The year 2021 was undoubtedly a difficult time for companies around the world. Supply chains have been disrupted as a result of the pandemic and other unfavourable circumstances. The situation on transport market affected not only our export but also import shipments. The growing demand for complete wheels and the development of our tyre warehouse forced us to think and plan things like never before.
Logisticians from all over the world remembered that year as a record year in terms of increases in freight rates.
The increase in rates to exorbitantly high levels was not the only problem that we had to face last year. At some point, there was a shortage of empty containers, as well as available space on ships, which significantly affected transit time. The availability of drivers in Poland also had a negative impact on delivery times. At a critical moment, the picking up/ collecting containers from the Polish Baltic ports was delayed by up to 4-5 days.
Of course, diversification was a remedy for the problems encountered. We started cooperation with new forwarding companies that have extensive experience in organizing maritime and rail transport along the New Silk Road.
In addition, we ensured a safe level of inventories – we were preparing for the possibility of a tyre shortages. This tactic paid off – the already famous blockade of the Suez Canal did not affect the functioning of the Purchasing and Logistics Section so much. It is true that the goods arrived with a two-week delay, but the increased inventory levels allowed us to control the situation and meet the needs of individual departments, sections and external customers on an ongoing basis.
The increase in imports compared to the previous year was a challenge for our warehouse. Therefore, it was necessary to find additional warehouse space in early 2021. This, combined with outsourcing services and “just-in-time” deliveries, allowed the warehouse to efficiently and flexibly approach the implementation of current orders.
In order to respond to logistics needs, the Pronar Wheels warehouse is expecting modernization. In the second quarter of this year, the number of pallet places is to be increased by over 100%. We will achieve this by replacing regular racks with high storage racks and implementing modern Pronar reach trucks. In addition, the Purchasing and Logistics Section is investing in special tyre baskets in order to be able to store even more tyres on the same space.
What will this year bring us? As for the difficulties, they are even greater than those of 2021. Record-high freight prices, interrupted supply chains due to the lack of containers and an unstable situation in Eastern Europe will require making difficult decisions. The escalation of the conflict has already led to a break in the southern line of the New Silk Road crossing Ukraine. In terms of prices, the biggest threat is the oligopoly of the main shipowners who impose freight prices from a dominant position.
We are already aware that it is best to expect the unexpected (that expecting the unexpected is the safest strategy), so we are currently testing new connections based on ports in Western Europe, where rail transport is a natural extension. In addition, the Purchasing and Logistics Section of Pronar Wheels is working on improving the work of our warehouse and deliveries. The implementation of new solutions in the field of warehouse space management and alternative transport routes is just the tip of the iceberg of projects undertaken by our section.