When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I move food from one country to another. Simple, right? Most people have no idea of all the things that need to line up perfectly to accomplish this feat!
Let’s take a shipment out of the US, where Interra normally manages all the pieces. The product must be ready for shipment (with any test results complete, product to the right temperature, etc.). The warehouse must have an appointment available. The trucking company must have an available driver that day. The shipping line must have a vessel available (going to the right destination, of course) with container return dates in a window that matches up with the warehouse and trucking company’s schedules. Some truckers own their own chassis, others have to rent one – and not just any chassis, but one designated for that shipping line. When the trucker goes to pick up an empty container, the depot must have the correct size container available AND it must be in good shape. In the case of dry containers, sometimes the shipping line tells us the depot has 50 boxes, but the trucking company says none are any good. Sometimes the trucker takes the container to be loaded and the floor of the container seems to be solid but breaks when the forklift drives inside. Sometimes the container appeared to be good but the warehouse finds an issue with it and rejects it (maybe they found a pinhole in a dry container, or the reefer wasn’t holding temperature correctly, so now you’ve lost your appointment at the warehouse and your trucking slot. If you miss your loading window too, you might lose your space on the vessel and get rolled a few weeks.
If one of these things is a challenge on its own, like tight vessel space or low trucker availability, you start with that and build your logistics plan around it. When there are multiple challenges, or if one aspect is unpredictable, it starts getting complicated. Multiply that by dozens of containers per month and it starts getting interesting!
We start every day ready to deal with these challenges and plenty more. Our team thrives on the adrenaline of solving one logistical puzzle after another.
How about you? If this sounds like fun to you, and you identify with our values, let’s talk. We are always looking for new problem-solvers to join our logistics team, and experience is preferred but not required, especially if you speak Spanish. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Sheila Covington