Prospect Shippers Tracks Trends, Market Conditions, & Consults with Clients

As we navigate along the downslope of 2022, the good news is that global shipping costs are starting to drop. “But it will take far more than a bit lower shipping rates for normalization of the marketplace,” believes Omar Zambrano, chief operating officer of Prospect Shippers Group, who oversees operations for subsidiary Prospect Shippers. “Realistically, for the remainder of this year and into 2023, we may be looking at a different version of normal. That’s based on continuing limited shipping capacity and supply chain issues, trends in retail inventory management, and global economic fluctuations.

Of course, on the “good news” side, any drop in shipping costs is a positive development for business customers, both on the wholesale and retail sides. “Over the past two years, our business customers have been hit hard with significant price increases for everything from shipping containers to transportation of goods via air, sea, rail, and road,” Zambrano says. “Definitely, lower shipping rates for certain services are a plus. Prospect Shippers does everything possible to assist clients in getting the best rates for transporting their goods from farm or manufacturing facility to market.”

But the reality is that much has changed during the pandemic in retail industry management. Who could have predicted runaway consumer spending during the “buy-buy-buy” era of consumer lockdown? As consumers were forced to work from home and avoid public places, they tapped into government stimulus checks to buy electronics, home goods, and outdoor furniture and grills – all designed to make the home stay more comfortable. It made them feel better about themselves and the unfortunate circumstances.

Not yet Back to Normal

Not surprisingly, for the retail industry system that’s meant massive demand for consumer goods over the past two years – sending prices soaring and stressing the supply chain. It’s not yet back to normal. For example, consumption of durable goods rose some 35 percent in 2021, yet while that’s dropped in 2022, it’s still higher than in 2020. “Our frustrated clients – wholesalers and retail businesses – have dealt with everything from goods shortages given supply chain issues to panic buying on the part of consumers,” he points out.

Now, the economy is also showing signs of stress, as reflected in corporate earnings reports. Higher prices at the gas pump and grocery store, not to mention soaring apartment rental rates and home purchase prices are complicating the economic outlook. Some big-name retailers have issued reduced profit expectations. Most notably, most stores have adjusted their retail inventory management strategies to adjust to incredible changes in consumer purchasing behaviors.

“One interesting market shift reported by our clients is that more and more, their customers are cutting out discretionary purchases,” Zambrano emphasizes. Unlike early in the pandemic, consumers now are buying fewer electronics, home goods, outdoor furniture, and other discretionary items. Instead, they’ve shifted their purchasing focus to household essentials and beauty products. It seems that both men and women want to look nice under any circumstances.

It’s a New Territory

But the job of “how to manage retail inventory” is in new territory. This summer consumers are still splurging but in a different way. They’re not fixated on buying “stuff” but instead on creating “memories” or “experiences” that they feel they deserve. For example, both domestic and international travel are booming. Consumers are exercising their strong pent-up demand to reconnect with family and friends and have a great time together, after so much time spent apart. They also want to see the world now, not wait for a better time.

Proof of that is Target’s luggage sales that grew by half in the first six months of 2022, while Samsonite International, which produces the Tumi and American Tourister brands, has posted a 75 percent increase in quarterly sales from a year ago.  But what goods will consumers turn to next? What will they seek out? Right now, that’s unknown.

“As the critical holiday season, a ‘make-or-break’ period for our wholesale and retail customers approaches, it’s hard for those companies to know what type of merchandise to order,” says Zambrano. Some retail products aren’t moving off the shelves as quickly as stores would like, attributable to those changes in consumer purchasing behaviors. That’s a dilemma for any retail inventory system.

Mismatches in Supply and Demand

“In a sign of voracious retail industry management, we’re hearing from our clients that they’re marking down inventory to clear out merchandise that was popular with consumers just a year ago but not now,” he stresses, adding that “some retailers are also canceling orders already placed with manufacturers or wholesalers.” So, while retailers desperate for inventory are getting their goods more reliably than a year or so ago, mismatches in supply and demand still exist.

Yet, import levels still remain above 2019 levels. Prospect Shippers Group also knows that most of its customers are working extremely hard on the retail inventory management side to adjust to unusual shifts in 2022 market conditions. That said, “one big plus for our clients is that we do much more than simply get goods from Point A to Point B,” emphasizes Zambrano. “Increasingly, our Prospect Shippers Group team members are putting on their ‘consultant’s hats’ to help customers.”

It’s All About Relationships

Yes, logistics, shipping and handling are Prospect Shippers Group’s specialties, and its professional, experienced team members strive to assist customers with the best, most time-sensitive, efficient way to ship their goods. In addition, real-time availability can provide peace of mind. “But we’re also all about relationships,” notes Zambrano.

“So, we’ve adjusted our business model to help clients navigate 2022’s ups and downs and provide advice as they tackle new challenges in retail inventory management,” he notes. “Of course, we don’t have all the answers, but we certainly will share our thoughts and provide any marketplace insight that can help our customers.”

About Prospect Shipper Group

One of four divisions of Prospect Shippers Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prospect Shippers Group serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries.

With offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam, Prospect Shippers capitalizes on its long-time relationships with the major air carriers and ocean lines to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.

For information, call CONTACT US or visit WWW.PROSPECTSHIPPERS.COM.

Benefits of a Global Logistics Company

As people, organizations, and businesses become more and more connected, the benefits of aligning with a global logistics services company are clearer than ever. Regardless of the scale of your business, the ability to ship goods domestically and internationally – safely, swiftly, and reliably – is key to staying competitive in the ever-expanding worldwide marketplace. As a global shipping and logistics company, we hear from a wide variety of our clients why they made the switch to outsource their shipping needs.

global logistics

The Benefits of a Global Logistics Services Company

If your business is growing or you’re finding it difficult to meet everyday shipping demands, working with an established global shipping and logistics company provides multiple benefits that allow you to expand your reach while keeping costs under control. We have been able to provide the following benefits for small, mid-size, and large businesses alike.

Access a Wide Network of Resources

To become a global logistics services company, you need to establish a network of shipping resources and carriers. What this brings to your business is the ability to scale up shipping quantity and speed while cutting back costs.

Free Up Time and Funds

As a business owner, you are constantly searching for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Outsourcing logistics to a third-party provider allows logistical work to be conducted quickly and efficiently. As your business expands, so will paperwork, customs documentation, audits, and billing, which can significantly hinder further growth. Due to the scale and reach of a global logistics company with established points of contact all across the transport industry, it is often more cost-effective than hiring an in-house logistics team.

Ease of Use

We understand that while you would like to free up time for your business, you still want to be in the loop. Fortunately, with advancements in cloud computing and other technological developments, it is easy to share TRACKING INFORMATION between your global logistics services company and your business.

Outsourcing the challenges of logistics and shipping to one single global logistics company improves efficiency and cuts costs.

Expert Logistics and Shipping Services

At Prospect Shippers Fresh Handling, we offer industry-leading THIRD-PARTY LOGISTICS SERVICES, COOL CHAIN MANAGEMENT services, and OPTIMIZATION.

Our perishable shipping solutions cover a wide spectrum of industries, including FLOWERS AND PLANTS, PHARMACEUTICALS, PRODUCE AND PERISHABLES, SEAFOOD, and SPECIALTY FOODS. Our COMPETITIVE PRICING is second to none and will give your business the means to reach its full potential.

CONTACT our customer service representatives today to learn more about how Prospect Shippers Fresh Handling is the right global logistics services company for you.

Supply chain challenges continue to impact pallets — the foundation of global freight transport

The foundation of bulk global shipping is quite simple — it’s all about the pallet. This stable, flat transport structure is topped with packaged goods that are secured by shrink wrap or straps. Pallets are lifted by forklift, front loader, or crane, stacked nicely, and then loaded onto trucks, trains, cargo ships, or airplanes for their global journey to market.

In fact, nearly two billion pallets are used every year in the U.S. to efficiently transport goods. Certainly, they facilitate the ease of transport — getting goods from Point A to Point B on schedule. But they also help preserve the integrity and high quality of goods being shipped. That’s important for all goods, but most critically for pharmaceuticals, given that any missteps could jeopardize the integrity of the entire shipment.

Pallets are a booming business. EMR’s research shows that the burgeoning global pallet market was valued at $82.59 billion in 2020 and will soar to nearly $115.17 billion by 2026. The use of pallets cuts loading time, enhances safety for workers, improves transport efficiency, and protects products.

“High-quality pallets are the linchpins for safely, efficiently moving everything from pharmaceuticals to fresh produce, machinery, chemicals, construction materials, and consumer goods to market,” says Yulieth Onofre, sales manager, Prospect Shippers Group, based in Miami. “Pallets make bulk shipping easier.”

2022 Pallet Challenges

That said, significant pallet challenges emerged throughout 2020 and 2021 and have carried into 2022. Most onerous? It’s the continuing shortage of pallets, which, in turn, is driving up pallet pricing. Shortages of new pallets – mostly made of wood — are attributable to everything from business labor woes and high lumber costs, to increases in new housing construction, an increase in consumer do-it-yourself projects, forest fires that cut down on logging efforts, and renewed lumber demand from overseas markets, among several other reasons.

Sometimes, big distribution centers and major retailers also get first dibs on new pallets, which can impact supply availability for other customers. “In addition, the rate of new pallet production simply isn’t keeping up with demand, and at the same time, fewer pallet “cores” or used pallets are available for sale,” says Onofre.

But she stresses: “Despite the litany of challenges, Prospect Shippers Group remains committed to helping our clients navigate through the current minefield of pallet shortages. We know that logistics managers within our clients’ companies have enough stressors to deal with in 2022 – everything from escalating prices for materials to product scarcity, delivery delays and increased client demand.” With all that in mind, Onofre offers a few “best practices tips” as regards to the pallet world in 2022.

Best Business Practices

Tip 1: It sounds simple but it’s paramount. Logistics managers must carefully assess their pallet quantity needs and communicate about those to their pallet supplier well in advance. “Last minute” is often no longer an option as it was several years ago. Plenty of advance notice during this era means that our customers will have the best chance of receiving the number of pallets they requested.

In addition, significant advance notice can help assure the size of pallets received remains consistent. That’s important for protecting cargo from external damage. For example, if pallets are inconsistent size-wise, the entire shipment could suffer with gradual damage along the edges and corners of the stack of boxes.

“For some products, even minor damage to the overall packing material is often considered as full-fledged damage to the entire shipment, even if the material within is untouched,” Onofre explains.

Tip 2: Be aware that new technology has created some new options for pallets. While an estimated 95 percent of all pallets are wood, plastic pallets and other choices exist too. Some wooden pallets may have protruding nails that can create the potential for punctures. Clients know that some products being shipped including pharmaceuticals or chemicals have ingredients that could prove harmful if exposed to air, so consider the use of new-technology plastic pallets as a possible option, depending on your specific shipment.

Tip 3: Be loyal when it comes to your pallet supplier. Focus on fostering a long-term relationship. Remember that any supplier’s challenges are exacerbated when customers make major, last-minute changes or when a client threatens to buy from a competing supplier to save a few pennies. Those tactics often fail to achieve the desired result. Treat pallet suppliers as you’d wish to be treated. Build a superb business relationship to protect the quality of your shipping materials’ supply chain.

Navigating through 2022

Pallet makers continue to be plagued by a lack of materials such as the wood for planks or steel for nails, as well as lack of workers at times. That’s caused supply chain shortages resulting in pricing spikes of several hundred percent. Sometimes the pallets (much as with storage cargo containers over the past two years) are simply located in the wrong part of the world to satisfy customer demand.

Yet, despite rising prices for pallets, Prospect Shippers is doing everything possible to hold the line on price increases including buying in bulk from pallet manufacturers. But the reality is that costs are soaring. Unfortunately, demand is currently exceeding supply. That may continue for several years.

Still, the global pallet market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about 5.4 percent between 2022 through 2027, according to EMR research. Pricing and availability will hopefully stabilize over time. But for the near term, why not talk to Prospect Shippers about your pallet needs.

One fact is clear, she notes: “Once, pallets were simply a corporate after-thought. They were also plentiful in supply. Today, they’re sometimes in short supply yet remain a vital resource needed for supply chain integrity. Since pallets ‘rule’ the bulk shipping world, working with a logistics firm such as Prospect Shippers Group that knows how to navigate the current marketplace challenges is vital. Our goal is to get your goods into the hands of consumers in a timely manner – which we know is so important for your business.”

About Prospect Shippers Group

One of four divisions of Prospect Shippers Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prospect Shippers serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries.

With offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam, Prospect Shippers capitalizes on its long-time relationships with the major air carriers and ocean lines to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.