Wrestling With a Bear: Nurturing Ocean Carrier Relationships
A cold reality about container shipping, unfortunate or not, is that BCOs who contract directly with ocean carriers need to actively manage those relationships in order to walk away with satisfactory outcomes — moving cargo with the least possible delay and disruption, at a competitive cost. Given that carriers are typically large organizations serving thousands of customers and managing their own complex transportation networks, successful outcomes from the perspective of BCOs don’t happen on their own. Navigating carrier relationships is part of the skill set of leaders within BCO organizations. It’s an essential element of getting containerized freight moved consistently over the course of the year. How does a BCO navigate fluctuations in week-to-week MQC (minimum quantity commitment) volumes, or unfulfilled annual MQCs? What relationships within carrier organizations do BCOs need to build and nurture in order to have someone to call when things go sideways? How do they maintain good working relationships despite extreme volatility in rates like we have seen since 2020? This session, featuring a panel of experienced BCOs, will discuss what it takes to manage this crucial but often underappreciated aspect of logistics operations.