Causes of container shipping industry challenges as experienced by Feroniki

Although the container shipping industry is gradually coming back to normal after two years of destabilization caused by the pandemic, the freight forwarding companies are still struggling with numerous hurdles. The port congestion, the sky-high fuel prices, the lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine are just some of the factors that are still hindering normal operations. Nevertheless, on the brighter side, even though the sea freight shipping rates are still above the pre-pandemic times, there has been a substantial drop in the spot rates in 2022.

The challenges in the container shipping industry

As stated by Mrs. Rania Skouta, the operation Manager of Feroniki SA, Globalia member in Piraeus Greece, “I have to admit that in the past months we have faced many problems such as delays because of the situation in ports of Singapore, Gioia Tauro and Tekirdag where we ship cargoes frequently. Nevertheless, we have managed to overcome the crisis and continue serving our clients in the best possible way.”

Some of the ongoing problems in container shipping could result in a new supply chain crisis and rate fluctuations. For example, there is a high probability of backlogs of cargo piling up in the ports in China. In a situation like this, freight forwarders need to take extra precautions and keep all options open.

“The fall in the sea freight rates is welcome news for us. Nevertheless, there are still many challenges lying ahead of us. My teammates are working round the clock to keep tabs on the vessel’s availability and check if they meet the requirements of our clients. Additionally, we are checking the surcharges for each month and the percentages and BAF/CAF, etc, or if there is any PSS. Next, we are making sure that the vessel in question is available on the confirmed dates. Once all the work is done, we just secure the required equipment in time for the loading to meet the cut-off of the subject vessel with the confirmed rates. The rest is monitored by our team 24×7,” adds Mrs. Skouta.

Feroniki SA- independent freight forwarder
Container shipping industry challenges as explained by Feroniki SA

 

She further points out, “Although the reduction of the rates is a great benefit for the shippers, we are still having to face problems relating to port congestion and equipment availability. The war in Ukraine and the lockdowns in China are further adding to the problems. For instance, many shipping lines have suspended services to/from Greece for several reasons. Moreover, finding equipment in the Far East is becoming a tricky affair primarily because of the local lockdowns.”

The drop in sea freight shipping rates

“Right now it is a good time for the ocean freight industry as rates are slightly decreasing. This will allow us to obtain more shipments and offer very competitive rates.” The steady decrease in sea freight shipping rates that started at the beginning of 2022 is still ongoing. The prices fell further in the lean season following the Chinese New Year. In the last two years, several factors hiked up the shipping cost. These factors included container and equipment shortage, port congestion, and insufficient workforce.

The average international spot rate decreased by almost 4 % at the start of April 2022. Shipping rates on the transpacific routes went down for the fifth week in a row. Freight rates to the US declined by around 6%-8%. Additionally, since April the overall sea freight rates have decreased by a whopping 12%.

Many industry experts are wondering if the decreasing rates is because of lower demand. Some are suggesting that it could indicate the revitalizing efforts of the industry and that there could be a sharp increase in capacity from the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2023.

Reasons behind the decreasing freight rates

The China factor

The decreasing volume of shipments following the peak during the Chinese New Year could be another important reason behind the price drop. Moreover, the lockdowns in Shanghai and other manufacturing centres in China are also a contributing factor. The normal functioning of the air freight industry could be another reason behind the declining prices.

The impact of the normal functioning of the air freight industry

During the pandemic a large number of passenger planes were grounded. As a result, forwarders couldn’t use the belly hold of the passenger flights for transporting shipments. This led to further pressure on the sea freight sector. The normal functioning of the air freight sector has freed up space for the ocean freight industry.

Changes in consumer demands

The two years of the pandemic witnessed a massive increase in consumer demands and e-commerce shopping trends.  The spending pattern of the consumers has finally returned to the pre-pandemic level. The inflation and the rise in fuel prices around the world surely prompted consumers to cut down on spending. This obviously had significant consequences on space availability in the container shipping industry. More space availability definitely has helped to lower the freight rates.

“At the moment we are trying to make the best of the situation by further boosting our relationship with our partners, suppliers and customers. Years of steady cooperation is an important factor that has allowed us to continue providing our clients with dependable door-to-door transportation services. The flexibility and persistence of our team along with our longstanding connections, are some of the reasons why we are always able to support our customers with a range of solutions even in these uncertain times,” concludes Mrs. Skouta.

Globalia wishes Feroniki the very best for their upcoming projects!

 

Interview with Rania Skouta, the Operation Manager of Globalia Piraeus

“In the last few years, the global supply chain sector has been busy implementing digitized services to better serve its customers. Digitization in logistics helps to speed up the response time, manage freights bookings on spot, and make the documents accessible any time you need.”

This week we interviewed Mrs. Rania Skouta, the Operation Manager of Globalia Piraeus. In this interview, Mrs. Skouta talks about the beginnings of her company, its expansion, the industry challenges, and the road to the future.

Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?

A. I joined the freight forwarding department with specializations in operation. To begin with, I was in search of the right field for me, and in fact, I was a little apprehensive if I could fit into this sector. However, I instantly fell in love with this line of work and started to successfully execute many operational tasks in the freight forwarding sector.

Feroniki SA- independent freight forwarder
Rania Skouta from Globalia Piraeus

Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of Feroniki?

A. Our company was founded back in 1985 by Mr. Papagianopoulos. Back then, Feroniki used to operate solely as a customs broker. In 1993, Mr. Papagianopoulos decided to expand in the transportation and logistics industry. In the same year, he created the freight forwarding department under the same company. Since then, we never looked back. Over the years, we have achieved several milestones, forged strategic alliances, made significant investments, expanded our workforce, acquired important certifications, and presently we count on a network of trustworthy international logistics partners. At the moment, we are living up to our expectations by considerably expanding the scope of our business as well as our profits.

Q. What distinguishes Feroniki from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. First and foremost, it is our excellent team that distinguishes us from other forwarders in Piraeus. My teammates are experts in their fields who know exactly what it takes to keep up to the expectations of our customers. Our intimate knowledge of the sector, our connections with carriers and international agents, along with the flexibility we offer, prompt our customers to come back to us for all their logistic needs. Clients all around the world are looking for one thing- an easier solution for their transport. This is precisely what we offer.

We own three offices in the city. One office is entirely dedicated to customs clearance, one for our freight forwarding department, and last but not least our head office. Moreover, since we offer comprehensive logistic services including shipping, clearance, and transportation, there is no need for our customers to contact other agents. Lastly, we offer quality services at a very affordable rate. This is yet another factor behind our success.

Q. What are the challenges facing the freight forwarding industry at the moment? How is Feroniki dealing with the challenges?

A. The pandemic was surely the most pressing challenge this industry had to face in recent years. Moreover, the increasing competition, the challenge posed by the multinationals, and the move toward automation are also significant hurdles for independent freight forwarders. In these difficult times, we are constantly working hard to improve our services and meet the requirements of our customers. The right attitude & willingness to find the solution for the shipment are the two keys to bypassing the challenges.

Over the years we have achieved several milestones, forged strategic alliances, made significant investments, expanded our workforce, acquired important certifications, and presently we count on a network of trustworthy international logistics partners.                                                                                                                     

Q. How do you think technology is changing the freight forwarding industry?

A. In the last few years, the global supply chain sector has been busy implementing digitized services to better serve its customers. I am a big enthusiast of online freight forwarding services. It enormously simplifies the task, reduces the chances of errors, keeps the customers satisfied, and helps us save a lot of time. Additionally, digitization in logistics helps to speed up the response time, manage freight bookings on spot, and make the documents accessible any time you need. Moreover, it allows agents all over the world as well as customers to access these documents. Feroniki has acquired the top of the line digital systems and advanced technological equipment to ensure client convenience, cargo safety, and the utmost protection of the customers’ personal data.

Q. From your own experience, which are the keys to success in the freight forwarding industry?

A. The route to success is to be resilient in the face of challenges. My motto is to keep on learning and improving and to not give up under any circumstances. My message to independent freight forwarders is to be fearless, persistent, and open to new things.

Globalia members with shipments to/from Piraeus, Greece, are invited to get in touch with their professional team.

Globalia Piraeus attains a considerable increase on their profits

They have also substantially expanded their team by acquiring four new employees

Feroniki SA International Shipping Forwarding, Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has managed to keep up its targets and increase its profit margin significantly. In 2021 they accomplished an increase of 50% on their profit based on their previous year’s results. They have achieved a net profit of 144k Euros in 2021.

As stated by Mrs. Rania Skouta, the Manager of the Operation Documentation Department of Feroniki, “We have managed to augment our profits in 2021 even with a lack of personnel. This year it will only get better as we have welcomed 4 new employees who will surely add further value to our team.”

Feroniki SA- logistics company in Piraeus
Feroniki SA- logistics company in Piraeus

 

They have welcomed four new employees who have joined their company in various departments. Mrs. Rania Skouta – who has many years of experience in this sector – has joined their team as the Manager of the Operation Documentation Department. Mr. Nickolas Christofakakis has started working with Globalia Piraeus as operation leader since January 2022. Mrs. Maria Frantzeskaki has joined them in the customs clearance department under the filing role. Mrs. Skendi has become a part of their accounting department. She is in charge of payments and filing. All of them have assisted to increase the number of clients of Feroniki as well as the profit of the company.

“The new teammates have assisted to increase our number of clients. Furthermore, our new recruitment in the team is literally increasing the profit every month. I strongly believe that our expertise in combination with Feroniki’s longstanding reputation in the logistics industry will be the key to further expansion,” adds Mrs. Skouta.

Congratulations to Feroniki SA and all the best for their upcoming projects!

 

Globalia Piraeus joins forces with Globalia Larnaca/Limassol to work on a long-term shipment involving the movement of edible oil

They are using a new kind of Flexi Tank which significantly reduces the total estimated loading time

Feroniki SA International Shipping Forwarding, Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has received a profitable sales lead from Chripan Agency Ltd, Globalia Larnaca/Limassol, and they are now working on a continuous project entailing the movement of 4- 5 containers of refined soya bean oil per month.

For this job they are making use of a new kind of Flexi Tank that is faster to apply within the 20’ft containers, thus making the total estimated loading time much short. Last year, they did a similar job for Globalia member in Cairo, Dispatch Logistics, which allowed them to gain hands-on experience in the quick and safe loading of Flexi tanks.

logistics business partner

In the words of Nikos Liberopoulos, the Sales Manager of Feroniki, “The very nature of these shipments necessitates advance preparation and a sufficient stock of Flexi tanks. Our experienced team adeptly fits the tanks inside the containers and our reliable truckers and carriers always ensure that the cargo gets space on the ships in due time. I would like to say a big thanks to our Globalia partner Chripan Agency Ltd for helping us obtain this important project! We look forward to collaborating with more network members in the months to come. ”

Congratulations to Feroniki SA on garnering this long-term project!

Globalia Piraeus transports 87 containers of refined soy bean Oil from Greece to Egypt

This was a challenging project that lasted 3 months – from June to August

European Logistics Feroniki SA International Shipping Forwarding, Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has successfully handled a massive shipment consisting of refined soybean oil from Piraeus, Greece, to El Dekheila (Alexandria), Egypt. “This was a challenging shipment and there have been weeks where we worked overtime to ship up to 15 containers, which was indeed a very heavy task requiring a lot of coordination and hard work on part of our team,” says Nikos Liberopoulos, the Sales Manager of Feroniki.

Feroniki SA International Shipping Forwarding, Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has successfully handled a massive shipment consisting of refined soybean oil from Piraeus, Greece, to El Dekheila (Alexandria), Egypt. “This was a challenging shipment and there have been weeks where we worked overtime to ship up to 15 containers, which was indeed a very heavy task requiring a lot of coordination and hard work on part of our team,” says Nikos Liberopoulos, the Sales Manager of Feroniki.

Mr. Liberopoulos further adds, “Altogether we arranged 87 x 20’dv Flexitanks to transport the shipment and our partner in Cairo also carried out the distribution seamlessly. Installing the Flexitank inside the container and loading the containers at the port on time were tricky tasks that were faultlessly executed by the Feroniki team.”

Congratulations to Feroniki SA for the successful handling of this project!

 

 

 

 

GLB Piraeus joins forces with GLB Frankfurt to transport a semi-automatic flatbed die cutter

The members of the two companies perfectly coordinated with each other and moved the shipment on time despite the challenges posed by the lockdown

Feroniki SA International Shipping and Forwarding Logistics Services, Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, teamed up with Euko Logistics, Globalia member in Frankfurt, Germany, to move a shipment of a semi-automatic die cutter. The cargo was moved from Busan, South Korea, to Sofia, Bulgaria, via Thessaloniki Port with a 40 flat rack container. While Euko Logistics arranged for sea freight from Busan to Thessaloniki Port, Feroniki SA was in charge of custom procedures at the port and delivery to Sofia.

The cargo which weighed 30,000 Kg necessitated the arrangement for special trucks, road permission and escort vehicles for the road transport.

logistics business partner

“We were pressed for time while the Labour Day holiday and the COVID-19 lockdown also added to our worries. However, timely coordination on part of both the teams allowed us to hand over the shipment to the consignee right on time! We are very happy to have worked with Euko Logistics are we are looking forward to working with more Globalia partners in the near future.” says Mr. Nikos Liberopoulos, the Sales Manager of Feroniki SA.

Congratulations to Feroniki for carrying out this collaboration shipment and wishing them the very best for their future projects!

Globalia Piraeus obtains the AEOF Certification

The AEOF certification will assist in legitimate trade by reinforcing security & safety while standardizing the application of custom controls in a safe electronic environment

Feroniki SA International Shipping and Forwarding, the Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has obtained the prestigious AEOF certification. 

European Logistics

“The management and staff of Feroniki SA are proud of this new achievement. This certification implies that Feroniki SA is always in a high standard relationship with customs authorities. This relationship has been built on the principles of mutual transparency, correctness, fairness, and responsibility. ” says Mr. Nikos Liberopoulos the Sales Manager of Feroniki SA.

Globalia Piraeus already had the AEO(C) certification for customs simplification and now they have the AEO(F) certificate which comes with the combined benefits of customs simplification and security and safety certificate. Mr. Liberopolous further adds, “The AEOF status granted by one Member State is recognized by the customs authorities in all Member States. Therefore all European Exporters or Importers can rely on Feroniki SA for all their special needs with the assurance that their products will be moved and custom cleared in a safe and professional manner.”

Congratulations to Feroniki SA for obtaining this important accreditation!

Globalia Piraeus moves a colossal cargo of 243,000 Kg from Greece to Romania

The cargo which consisted of pumps and generators were moved in 11 FTL’s and 5 special trucks

Feroniki SA International Shipping and Forwarding, the Globalia member in Piraeus, Greece, has recently handled a cargo of 243,000 Kg of pumps and generators. The shipment which was moved from Athens, Greece, to Braila, Romania, was required to be moved by low bed trailers for which they had to obtain a special license due to weight limitations.

logistics companies and suppliers

Moving this enormous cargo was a rather exigent task since they had to organize 16 trucks and tilt trailers for loading the cargo on time. Moreover, each of the pump or generator needed 1.5 hours to load so the entire task had to be managed in a time efficient manner. “The difficult part was that the 16 trucks were from 5 different trucking companies and we had to pay meticulous attention to the schedule so as to avoid paying for extra hours and delays. This complicated shipment was handled with 100% success, the credit for which goes to the diligence of our entire team.” says Mr. Nikos Liberopoulos the Sales Manager of Feroniki SA.

Congratulations to Feroniki SA for handling this important shipment!