25 January 2021
BIFA’s annual awards took place today and we are delighted to announce that Simarco received the 2020 BIFA Air Cargo Services Award.
During 2020 Simarco’s Airfreight Operations team assisted many Global companies with the movement of PPE Equipment, telecommunication equipment for families to stay in touch and lifesaving hospital equipment for the Nightingale hospitals and more.
Working with one client, in particular whose customer, a major healthcare distributor in the USA for soap dispensers, based on several thousand items per year being supplied by ocean freight. At the beginning of last year, due to the COVID outbreak the US customer requirements changed significantly.
As the pandemic took a stronger grip across the USA during the Spring and Summer, the levels of orders increased hugely.
The demand for the products has reached in excess of 350,000 pieces to date, and Simarco has shipped close to 500 tonnes of cargo.
To make it slightly more complex than usual, the UK customer's supply points are in Portugal and China. All shipments handled have been managed on a DDP basis which has meant a significant amount of liaison with overseas partners, in differing time zones, with differing regulations, requirements and needs. Our customer has tasked and trusted us to manage all these elements on their behalf to ensure that goods are ultimately able to be delivered to the places that need them most in the fight to control COVID 19 in the USA.
The outline brief from the customer was a simple one. That being, find the most reliable and safest door to door route.
Due to the Portuguese origin point our options of direct services into the US were quite limited. We decided therefore in conjunction with the client and our Portuguese partner to redesign the process.
We set up twice weekly collections which meant we could have the goods into Madrid the same night as they were collected and saved considerable time.
Our Dallas shipments are collected from Lisbon on Friday's and we have managed to consistently have them cleared and delivered to the Dallas DC by Tuesday morning local time. The consignee's main DC is in Ohio. We reviewed our options and identified that the best and quickest routing for those would be via Chicago.
Visibility and communication were key on this project such as this. We provide a daily tracking document which we highlight all key movements from the previous day so that the States have a clear picture at the start of their day, which they can pass on to their distributors and customers.
We are in constant touch with our agents in Europe, China and the USA to ensure accuracy.
In July we were advised that part of the production would be moving to China. We introduced our partner to the Chinese supplier. Our role was to replicate what we have done for Portugal, and get the goods moved as quickly and as possible to the final destination.
Our partner discovered a charter service running directly to Chicago from a smaller airport in Southern China. Due to the time difference, we are able to arrive the cargo on the same day that it departed which was a huge benefit in terms of time saving for their Ohio shipments.
We were able to add value to the customer in two other notable ways. The first was around US Customs duties. We managed to seek an exemption for their product which meant it was not subject to the additional 25 per cent tax on Chinese origin products.
The second was the system we set up to partially deliver consignments which were landed pending arrival of cargo balances. This enabled us to keep stock flowing and minimise delays for the customer.
We anticipate the demand to continue for the duration of the Pandemic and we will continue to strive for ways to improve our customer offering.
This has been one of the most challenging, interesting and rewarding projects. It has thrown up many different complexities which has stretched our collective knowledge and experiences to the full in order to manage expectations successfully and consistently.
All cargo is important, but rarely is there the opportunity to move goods of such significance to so many people. We have seen and actually felt the difference that we are making and are tremendously proud to have had the opportunity to make a small contribution to combatting the virus.