How to Negotiate Ocean Carrier Contracts

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What you put into contract negotiations dictates what you get in return. So begin by putting together a prospectus of your industry and your company and where it is moving—with input from all departments and levels of management within the extended enterprise.

Assess and understand where business is growing or slowing—where supply bases are migrating and where your key consumer markets are located. Shifting U.S. demographics and consumption, and associated transportation costs, may direct where your company is locating distribution facilities, and therefore, proximity to certain ports.

At the same time, sourcing strategies may similarly impact what ports you are bringing product into. For example, pushing manufacturing further inland in China may warrant consideration of Suez Canal routings via the U.S. East Coast versus Pacific transits to the West Coast—and carriers serving those areas.

Having a firm direction of corporate growth strategies and transportation requirements will give you a better idea of what lanes you will be looking to fill.

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