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    5 questions about the strikes

    Answered by Jani Ruupunen, Head of Direct Operations West Europe & Intermodal

    Hello there Jani Ruupunen, Head of Direct Operations West Europe & Intermodal. There are currently strikes in Germany, Finland and Italy. How does this affect our freights?

    – It depends on the transportation mode, and the country. With the recent strikes the main challenges has occurred when we have loaded the cargo and it’s on it way, and strikes are announced. The main stress comes to communication between all parties - how are shipments affected, if they are affected at all. The most usual impact is in the capacity limitations and/or longer transit times than expected. This can lead to higher operational costs when alternative routings and/or operational modes are implemented. Loads usually handled with ferry and/or train are now driven all the way and therefore use more available resources than normally.

    Why are logistics affected by the strikes?

    – Transportations are true collaboration operations. There are many parties involved: truck drivers, terminal workers, port operations, ferry services, train drivers and operators, crane operators, customs officers, traffic coordinators and most importantly shippers and receivers of the load with their requirements. When one part of the complete chain is affected, this can mean delays, re-routings, capacity constraints or other negative effects for the daily operations.

    Will this affect our customers in any way?

    – Due to alternative ways of operation, there could be additional surcharges to keep operations running at certain capacity. The main effect is in transit times and in communication. It’s also client’s internal communication which is affected; are all shipments coming as planned, will this affect their operations, are safety stocks enough to cover delayed arrivals, etc. It’s very important with reliable information about delays and how long those will affect.

    I understand that it is difficult to predict the future. But can you say anything about what the coming weeks look like given the current situation?

    – No one really knows. It takes time to clear backlogs; although the strike itself is over, logistics chain and available capacities need more time to recover. The best is to prepare and plan as best we can when strikes are announced and then put effort into communication before, during and after the strike.

    How can our customers work to have as little impact on their deliveries as possible?

    – I would say the most important aspect are the safety stocks to secure operations. The current business model to make logistics process (inventories) as lean as possible is very vulnerable in case alternative routings, or ways of operation, are not possible or available. We do our best to find alternative ways to organize the capacity, or speed-up loads which are on their way. I would say that it’s very important for us to know how our clients are impacted and when, or if not at all. So, communication should be two ways.

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