings call, Hall explained the company is using faster shipping lanes given the volatility in the market, global tensions and the high growth in product demand.
"We'll lean in," Hall said, noting the company used the tactic throughout much of Q3 and some of Q4 2021 "to ensure that product supply."