The road ahead for Asian supply chains

The nearly 12-month trade war between the U.S. and China has caused panic to supply chains across the Asia-Pacific region – and it seems the feeling may persist for years. Many companies are beginning to restructure their supply chains away from China.

If you are sourcing from China and feeling uncertain about what the future will bring, breathe a little. There are other countries that you can turn to.

Vietnam has been a major beneficiary of the longer-term relocation out of China tendencies. Some of the most important electronics manufacturers are already shifting their production to the country.

Vietnam’s government has announced plans to aggressively pursue exporters that have relabeled Chinese exports as if they were from Vietnam in order to avoid U.S. duties.

Notable examples where there has been a shift from China to Vietnam have arisen in the lower-technology manufacturing segments, including furniture and electrical cabling, where we are already seeing companies exchanging China for Vietnam as supplier.

Vietnam’s rise in exports to the U.S. has accompanied China’s decline over the past 12 months. Chinese exports to the U.S. fell 14.5% in dollar terms in the three months to Apr. 30, or by $17 billion over the three-month period. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s climbed 34.5% (or by $3.80 billion).

If you are searching for a new place to source because you have been affected by the new tariffs, Vietnam might be the place to go.

It is not easy to shift a supply chain, considering logistics. At EP America, we have a wide network of trusted strategic partners covering all Asia – and developed relationships in Vietnam – that can help us move anything via air or ocean to the U.S.

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Cruise Ships, the most challenging logistics

The cruise ship industry is growing fast. With new amenities such as golf courts, bumper cars, exquisite and diverse food selections, pools for all ages, zip lines and robotic bartenders, last generation cruise lines now face the challenge of investing in new vessels, and renovating the current ones.

While enjoying a fancy drink and watching the ocean, most of the cruisers just don’t consider the amount of money, time, effort, and energy that goes into creating these once-in-a-lifetime experiences for each passenger.

And you? Have you ever though what is needed to send these floating cities to open seas?

Before heading out of a port for a 7-day cruise, the typical cruise ship needs to be stocked like a small city, filled with fuel, and equipped with the right certificates of compliance for multiple destinations. Let’s learn a little bit more about it:


Flawless compliance

It can be especially tricky for cruise lines, which usually dock at multiple destinations within a very short period. Missing compliance certificates can result in huge delays in every stop.

Working with a reliable, global logistics partner, cruise lines can effectively cross these compliance-related tasks off their to-do lists, trusting they’re being handled in a responsible and timely manner.

All the goods loaded in cruise liners need their individual customs documents. The customs procedures differ from country to country, no matter if they are in the same continent. Each product that crosses borders is charged with value-added taxes (VAT) and other duties, depending on its type and the usage in the cruise.


Supplying Her

Besides compliance, cruise ship logistics involves stocking nearly every corner of an enormous vessel. The restocking process must be organized in the most seamless way. Every inbound and outbound shipment has to be coordinated with several different suppliers. For an outsider or a beginner, turnaround day may seem impossible. However, with carefully planned logistics, everything is possible – and smooth and flawless, too.


Ship spares

Another important group of her needs is comprised by ship spares.

This category includes any product that is needed either in the engine room or on deck. The listing can contain both consumable and non-consumable items. The spare parts logistics require a highly responsive supply chain management, as these goods significance is quite critical. In the case of the cruise sector, short lead time is very difficult to be achieved, as the company’s fleet is operated worldwide, and ships are a moving target.

Lead time is the most important factor for supplying a cruise. As “lead time”, we can define the number of days, months, years between the place of the order and the loading of the products. The lead time depends on two factors: The first is the availability of the product in the producer, manufacturer, suppliers or vendors, and the second, the logistics flow.

Our time critical cargo division is highly proficient delivering these shipments, making sure that whatever the case, they arrive on time. Our 24/7 emergency desks can coordinate your logistics immediately even on holidays with our diverse time critical solutions such as Air Charters, On-Board Couriers, Ground Expedited, Next Flight Out, Next Day flights and more.

At EP America, we have the experience of taking ship spares to dry docks and ports all over the globe. Time critical cargo is our expertise, and our specialists will never tell you it’s not possible.

When everyone tells you it can’t be done, we find a way to get your ship spares and provisions to deck on time!


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Do I need cargo insurance for my shipment?

Cargo insurance is a type of insurance that covers/compensates a buyer or seller of goods against cargo damage or loss of cargo.


Insurance is an intangible benefit that can protect you from situations where your cargo is lost or damaged.


Whether your shipment is

  • Local
  • National
  • International


You can have your cargo insured to eliminate risk.


Any shipment has the risk of theft, damage, or abandoning. In all these situations, you want to be covered.


In the USA, cargo theft has a high concentration in six states, and certain cities and truck’s stops. Thefts are more frequent on weekends and spike during holidays. Internationally, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa are three of the worst countries for cargo theft, according to Freightwatch.


How does cargo damage occur?

In every cargo shipment, a CARRIER is contracted to carry the goods from point A to point B by rail, road, sea, inland waterway or a combination of these modes.

If you consider the movement of cargo by road, air or ocean, several forces are acting on the shipment during transport caused by the movement of the truck, vessel or airplane.

It can also be caused by incorrect packing by the shipper, misguidance by suppliers, among other factors.

At EP America we can help you with insurance for your next Air, Ocean and/or Ground shipment. Remember that anything can happen when the cargo is in transit.

5 tips to reduce freight forwarding expenses

When working with your forwarder, price is always important to you. Especially if your business has regular international shipments.
But just because everyone is used to the standard freight shipping ways and expenses, it doesn’t mean that is the only way. Luckily for you, there are many ways to reduce freight forwarding expenses:

1) Compare all modes of transportation
The first way to reduce freight forwarding expenses is to evaluate and reconsider your mode of transportation. Most noteworthy, sea freight transportation is usually a less expensive option than air freight, especially for international shipping.
On the other hand, the best way to ship freight locally may be by rail or road. Hence, choose your mode of transportation according to the products you are shipping and their travel distance. Ask our team, which is the best way to make your shipments.
Consider alternate ways of shipping or even a hybrid of multiple modes, if necessary. Get your shipping quote in less than 30 minutes.

2) Ship during off-peak periods
Keep in mind that shipping a day later or earlier can make a difference and reduce freight forwarding expenses.
For example, Friday is typically an off-peak day for shipping road freight. This is because most customers are trying to get their products delivered by Thursday, so it can be on shelves Friday and ready for sale during the weekend.
Interestingly, Mondays can also be slow days, resulting in carriers looking for road freight. Certainly, this could be a great option but it depends on the type of cargo, for example, canned goods have more flexibility than fresh goods.
Shipping on off-peak days could be an ideal option for the shippers of non-consumer type products.

3) Become a regular and enjoy the benefits
Take your time to build a relation with your executive, understanding your needs will make sure you receive the best options and rates. Once your carrier can make sure that they have and will continue to have a steady business with you, they are more likely to offer better conditions.
A good relationship and communication with your shipping company can improve the efficiency of your operations and reduce freight forwarding expenses.

4) Ship more products, less often
If you can manage to do so, try shipping more goods less often. Because it is less expensive to ship ten pallets at once than to send two pallets every two days. Retailers tend to ship smaller cargoes more often, which only increases their costs. Obviously, some goods need to be shipped more often, but if that is not your case, try this method to reduce shipping freight expenses.

5) Be aware of additional charges
Maybe you did not know, but carriers often perform other services than just delivering. They may have to load or unload the cargo, wrap some pallets, or make additional stops.
Ask your executive about the charges that apply to your shipments.