With today’s comprehensive supply chain patterns, transportation of cargo isn’t limited to its journey to or from the port but requires reliable solutions to move it further inland, closer to customers’ production facilities, warehouses, distribution centres or shops. But industry dynamics and development of new solutions are putting pressure on further integration of port and inland operations, which are increasingly resulting in congestion and potential frustration for customers and end consumers.

There are, however, ways to alleviate these challenges, but they require a comprehensive, fluid and flexible inland haulage network, together with smart planning and shipment release systems.

“Our vision is to become the global integrator of container logistics. We want to provide end-to-end solutions our customers can trust, and I believe that our comprehensive UK & Ireland inland network offers a much-needed fluid door-to-door solution, beyond the port, that simplifies customers’ complex supply chain”, says Brian Godsafe, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at Maersk.

Recent congestion in Britain’s key ports has led to forced vessel diversions, creating further challenges for cargo flows, where inland haulage is traditionally organised around main ports in the south. Subsequent landside congestion was commented by industry media and experts, who pointed out the shortage of drivers, adding to the challenges experienced by British importers.

Despite these industry challenges, Maersk – a market leader in transport and logistics solutions in the UK – has been able to deliver 89% reliability for inland haulage and therefore to a considerable extent minimise the impact of these disruptions on customers and their supply chains. Apart from the flexible network, which can accommodate unexpected changes at short notice, high reliability is also the result of careful planning and some basic tips given to customers, as explained by Rose Coulson, Customer Service Director at Maersk UK & Ireland.

“Normally, more than 70% of the haulage we do takes place in the morning, so wherever possible, we would advise customers to consider afternoon loadings and therefore avoid rush hours. To facilitate this, we have ensured that our booking day lasts longer since we have more capacity to offer to customers. In addition, they can continuously check haulage availability, which is updated in the system at least once a day.”

Maersk’s inland network consists of 23 depots and 12 reefer facilities. The company has 700 contracted rail slots per day and 140 contract trucks in operation, in addition to nationwide spot truck network. Average reliability on all rail routes offered by Maersk is 98%, with depots covered by multiple trains departing and arriving up to six days per week.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/Maersk_UK_Inland.

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