Supply chains are increasingly expensive. From raw materials to transportation, the price of just about everything is going up. In March, the cost of crude oil spiked above $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014.

And we’re already seeing the effects, which make it tougher to navigate today’s biggest supply chain challenges. Barge operators are imposing emergency surcharges on each container to account for rising fuel prices. The Panama Canal Authority has proposed a fee on empty containers being returned to Asia to incentivize efficiency. In the U.S., the Ocean Shipping Reform Act just passed the House of Representatives, the next step in addressing shippers’ complaints about excessive detention and demurrage charges.

All of these are signs of an inflection point for you to re-evaluate your business plan and optimize your supply chains. There’s a lot of focus and resources put into the final mile of the supply chain so that customers have visibility, but we need more of an emphasis on the earlier stages. That’s where most of the complexity is, and where there are cost savings to be had.

This article was originally published by Supply & Demand Chain Executive. To continue reading, visit

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