3 ways to approach cross-border shipping challenges

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The global nature of supply chain management today has brought forth endless logistical challenges. Differing policies, systems, and contexts make it difficult to maintain best practices. Given that trading relationships are evolving every day, service providers need to anticipate the common obstacles faced in cross-border shipping.

Common cross-border shipping challenges

Trade activity and relationships largely depend on the global economy. Manpower, capacity, and costs rise and fall in tandem with economic slowdowns and expansions. Amidst these volatile trends, each country responds according to the needs they have – whether it is increasing tariffs or introducing new regulations

1. Rising tariffs

Tariffs are a common political tactic to negotiate on import or export prices that will benefit the country. If countries cannot agree, a trade war could start. Besides making certain shipments more expensive, the amount of processing required to keep up with shifting tariff rates slows down cross-border freight movements. Overall supply chain efficiencies would be compromised.

2. Customs compliance

Customs compliances are in place to ensure that cross-border imports are safe. Every country has unique concerns, and what can or cannot be shipped looks different everywhere. Not adhering to these would cause freights to be stuck at borders for inspections with additional paperwork, causing delays and limiting shipping resources. 

Countries have their own regulations on the quality of products that can be imported. If products do not comply with any nation’s regulatory process, respective freights would not be able to enter the country.

3. Logistics

In order to keep your customers based overseas satisfied, delivering products in a timely manner while maintaining their quality through their journeys is key. It can be difficult to track orders due to multiple carrier handoffs. Coordinating a complex component of the delivery process like shipping and logistics can be difficult if you have a small team already taking on multiple job roles. Keeping customers informed of potential delays can also pose a challenge.

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Addressing these issues

The amount of paperwork, coordination, and cost required to avoid or handle these issues places a lot of pressure on corporations. However, there are several infrastructures, services, and strategies that can mitigate these logistics challenges faced during cross-border supply chain management. 

1. Transport management system (TMS)

Shipping operations can be streamlined on a central supply chain management system that integrates all logistical processes on a single platform. Plans such as freight routes, inventory levels, and agreed-upon negotiated tariffs can be easily tracked and accounted for, safeguarding cross-border shipment plans against changes. Potential risks identified would optimise the overall supply chain, improving quality and accuracy in cross-border shipment. Data accumulated on the platform can be used to review performance and progress, providing timely insights on areas of improvement and future projections. 

2. Near-sourcing

By placing operations close to where products will be sold, it becomes easier to overcome challenges faced when outsourcing overseas. With lesser stops to make, near-sourcing shortens cross-border supply chains and expedites the overall process. Companies have more control and autonomy, making trade activity and shipment movements more stable and predictable.

Moreover, by partnering with DHL Express, you will have access to DHL’s Global Trade Services (GTS), a suite of free tools that will help you calculate duties and landed costs, determine the classification and other common tasks encountered in international shipping. Also we have incorporated a Landed Cost Estimator, allowing you to understand the true costs of your product and competitively price your products. This helps you stay ahead and effectively manage the effects of rising tariffs. 

3. Third-party logistics (3PL)

With the help of experienced third-party logistics, many aspects of the supply chain management can be greatly improved – no border issues, better shipment tracking, optimised costs, among many other benefits. On top of making cross-border freight movements more accurate and efficient, third-party logistics can function as a singular point of contact for advice and expertise. Tools and infrastructures available to automate processes can help businesses accomplish more in distribution, warehousing, and fulfilment services as well. 

At DHL Express Singapore, we wish to journey with you as you take global strides to realise your business’s vision. DHL Express has effectively handled customs clearance over the years through thorough, credible clearance practices. We have done this by nurturing positive relationships with governing bodies and training a team of international specialists to ensure custom processes are cleared efficiently. 

Besides our reliable logistical solutions, leverage our global delivery network spanning more than 220 countries. If you wish to know how to better navigate the import and export landscape, our South Asia Hub in Singapore offers a 24/7 facility. Our 24/7 in-house customs brokers and local customer service representatives are here to help you through every step of the way.