News, Inside Our Company • 5 min read

How the protective fabrics supply chain is still being affected by the suez canal situation

Marcel Willems June 8, 2021

You may be wondering what has happened after the recent blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given. You might also recall that we published a blog post (Suez aftermath; the real problems are only starting now) about it back in March when the problem started.

So to keep you in the loop about the situation at hand, even though things have indeed improved after the Boskalis succeeded in freeing the Ever Given, there are still a number of problems we (and many other companies importing from Asia) are facing in terms of our product supply. And today, we’re going to give you the low-down on exactly what’s happening.

CONTINUING CONTAINER TRANSPORT CHALLENGES

The container crisis indeed persists. There is a critical shortage of containers as a result of the uneven global economic recovery that mainly leads to a shortage of containers from Asia. And as we all know by now this has also led shipping costs to skyrocket by 300% easily.

But that’s not all. We still experience the ripple effect of the Suez Canal blockage. Despite Rotterdam being the biggest port in Europe, there's still a huge backlog of ships trying to come into the harbor. This means the port is still seriously overflowing with ships, just like all the other ports in Europe. And that’s a huge problem. Ports simply do not have capacity to deal with such a backlog.

Many companies (including ourselves) try to found solutions by sometimes rerouting ships to other nearby ports in the hopes of finding a place to offload. But rerouting ships also means checking capacity at those other ports too and making sure truck capacity is also there where it is needed.

So, as you can very well imagine, the process of getting the containers to their destination (and back again!) takes even longer and there’s still absolutely no guarantee that all of them will arrive as initially planned.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

These ongoing issues have challenging repercussions for the planners in our industry (and in others too!). And our complex supply chain only further complicates the situation.

Luckily, we’re masters at juggling things around and we’re able to be as fast-moving as possible to respond to such unprecedented changes. We need to be on top of our planning — even more so than usual.

So despite the situation and the upset in our supply chain, we’ve done our planning, ordered more than we needed, and kept things running — just in case! We knew that we’d probably still be faced with delays for a bit and therefore we’re now able to run at full capacity and provide you with the protective fabrics you need. So if you have any further questions about the current situation or what it might mean for you as our customer, you’re welcome to contact our customer service department and we’ll do our very best to accommodate you and give you the latest information.

 

Picture of Marcel Willems

Marcel Willems

Vice President of Sales & Business Development | TenCate Protective Fabrics