How the right air freight solution gave wings to a retail giant’s festive plans.
The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, with brands and consumers already working overtime to ensure everything falls properly into place in time for the festivities. However, persistent supply chain issues are adding an extra wrinkle to the planning, due to extremely high market demand. Integrated solutions can provide businesses with the flexibility to find alternative ways to get their goods to the shelves. When a leading US-based retailer was faced with numerous capacity issues and bottlenecks, the Maersk Vietnam team was able to provide the right solution to help them reach their target markets well in time for the holiday shopping rush.
Our customer is a global leader in the retail space, and one of the largest department store retailers in the US. While all their physical outlets are within the United States, the company has a presence in over 25 countries worldwide, through corporate offices and global distribution centres. A lot of their manufacturing is handled by over 35 factories in Vietnam, and then transported to destination markets across the USA.
Maersk’s business with the customer spans a period of over 22 years. We first began an SCM partnership with the company back in 1999, and as their worldwide network has expanded over the years, we have also been providing them with air freight transportation solutions for the past decade.
As has been the case for most businesses in the past 2 years, the pandemic created a number of issues for our customer, with capacity constraints and port congestions being immediate concerns. Long detentions at airports had also created a shortage of trucks and repeated delays, making it difficult for our customer to ship large volumes on time, to meet high consumer demand.
Long loading times and missing items also made it virtually impossible to establish a consistent export journey schedule. To top it all off, heavy storms in the Central and Northern parts of Vietnam in October significantly slowed down the entire process.
With standard air freight also presenting unstable timelines and various other challenges, the Maersk VCM team identified an air charter solution as the best way to approach the problem. A team of 27 people from across different functions worked tirelessly with our airline partners to set up a system that would help get things back on track. Our team engaged with 4 warehouses and 4 airport terminals to ensure that they could implement the solution more efficiently at a large scale.
They also tapped into Maersk’s trucking network in Vietnam to arrange for additional support on the inland leg of the journey. The service helped our team reach 35 of our customer’s factories across Vietnam, scheduling more than 600 loading trips, while ensuring every pick-up and drop was completed on time.
By the end of the process, a total of 625 House Airway Bills (HAWBs) had been generated, and this unique solution, delivered amidst intensive time and space constraints, enabled our customer to ship approximately 10 million items of clothing to the other end of the globe, well in time for the holiday shopping.
Through around-the-clock diligence and effort, our team was able to arrange for 56 charters in total – 42 of which were delivered within just 30 days. This helped the customer ship a total of 765,388 cubic cartons of goods to their retail stores across the East and West coasts of the United States. Our team also ensured that the customer had 24/7 support to help troubleshoot any potential issues that were likely to crop up.
The air charter solution ultimately helped the customer maintain an edge in the retail market for the holiday season, also contributing to increased sales revenue. And most importantly, they helped make holiday shopping a whole lot easier for thousands of customers and their families.
In a fast-paced and highly complex space, flexibility is an extremely valuable and almost essential attribute. An integrated approach to logistics can provide this flexibility. It gives businesses the ability to pivot to alternative solutions such as air freight, in the face of capacity constraints and congestion in ocean transport. This helps creates a clearer pathway in a hypercompetitive marketplace, enabling brands to maximise their commercial potential.
For more information about our air freight and air charter solutions, please get in touch with our team at APACmarketing@maersk.com.