Michigan freight forwarding: Routes and rates to consider 

Our Cargo Services team has been servicing companies in Michigan with freight forwarding options for Midwest cargo importsseveral years. Time and time again we hear feedback from the business leaders who meet with us. They want customer service. The request is pretty simple. We’re being told Michigan freight forwarding requirements for business leaders are: to share the cost of the shipment upfront with the complete landed cost along with reasonable time frames on the import due to arrive in the United States.

The team has a tenured and trusted team that provides the highest level of service in these areas. Considering how freight is shipped into Michigan should be considered with any freight forwarder to ensure customer expectations are met.

Service and rate options vary for import containers coming to Chicago ramps via United States West Coast (USWC) ports and Canadian ports Vancouver (VAN) and Prince Rupert (PRR). Michigan has an advantage with water service via United States East Coast ports having access to Detroit and Chicago.

Routes and rate options to consider

  • USWC ports to Chicago ramps: Major carriers are APL, MSC, Evergreen, NYK and Maersk. Transit by rail from USWC ports to the Chicago ramp can average three to six days. USWC ports of entry from Long Beach/LA and Seattle/Tacoma offer many carrier options and consistent service. USWC ports can become congested at times and have been plagued by labor disruptions from time to time.
  • VAN and PRR to Chicago ramps: Major carriers are COSCO and Maersk. Average transit from PRR and VAN to Chicago is four to seven days. Vancouver may be a few days longer in busy season. Canadian ports have become an excellent alternative to USWC ports of entry. There is carrier diversity through Vancouver; however, the port can become congested during peak shipping seasons with dwell times up to 10 days. PRR is a relatively new option into the Midwest with direct rail service on the CN. The port is limited to a few carriers. The port offers consistent service and usually very little congestion even during peak shipping seasons.
  • USEC services to Chicago or Detroit: Major carriers APL, Kline and Zim. Transit is approximately 15 days additional versus USWC option. Customers who can work with longer transit times of 10 to 15 days may benefit from less expensive rates during times of the year when carriers are after market share. The opening of the expanded Panama Canal, handling vessels up the 14,000 TEU, may provide cost savings and an alternative to USWC port congestion and labor issues.

We suggest Central Michigan importers and exporters should work with their international transportation partners to understand all the options available for their international supply chains. Our recommendation is to portion international shipments and have them move through different service routings to take advantage of unique benefits. This idea can be beneficial during peak shipping times to avoid congestion and service delays, as much as possible.

If choosing a mode of travel and having a landed cost is important to you remember—it is important to us too. It’s earned us customers who are partners in business over two decades with many more years to come.

Contact Cargo Service representative Gary Bost for more information about Michigan freight forwarding services.

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