Sourcing promo products from China or overseas in 2021?
Back in February we wrote our first article about the Coronavirus impact and how it might affect orders of promotional merchandise in the coming months. And here we are, eleven months later, having to have a similar conversation.
Anyone planning to order promotional products and branded merchandise from overseas in the next 12 months should (probably) read this.
What are the main issues causing delays?
Port Congestion: Many of the ports across Australia are suffering from berthing congestion issues. Sydney has been particularly hard hit with incoming freight being diverted in some cases to Melbourne and Brisbane as a result. Aldi supermarkets released a statement earlier this month warning customers their popular festive Special Buys might not arrive in-store as planned due to the delays. The congestion, due in part to lack of workers on the ground as well as broader delays due to Covid-19, has seen the shipping community slapped with additional PSS (peak season) surcharges. Not happy Jan.
Industrial Action: Throughout the past few months, wharf workers and their trade union have been engaged in industrial action across Australian ports. Whilst the Maritime Union of Australia agreed to halt its industrial action in September, Shipping Australia has warned to expect substantial disruption to container supply chains.
Container Issues: One of the knock on effects of the recent industrial action has been a build of empty shipping containers due to ships not being able to evacuate the full complement of empty containers due to servicing delays. This has led to an acute shortage of available containers with the leasing market also at capacity. According to Nico Hecker, Hapag-Lloyd’s director of global container logistics; “We are currently seeing a ‘black swan’ event and experiencing the strongest increase in 40ft demand, following one of the strongest decreases in demand ever. Both happening within just six months.”
What does that mean for promotional merchandise coming to Australia?
Delays are likely. Things might not go according to plan.
At this stage projected delays out of China may continue until after Chinese New Year (Feb 2021).
How should businesses who have events, activations and promotional marketing planned for 2021 prepare?
Plan Ahead: With a multi-tiered supply chain, even limited delays at different stages means we are strongly advising our clients to allow for a 2-4 week contingency plan for any products they plan to order.
Think Local: If you do need merchandise fast and if the size of order, type of product and budget allows then we would suggest working with one of our 400+ local suppliers. They currently have good stock levels, with merchandise that can be branded locally and delivered in shorter time frames.
Be Careful About Sourcing Direct: Whilst it can be tempting to cut costs by sourcing direct from one of the thousands of commodity merchandise suppliers online, we would urge caution. Being reliant on one supplier and without supply-chain transparency getting a clear understanding of stock levels, availability and delivery time lines can mean your products are delayed further still.
Work with a trusted supplier: The massive disruption in global supply chains in addition to the shipping issues closer to home has highlighted how important it is to work with experienced suppliers. Seek out partnerships with companies that prioritize supply-chain strategy and who can provide you with a selection of overseas and local suppliers to best meet your needs. Ensuring your supplier works with a reputable/trusted freight forwarder will help minimise delays as their influence is key for securing vessel bookings. By using a trusted supplier you will be best positioned to not only meet customer deadlines but also control costs that could jeopardise your bottom line.
At Inck, we are in the business of making branded merchandise EASY – so feel free to get in touch so we can help you with your promotional merchandise needs into 2021 and beyond, whether it’s sourcing promo products in China or finding local suppliers.
#promotionalproducts #brandedmerchandise #coronavirus #inckmerchandise #promotionalmarketing #procurement