Gemini Shippers Group

Gemini will speak at the FDRA’s Sourcing Intelligence Summit 2016

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FDRA’s Sourcing Summit is a one day event hosted at The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. This year we will cover social compliance trends, sourcing, and production issues around the world.

Ken O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer, Gemini Shippers Group will speak on supply chain and logistics. Today a good supply chain is designed to deal with changes in supply and demand efficiently and to respond to external disruptions seamlessly.  Picking dependable logistics partners, sharing information among your partners and having a strong forecasting and inventory management system in place are all important when developing your supply chain.

The FDRA invites everyone to join them the evening prior to the summit at Wolverine Worldwide for a rooftop reception for cocktails and networking.

Hope to see you there!

RILA and TPM Events Shape Issues Affecting the Supply Chain

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By Sara Mayes, President / CEO Gemini Shippers Group

Last week shippers and carriers came together at two of the industry’s iconic events to discuss a range of issues impacting the supply chain today.

The 16th annual Transpacific Maritime Conference was held in Long Beach. Over two and a half days, carriers and shippers discussed a range of issues affecting the Transpacific trade, supply and demand and operational issues affecting carriers and shippers alike.  Concurrently, in Dallas, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) met for their 2016 Retail Supply Chain Conference.  While each conference had its own distinct focus, a number of common themes which highlighted the risks and opportunities shippers and carriers face, were prevalent in both venues.

Demand and Growth: Expectations for trade growth in 2016 remain muted. A host of noted economists parsed the global economy along various lines, but a key theme emerged that demand in 2016 will remain   modest and in the low single digit range.  For carriers, this lack of demand likely means that the current overcapacity, and downward corollary pressure on rates, will continue. For shippers, the need to maximize sales to an increasingly nimble and fickle shopper continues unabated.

Disruption: A number of panels at TPM continued to voice concern over ongoing disruption in the liner shipping space brought on by a host of changes including; global alliances, carrier M&A, port congestion, labor disruption, chassis provisioning, SOLAS weight rules, and the upcoming opening of the enlarged locks at the Panama Canal.  The takeaway from all stakeholders was that shippers’ supply chains must remain flexible to deal with this ever changing landscape.

Omni-Channel Shoppers:  Both conferences highlighted the changes being felt in the supply chain due to the increase in E-Commerce and the effect that Omni-Channel shopping has on the supply chain.  For retailers, the added complexity of multi-channel inventory management, Buy Online – Pick Up In Store, same day delivery and the on demand economy continues to present challenges for network design and inventory management.

Technology:  Both conferences highlighted the continued need for all parties in the supply chain to adapt new technologies to improve performance.  Numerous speakers noted the transformation of a new digital supply chain network driven by analytics and visualization.  Enabled by big data technologies, interconnected networks can provide supply chain executives with real time descriptive, predictive and prescriptive insight that, once established, allows for real-time visibility, customer segmentation intelligence, and planning.

Human Capital & Technology:  With so many changes occurring in the Supply Chain today, many speakers emphasized the need for supply chain team members to embrace and become knowledgeable with the new technologies of analytics and data science.

In closing the RILA conference, former Commander of the USS Benfold and bestselling author, Mike Abrashoff, noted that a motivated and well  led team was paramount to the supply chain.  He called upon supply chain leaders to constantly lead and motivate their teams and embrace a culture of excellence. Commander Abrashoff closed with the compelling call to all supply chain leaders “If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, challenge the process.”

As each conference highlighted, today we operate in challenging times, and the successful will embrace change and technology with a motivated team of professionals able to adapt and react quickly to the challenges of a changing industry landscape.

The major take away from both conferences was the acknowledgement that we are operating in challenging times and, in order to be successful, we must embrace the change and technology with a motivated team of professionals in order to adapt and react  quickly to the challenges of a changing industry landscape.


Align your freight portfolio to meet your business requirements

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By Sara Mayes, President and CEO, Gemini Shippers Group

As the head of a shippers’ association, I often get questions from supply chain leaders on how they should allocate their freight for the upcoming 2016 contracting season.  Like years past, shippers face a multitude of questions to consider when determining carrier allocations.

Carriers and Alliances:  How do I allocate cargo among the various carriers and alliances products?

Routing Options: How should we allocate between the US East and West Coast?  For cargo destined to the US East Coast, should we focus on strings that move via the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal?  Which ports should we use as gateway ports for inland intermodal cargo?  Should we book our shipment for door delivery or arrange last mile logistics ourselves?  Which underlying class I railroad is optimal for our inland cargo?  What do I do about Chassis?

Rate Structure:  Should we lock in long term rates or focus on short term spot pricing?

Service Requirements:  How important is transit time?  How important is customer service and documentation? What other value added services do I require?

Carriers vs. NVOCC or Shippers Association:  Should we procure direct contracts with Ocean carriers, or route freight via a freight intermediary, or a shippers’ association?

Price: What is a fair and reasonable price for the service levels I require?

In a normal year, supply chain managers face an enormous task of analyzing the almost endless permutations of origins – destinations – carriers – alliances – gateways – railroads – drayage companies and price options available to them.

This year shippers have a more sizable challenge driven by the high level of uncertainty facing ocean shipping.

Product uncertainty:  Pending M&A activity and the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal will most likely lead to significant product changes for many carriers and vessel alliances in 2016.

Price Uncertainty:  Significant overcapacity, and tepid global demand have introduced an extreme amount of rate volatility into the market in 2015.  Low ocean freight rates buoyed by recent low bunker prices have driven rates to recent historical lows, putting carriers’ ability to remain profitable at risk.

With all of these factors in play, my answer to shippers on how to allocate their cargo is simple: allocate cargo like you should allocate your investment portfolio – carefully, thoughtfully, diversified, and aligned with your tolerance for risk.

Here at Gemini Shippers, we help to educate our member companies on the changing permutations of choice and help them to align their carrier selections to create a value proposition that corresponds to service level and price goals required to successfully manage their supply chain.   With our diverse carrier options and no required commitment from members, we offer tremendous flexibility.

Understanding the freight ecosystem and your company’s business requirements before you allocate cargo in 2016 is key to a successful contracting program.

To find out how Gemini can make a difference for your company, visit us at or call us at 212-947-3424.