Ports are the main hubs of the physical network of maritime transportation and play the important role of offering flexible, fast, safe and effective services to international commerce. Competition with other ports in the region makes it so that logistics strategies are always improving in order to stay on top and are able to offer customers the very best service. Maritime transportation is influenced by notable operational hotspots like ports and zones of logistic activity. The purpose of this partnership is not to operate isolated from each other, but to connect with flexibility and facilitate speedy operations and achieve efficiency in the movement of cargo, which is the main factor being considered in their logistics operation.
The logistics chain doesn’t really begin at the ports, but instead at the place where raw materials are produced and from there, they are distributed to many countries all over the world where they are consumed at their final destination.
The influx of logistic function in ports when it comes to competition with the external commerce of a country is extremely high. That is why ports have to be involved in activities of production, distribution, and transportation instead of separating these pieces of the pie and slowing down the functions of the machine as a whole. Finding this balance is possible by offering a wide array of services with the purpose of increasing capture and customer loyalty by putting first what really matters, the cargo.
Areas of Logistic Activity
These areas are specialized in the storage and distribution of merchandise and where an added value is offered to the operation. They are known for being specially designed for logistics operations and for the concentration and processes of second and third line logistics at the ports, in order to augment the development of processes between clients and lastly, within the logistic operation as a whole. In order for a successful optimization to take place, the ports must comply with certain functions of development and promotion like training of personnel, offering of services, outreach with local logistics communities and support to end users.
Every port which has at its disposal an area of logistics activity, has a major advantage against those that do not, because it gives them the possibility to attract a large influx of cargo coming from customers that know they have the solutions to any problem that may arise during transit, and the possibility to create lasting relationships with a port that generates the avenues to create a positive alliance between customers and companies in a fluid, active and energetic operations.
These are the products, raw materials and finished goods that are manipulated, stored and distributed through the means of transportation available within the port or any part of the supply chain.
This refers to loads that could be solid, liquid or in gas form that are massively transported in a uniform manner without the use of packaging and that are manipulated in large quantities and by units. These loads are handled by using special equipment like forklifts, mechanical buckets and even complex pipe rigs for liquids and gases.
This is the merchandise that is stored in large containers and that can be manipulated mechanically with just a few moves since everything is all in one place.
Cargo agents and products
These are companies that produce or distribute products to customers within the same country or to other countries around the world. Businesses working with these types of agents use ports as hops of transference and movement of their supply chain within their internal logistics.
These are companies that manage the movement of cargo from its origin all the way to importers. Inside this group of companies that operate in unison for the transportation of products, we can find the port that in charge of the infrastructure and the administrative and operative area of the business like ship owners, port authority agents, loaders, transportation operators, suppliers, port operators and many more. Generally, this would be anyone involved in the effort that it takes to move cargo from the moment that is dispatched all the way until it is delivered, and the coordination that it takes to bring to life this process of movement.
This position is known by different names like customs broker, customs commissionaire or even customs intermediary. The functions of a customs agent are to oversee the process through customs of imported and exported merchandise; to manage permits that allow access to certain products like health and quality control amongst others; to be present in physical inspections that customs may deem necessary and to make sure that everything is up to date when it comes to taxes, shipping costs and other possible fees that importers and exporters must present to customs.
This entity is a coordinator of the services present by its client and focuses in assisting the ship on any needs it may have while in the port. They are in charge of crew and cargo while they are there and must always be present to take care of any situation that may arise during this stage.
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* Featured Image courtesy of Jay Galvin at Flickr.com