At Twill, we understand that the most important thing for our customers is their cargo arriving safely and in a timely fashion. One container of cargo being delayed for one of our customers could mean hundreds of their customers being effected.
While almost 90% of everything we buy arrives by ship, delays are still frequent in the shipping industry.
Some things you can’t control
According to Drewry Shipping Consultants only 65% of vessels are on-time on average. This can vary from country to country and across different shipping lanes; but it does mean that a sizeable number of vessels are delayed in the industry. At Twill we’re conscious of this fact and always work towards timely delivery for our customers.
When it comes to delays, unfortunately the causes are almost always out of our control – which can be frustrating. More often than not they are due to bad weather conditions, port congestion, delays at customs and even holidays in parts of the world.
The best, first step in avoiding these delays is proactive planning that takes as many of these factors into account as possible. For example, we encourage our customers to book cargo well in advance of Lunar New Year to avoid any delays. We’ll always look to support our customers with this – especially if they are new to booking shipments.
Transparency, proactivity and honesty
However, if delays do strike, we act quickly and transparently to resolve any issues. This starts by contacting any customers effected immediately. Most importantly, we come to our customers with proposed solutions, so that they can react and adapt to any change in the delivery time.
This isn’t just the case when delays are external. We had an experience with one of our customers, who came to us with the desire to double the number of containers that they had previously booked. This was during the peak season in China and we understood that this would be a challenge, especially at this time of the year. So our customer care ninjas worked together with different teams inside Twill, along with the client, to find a solution.
We started by having an honest conversation about the challenges regarding peak season – and what the client’s actual needs would be for that period. From there, we provided realistic options that would be doable for both parties – these were accompanied by contingency plans so that the client could manage ahead in case we weren’t able to deliver their containers by their deadline.
With these plans, we began reaching out to different carriers in the region – working closely with our Local and Regional Capacity Managers; as well as our Global Customer Care team, who got in touch with our Maersk Line HQ to help.
The result of our work was a happy customer, who was able to secure space with Maersk for their increased cargo and it sailed on the planned date!
Working towards solutions
This is a good example of how sometimes, given our strong connections through Maersk and having local offices in countries around the world, we can ensure our customers are prioritised with our vendors. This comes with many perks and can often reduce the time their cargo is delayed.
While delays may be down to a specific vendor, carrier or supplier, we don’t look to place blame, as ultimately it will take everyone to get a shipment back on track. It is after a shipment has made it to our customer that we will review what caused the delay. We measure the performance of our providers and that’s how we ensure our customers get the best service – if performance from a specific party is consistently low, then we will take action and make changes.
Ultimately, with cargo traveling almost entirely by either sea or air, there are going to be issues from time to time. These environments are not always predictable. But when issues arise, the team at Twill don’t shy away – we confront the problem with our customers’ best interests at heart to ensure timely delivery and minimal disruption.