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  • Gokhan Aktas

Delivering tin cans from Turkey to the world!

Exactly two years ago, I wrote an article here about the pandemic. It had just started a few months before that and everything was brand new to us. I am a firm believer in distribution of all kinds of risks and my article was also about how geography includes risks such as shipping. Our location gave us a lot of advantages in helping our clients but that didn’t mean that we didn’t experience the turbulent times in shipping. Now two years later, I want to share what I have observed and what we have done so far.

Containers on a boat at the port.

As a packaging company, we manufacture tins both for essential and not so essential items. So the initial reaction was a bit mixed. Some of our clients, especially the ones in the hospitality industry, really slowed down. Some other clients were asking us to continue production as they didn’t want any more disruptions in their already chaotic supply chain. We did the best we could and production kept going albeit at a slower pace. Everything seemed to be working fine.

Towards the end of summer in 2020, things took a sharp turn. Demand started to come right back. I don’t think anyone was ready for it as the same supply issues could be seen everywhere. We found ourselves trying to find raw material, get containers, create extra capacity and deliver tins to our clients. It was a nice change of pace but we also felt a lot of pressure as our clients were counting on us.

We did what we could internally for raw material and capacity however we had no control over delivery and shipping. Just contacting our forwarders for a container and waiting for it wasn’t enough. Lack of containers and trucks, congested ports and full vessels were really making things difficult.

The first thing we did was to plan for delays in shipping and try to ship our deliveries earlier than planned. This meant an increase in capacity and better planning but it gave us a great amount of leeway in case there were delays. Combined with that, we also made our bookings earlier than usual. This gave our shipping agents more time to work on our shipments and it worked in our favor.

Forwarder taking container reservations.

Secondly, we did a geographical analysis of our shipments. Being in Turkey gives us a lot of flexibility when it comes to modes of transportation such as trucks, trains, containers, and even vans. We have come up with the best way of shipping our tins for each region and we even combined different options. Best might mean different things to different people but at the time our priority was to be on time with the lowest possible increase in cost. So for the most part, we were not only able to find space for our tins but most were on time or had very little delays.

Moving forward, we still do the same things. The shipping situation hasn’t improved yet. I know it will get better but I just don’t know when anymore. The world is struggling to find a balance. For now, we work on whatever we are being thrown at and try to find a way to overcome it.

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