An integrated blend of ocean, air and inland logistics solutions helped solve a tricky supply chain exception for a shipment from Bangladesh to the US through Dubai in record time.

Global lifestyle apparel

The background

Our customer is a global lifestyle apparel company, with a portfolio of some of the world's most iconic denim brands. They design, source, manufacture and market high-quality products that look good and fit right, giving consumers around the world the freedom and confidence to express themselves. The customer leases facilities and distributes their portfolio of brands through brick-and-mortar as well as e-commerce retailers. The customer’s denim jean factories are in Bangladesh and their primary markets are in the United States. Their shipping route has typically been ocean-bound, transiting through Salalah and Dubai in the Middle East.

Fashion, apparel, and lifestyle brands

The challenge

For many fashion, apparel and lifestyle brands, delivering new products to markets across the globe is a challenging and complex process. Research shows that inadequate communication, stemming from poor collaboration and data visibility, is one of the biggest issues for companies across all industry sectors. Poor communication is often a direct cause of inconsistent planning and decision making amongst business leaders, as well as confusion over workflow and information transmission.
Our customer was facing operational issues such as documentation handovers and release of bills of lading with their existing air freight provider, which is why their initial approach to us was to specifically address their air freight woes.

Ocean was their primary mode of transportation, with Maersk Ocean (OCE) handling initial cargo shipment, and Maersk’s Supply Chain Management team as an existing partner for 3PL. However, there were also concerns about cargo arriving on time in the US, mainly due to port congestion.

The customer had also begun an upgrade to their Enterprise Resource Planning Distribution Centre system, which necessitated the shutting down of all their distribution centres for a month. They were looking to transport all their cargo into their facilities, so they could facilitate timely supplies to their customers before the planned shutdown. This urgent need was one of the primary reasons that prompted our customer to opt for air freight.

Air freight

The solution

Air freight is increasingly proving beneficial to the fashion industry worldwide. Its speed makes it the perfect option for high-end fashion houses and high-street retailers looking to stock the latest trends as fast as possible. Air freight also makes inventory management in today’s online world very effective and well-organised. Customs clearances, cargo inspections and cargo handlers are also more efficient, as most cargo clears within a matter of hours instead of days.

In our scenario, we were solving an exception management problem with our integrated solutions by leveraging multiple modes of transport to meet our customer’s urgent need.

Maersk Air and OCE teams joined hands to pull off this exceptional request. The cargo had already departed from Bangladesh when the customer reached out to us asking to prioritise 11 of the 26-container lot, with a tight 21-day deadline to hit retail stores in New York. For comparison, this journey typically takes around 39-46 days of just ocean transit. Of course, we pulled out all the stops to get it done!

Our Ocean team reworked the entire booking to pull only required containers and rebook them on the first sailing to Jebel Ali, while the rest continued their ocean journey to the US from Salalah. We also took care of several important factors, including priority discharges and bill of lading amendments before the vessel landed at Salalah. We had acquired the trans-shipment bill of entry at Jebel Ali Port ahead of time and since the containers were stacked as top stowage, they would be the first ones off the vessel in Dubai.

Meanwhile, our Maersk Air team had reserved adequate air freight capacity, pre-arranged container offloading at the docks, and facilitated smooth transitioning of the containers from discharge to handover to the waiting ground handling agents.

As soon as the cargo was cleared from the port, the containers were transported to Dubai airport via our inland transport service and airfreighted to New York and Chicago. Once on the ground in the US, we successfully completed last-mile delivery to the distribution centres well before the deadline.

Since they were already working with our teams for different legs of their logistics, the customer was very familiar with the quality of our Ocean service. So, when they approached us to solve their air freight issues, it was a golden opportunity to deepen that trust. The severe time crunch was a textbook example of exception management, but our capable teams took the challenge head-on and were able to get it
done well ahead of the deadline.

Trang Thi Hoang Ho
Customer Experience Manager, Maersk UAE Area

The result

A combination of sea-air logistics was the ideal cost and transit time-efficient solution to meet this customers’ needs during congestions, peaks, or to bring efficiency of scale to just-in-time supply chains. Our teams were able to provide greater visibility and expertly handle cargo all the way, which allowed our customer to save up to 40% on transit times when compared with regular ocean freight times and fulfil requirements even with distribution centres being shut down.

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