The world is fast-changing and keeping up with the pace is part of the game. Over the past few years, a series of unexpected events have not only completely changed the way we go about our daily lives but also the way we function on the job. With Covid-19 having severely impacted the status quo of business operations, the impact is seen across organizations in the relocation industry too. Despite the challenges thrown our way, E-Movers, a top relocation company in the UAE, has taken the situation in its stride and has devised new work plans and strategies to sail through turbulent times. In this piece, I articulate how E-Movers has navigated through the prevailing crisis in the shipping industry and are fully latched on to plans to offer the best logistic service to their customers.
Unraveling the ruckus in the relocation industry caused by the creaking containerized shipping segment in the age of globalization, countries are interconnected and interdependent on one another for resources and talent pooling. Pre-covid times when professionals migrated from one country to another, there existed a huge demand for solo containers to the extent of 90 percent, whereas the demand drastically shifted towards consolidated containers over the recent few years (fluctuating between 60- 90 percent) based on the country. Ever since nations grappled with the first wave of the pandemic, the international shipping industry landed into troubled waters, and this phenomenon is showing no signs of slowing down. Factors such as shortage of loads, month-long delays, and relentless surge in freight charges continue to plague the logistical industry.
The shortage of loads and crunch of escalating prices for containers erected barricades to the smooth movement of cargo. As users are forced to consolidate loads on a shared basis in a single 40 ft high cube container, this has led to a loss of time and unavoidable delays. Due to the enormous charges for docking goods at the port, customers resort to stockpiling in storage facilities for an indefinite period with no assurance of the timeline they are set to follow (due to load dependency). This commotion of humongous containers anchored in storage units has led users to fret over mounting storage costs, releasing a pipeline of complaints about movers to address.
Even though ocean carriers and freight forwarders report enough ships and containers to handle elevated demand, the problem is that much capacity is idled or circulating more slowly due to shared container loads. A sudden rise in demand for shipping containers post lockdown along with lower container turnover has resulted in skyrocketing prices and clogging of containers with goods. Due to uncontrollable factors, thousands of containers are stuck in the wrong place and are adding to relocation costs.
What’s going on in the international shipping industry is unprecedented. Moving companies experienced a difficult phase time keeping up with processing all the cargo requests over elongated periods. Now that containers are distributed between 4-5 relocating families, service touchpoints have shot up implying additional invoicing, sending of payment links, sales efforts, billing of storage capacities, and overall customer relationship management. Keeping up with the pace of additional work to accommodate parallel requests and synchronizing load distribution have emerged as new challenges.
Stung by a worldwide shipping container chaos
Throwing light on the ground realities, E-Movers CEO—Siddhi Joshi explains, ‘A ripple effect of disruption has been going on in the containerized segment. Before Covid-19, organizations would offer full container allowance for relocating their employees overseas. This fostered quicker and hassle-free shipping of their household belongings. End users across the globe shifted their stuff in single-owned containers across oceans, even though containers sailed at only half the capacity. However, the post-pandemic era saw organizations reinforcing controls on cost. As a result, this led to curtailing of container allowances to only the top cadre of migrating professionals or provision of limited allowances to end-users to bring in their cargo on apportioned basis.’
Further exacerbating the crisis in the supply chain are fluctuating freight rates where spot container rates rise three to five times, and then in an instant, containers get sold out. Due to this, relocation companies desperately wait for weeks on end and pay premium prices to ultimately book them. The spot rate for a 40-foot container to Europe escalated to 6-fold and those to US skyrocketed almost 4- fold last year, including surcharges and premiums, which is quite exorbitant. As moving companies rely on carriers to haul everything from electronics to household goods, strategic plans are to be put in place to accommodate elevated costs along stretched periods of cash flows.
E-Movers geared up to handle the turbulence and sail through with flying colours
Despite all that is swirling round the industry, Mrs. Siddhi Joshi affirms, ‘A company never to be complacent, E-Movers has been receptive to change since its inception in 2003. Overcoming challenges, embracing innovations, and staying on top of trends in the market has always been our forte. Despite the influx of requests for shared containers, the team at E-Movers was geared up to handle an avalanche of service processing points. Apart from training the existing staff, we hired new recruits to balance and smoothen out workloads. Ongoing rigorous training schedules brushed up employees’ competencies to manage customer expectations, tackle complaints and solve bottlenecks in the most efficient manner. Even while working at a frenzied pace during incredibly difficult times, we optimized operations in digital realms and trained our staff to expedite customer service management. From delivering superior packaging materials to end-users through our E-shop to simultaneously processing several customer requests online, we worked through all possibilities to raise the bar of our service.
‘Ms. Siddhi goes further and ascertains, ” As everything in the movers industry is ‘On The Move,’ E-Movers is constantly learning, growing and upgrading its staff with industry-specific skills. Our responses are immediate and in sync with the customer’s needs every time. We are transparent in communicating to customers when clarifying time estimates and delays to manage their expectations and reduce frustrations. As a team, we visualize challenges as opportunities to help us push boundaries and grow in all directions. Even the pandemic couldn’t deter our enthusiasm, and we were quick to implement backup plans for transporting goods in a much more orderly manner amidst the uproar in the market.”
The road ahead is unknown, but E-Movers is prepared to face the storm!
We never know how ocean shipping rates will fluctuate through the year 2022. A dearth of options combined with crazy demands will make matters worse. While global cargo carriers continue to skim profits, moving companies and their customers will end up paying exorbitant money for relocations. Even though maritime analysts predict that the freight rates will stabilize and the supply chain crisis will eventually ease, we look for more evidence to validate the fluidity of container movement.
“No matter the turmoil, E-Movers is geared up to take any challenge head on and devise workable strategies to recover from setbacks. We never know when the next big crisis can hit the industry”, she says. “All that we assure you is that as a team we’re fully prepared to absorb shock waves and emerge triumphantly leveraging our experience and technological know-how over the years. It’s our service values such as integrity, transparency and consistency that bring long-earned trust back to customers’ relationships even when situations go haywire.” she affirms.
Above the Author:
Siddhi Joshi, CEO.
Siddhi Joshi is Serving E-Movers UAE’s largest Relocation Company – as only female CEO in industry.
- Entrepreneur for Homework Cleaning Services
- Winner of 2022 Women Entrepreneur “The Logistician” from Entrepreneur & Mastercard
- A result-oriented groundbreaker with over 22 years experience in driving revenue and managing client expectations.
- Proven track record of 66% turnover increase in 5 years.
- In each of her roles, have demonstrated a persistent streak when it comes to chasing new business or closing complex transactions.
- At E-Movers, managing multi-nationality team members of 500++ with a diversity of talent management, have established a leadership position in a mature industry for our company.
- As CEO, super enthusiastic to lead a team of motivated and experienced professionals to greater heights.
- As Entrepreneur at Homework Cleaning Services enjoying the journey with proficiency in creating businesses and managing operations, finances and staff. Powerful communicator who leverages team members’ talents to achieve organizational goals.