The Ongoing Shipping Crisis: Strategies for Importers to Manage Costs

Manufacturers and distributors around the world are feeling the widespread effects of the Red Sea shipping route closure. The fastest sea route between Asia and Europe, the Suez Canal carries approximately 15% of global sea trade, according to Reuters.

Compounded by ongoing supply chain disruption caused by the war in Ukraine and droughts in the Panama Canal region, the Red Sea crisis poses unprecedented challenges to the global market. Longer transit times and higher operational costs are leading to significant supply shortages, severe port congestion at critical hubs like New York and New Jersey, and skyrocketing sea cargo rates. Surging air freight rates make matters worse, forcing production delays.

With no sign of stabilization, manufacturers and distributors are left with tough choices: reduce profit margins, raise prices or lose sales. As these challenges continue to persist, it is essential to adapt your import operations to safeguard profits and manage financial risk.

Strategies for New York and New Jersey importers reliant on Transpacific and Asia-Europe trade include:

  • Stress test 2024 budgets with worst-case sea freight expenditure projections.
  • Enable data-backed decision making on profitable price thresholds and cost offsets.
  • Renegotiate carrier contracts to secure supplier cost concessions and cap rate volatility.
  • Calculate break-even pricing thresholds.
  • Consolidate origin shipments to secure volume discounts.
  • Switch to other East Coast ports like Virginia to ease congestion.
  • Use domestic rail-served inland ports for cost savings.

In essence, the global shipping crisis elevates the stakes for running competitive, cost-efficient businesses. However, with proactive measures, achieving growth and effectively managing external risks remains attainable.

Savvy Northeast companies can leverage localized supply chain flexibility and shipping cost reduction tactics to sustain profitability despite global volatility. Realistic financial projections and prompt strategic adaptations can strengthen the resilience and sustainability of your manufacturing or distribution company.

For more information, please contact your Grassi M&D Advisor or Matthew Lombardo, Principal at Grassi.


Matthew Lombardo Matthew Lombardo, CPA, is an Audit Principal at Grassi. With more than 10 years of public accounting experience, he advises clients across a range of industries, including Manufacturing & Distribution, Retail, Architecture & Engineering and other professional services. Matthew specializes in helping clients achieve efficiencies in financial reporting, audits and compilations, and operational procedures to improve their bottom line. He also has experience in... Read full bio

Categories: Advisory