Shippers and carriers begin constructive dialogue to overcome logistics challenges due to the pandemic

Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

BRUSSELS, Belgium— Shippers and carriers have initiated constructive dialogue to overcome the global logistics challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on.

Last December, broad representation of members from the European Shippers Council (ECS) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) and the Secretariat of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) met to discuss the current supply chain disruptions as well as decarbonization and digitalization.

That was the first of a planned series of meetings between shippers and carriers, in a joint effort to find solutions through dialogue and improve mutual understanding of the challenges each party faces.

Over the last 18 months supply chain issues have caused serious problems for logistics providers, coinciding with the COVID 19 Pandemic. The causes are multiple and complex: swings in supply and demand, disrupted consumption patterns, alternative product sourcing, local lockdowns, congested infrastructure, and labor shortages.
Service reliability, business models and just in time supply chains have been tested to the limit. The ESC-ECSA-WSC initiative is aiming at a better cooperation between supply chain partners and a healthier functioning of supply chains.

They agreed that cooperation on improving communication between supply chain parties, and achieving better supply chain visibility and forecasting in the short to long term will be taken forward for further consideration.

“Carriers depend on shippers for their business and shippers depend on carriers to get their products to market. Only by working together and trying to identify what actions could potentially work to everyone’s’ benefit can we overcome current challenges and build stronger long-term foundations for the future,” John Butler, CEO and President of WSC explained.

Denis Choumert, Vice-President of ESC agreed: “That is why ESC, WSC and ECSA members are keen to continue this dialogue so that carriers and shippers can talk with and not about one other and thereby build more robust supply chains for serving customers. We want to improve the mutual understanding of the difficulties being faced by each party and make progress through partnership not conflict.”

Luisa Puccio, Director Shipping & Trade Policy for ECSA also acknowledged the importance of the dialogue: “We strongly believe that dialogue can promote a better shared understanding of the operational challenges between carriers and shippers and that we all need to do this together. ECSA stands ready to lend its support.”