27th of April 2021
For nearly one week, the Ever Given vessel was blocking the Suez Canal and, with that, any traffic going through the passage. With this unforeseen event, pressure on global supply chains and trade is increasing.
On top of that, ocean capacity has been in high demand for several months now, mainly driven by the pandemic. With that, it is likely to remain tight in the short future, resulting in delays in global trade. Following current predictions, congestions may be reduced by the end of May or early June, with more containers being added to the Maersk fleet.
What the Twill experts are saying
Rosa Izquierdo Guillen, our Digital Sales Business Lead, talked to Jesper Frandsen, Global Commercial Implementation Manager at Twill, and Pierre-Eric Papoz, Head of Twill Scandinavia, to hear more about the impact of the Suez Canal incident on our operations. Read here what we have done so far to keep your cargo running and what we are planning going ahead:
Rosa: Jesper, can you tell us how the situation is impacting our operations?
Jesper: Yes, of course. First of all, I want to highlight that customers reach out more than usual in these situations. We have seen a significant increase in the number of phone calls, emails and chats on our portal. Customers want to have information and get to know the impact of the Suez Canal incident – specifically for their business. Also, internally we are running fast and make sure that everything goes according to plan. So, we spend a lot of time providing information to customers and coordinating internally. From a platform point of view, we needed to adapt quite quickly as well.
"We had to implement new features and tools which we didn’t have before. These tools can now help us manage situations like this better. Specifically, for trades that the Suez Canal incident has impacted, we had to implement something that helps us to manage the space we have overall on the vessels with the number of bookings we are receiving on Twill because of a possible imbalance of supply and demand. So we didn't want to over-promise on what we can deliver, meaning taking in more bookings than we can grant space for. That was something we were not concerned about before this incident."
Rosa: Thank you, Jesper. Pierre, from the customer perspective, how are we helping our customers to adapt to the new situation?
Pierre-Eric: We are trying to be available as much as possible – on the phones and, of course, via email. In Scandinavia, we got many practical questions from customers, such as “How do I know where my container is?” or “Does my business have any goods on the Ever Given?”. We tried to answer these questions because our customers were concerned about the situation and the impact on their businesses. Of course, we also helped them to find the information they were searching for on our platform.
Rosa: Thank you, Pierre. And if we would need to take a step back, what do you think we could have done better? What are first learnings?
Jesper: I think it is still a bit early to look at this retrospectively and get a full scope of learnings. But the early learnings are around the communications and the information we have provided the customers. In our industry, unfortunately, these kinds of events happen from time to time. But the way customers evaluate us as a logistics provider is based on the customer experience itself. It is all about the feeling the customer has in connection to our customer service. Here, information is critical: providing the correct information at the right time and making it relevant is what we strive for. I think, as a company, we have been successful in providing our customers with this information. For example, via our email notifications, information on the platform itself or via our website. So, customers can find the information they need. But it’s always down to an individual and their perceptions. When this situation is over, we will talk to our customers and find out what they think instead of only evaluating ourselves internally.
Rosa: I think this is a very good point. What do you think, Pierre-Eric, from a customer perspective? What can we do better?
Pierre-Eric: I fully agree with Jesper. We need to continue to communicate with our customers. We need to ensure that they understand that the situation is not over, but we are here to explain the situation and find solutions for our customers.
"We will go the extra mile for our customers and ship the most crucial cargo and containers. And with that, we will make sure our customers do not feel left alone. We want to make sure they know that we are in this together. We continue to work with our customers to ease the burden in their supply chains. We have increased communication and we try to help finding cost-efficient storage solutions in our containers. Moreover, we are working with customers on changes to their supply chain to utilize other possible options."
Rosa: Thank you very much, Jesper and Pierre-Eric, for these insights!
Stay up to date on the Suez Canal incident with Twill
Do you want to listen in on the whole conversation? Check our video talk here.
We will continue to give you tools and information to better anticipate changes in the supply chain and any windows of opportunity to act. Throughout this process, we aim to give you as much clarity and notice as possible. We regret the inconvenience this incident may cause to your business in a time where certain industries may already be stretched due to the pandemic.