Flint Group, a prominent supplier of inks and coatings, has issued a statement regarding the significant disruptions affecting global shipping routes, particularly through the Middle East. The disturbances, which began in late October due to hostile actions against ships heading to the Suez Canal by Houthi forces, have led to a considerable rethink in navigation strategies. Many carriers are now opting to detour via the Cape of Good Hope, a choice that extends travel times by approximately two to three weeks and increases the likelihood of encountering severe weather.
Doug Aldred, Flint Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, remarked on the situation, noting, “Like many companies worldwide, the recent events in the Red Sea have adversely affected our supply chain, extending delivery times and escalating costs.” The shift away from the Red Sea-Suez Canal route to circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope is expected to lengthen delivery schedules significantly, affecting not just the affected routes but also other critical shipping lanes due to the ripple effects on container and vessel availability.
The company has acknowledged the growing concern over the scarcity of containers and the surge in costs for sea freight containers. With several carriers implementing surcharges to offset the additional expenses incurred by rerouting, Flint Group is closely monitoring these cost increases and considering the necessity of introducing freight surcharges accordingly.
Arno de Groot, Vice President of Procurement at Flint Group, detailed further complications, including the increased need for ‘feeder trans-shipments’ to manage the decrease in direct port calls. This involves transferring containers at smaller ports to larger hubs, a process that can add up to an additional four weeks to delivery times. The unpredictable scheduling of vessels may also cause congestion at ports globally.
Flint Group’s procurement and customer service teams are actively working to alleviate the strain on supply chains, employing strategies such as monitoring incoming materials, adjusting stock levels, and exploring alternative transportation methods to expedite deliveries. “Our foremost concern is to ensure our customers’ operations remain unaffected. We are committed to keeping our customers informed and are making every effort to minimize disruptions,” stated Aldred.
Customers are advised to anticipate extended lead times and plan their inventory accordingly. Flint Group’s sales and service teams are on hand to provide assistance and support during these challenging times, ensuring customers can maintain their operations without interruption.