Global freight transport insurer, TT Club, is encouraging supply chain stakeholders to understand better the interrelationship of the various functions in the intermodal network in the US where one effect of the enlarged Panama Canal will be to increase importers’ routing options in order to supply internal markets.
Dan Negron, Senior Underwriter for TT Club outlined the future opportunities to diversify both the export and import supply chains in the US as the widening of the Panama Canal will allow larger container ships to transit from Asia to Gulf and Atlantic Coast ports.
Negron said: “Stakeholders are beginning to understand the complex relationships of functions within the intermodal system. Some have diversified to become multi-functional participants in the system.
“However, whether operators choose to act independently or to diversify in this way, all need to ensure that they engage in best practices to avoid systems failures and delays.”
Additionally Negron pointed out the need to consider potential congestion at pinch-points beyond the ports of entry as the domestic transport process to deliver goods is adapted to changes in routings to and from internal markets.
He said: “While effective communications between participants along the distribution chain seems an obvious requirement it should be emphasised.
“An understanding of the legal environment in which operational functions take place, including standard trading conditions and the contractual obligations of the various partners is also vital.”
The complexity of the supply chain may be typified by the various modal options available (road, rail and inland river/waterway in particular), each with differing logistical and contractual requirements.
TT Club believe that a thorough understanding of the multimodal facets of the evolving system is required, together with greater investment in training to raise skill levels.