Copenhagen-based freight forwarder Damco has seen continuous improvement in its multimodal offerings in 2012, with Serge Tripet, the company’s global head of sea-air product, saying every month has been better than the last.
This activity seems to be fueled by a few key lanes, with Damco seeing a bit of depressed activity on more traditional routes.
“2012 has been a good year for Damco in regards to multimodal,” he said of sea-air shipments. “I foresee the trend to continue in 2013.”
The largest activity comes on lanes from Asia to South America. On emerging and continually growing routes, like the Asia-Brazil lane, Damco uses its hub in Los Angeles, trucks the goods to Miami, and then flies the freight to Latin America.
Other than these hot spots in South America, though, Tripet said sea-air and other multimodal combinations have been on the decline. When shipping goods from Europe to Asia, he said, available air freight capacity and weak export demand out of Europe means that a multimodal offering makes no sense. He also said this is true, typically, of shipments from Asia to North America.
“The available hubs for a multimodal product into North America are not too attractive currently,” he said. “We, however, do see an increase in multimodal movements from Asia to North America’s East Coast due to the possible port strikes.”
Shippers, he said, ask Damco for multimodal services to save on storage and inventory costs, and direct transport costs. Tripet also advises customers to go with these solutions to combat any price erosion in the market.
“Shippers who understand the real value of the product, taking into consideration all the related costs … continued using multimodal even with the low air freight rates out of Asia,” Tripet said. - Jon Ross