Cory Brothers Shipping Agency.

Twenty twenty was a worldwide turning point for the way we all live and work. The new ways are still being worked out and we’re constantly adapting. Reflecting on Lockdown No.1 (March 2020) we’ve come a long way. Overnight, our HR & IT teams mobilized our entire workforce to work from home, ensuring the business could function and remain productive. Our group MD Peter Wilson re-assured the whole group that we’d stick together, adapt and work this out; that all staff would be kept safe and be paid; that Cory’s would strive for “business as usual”. We’re very proud to have achieved this and so far so good..

Since then we’ve continued to adapt, recruited 26 new staff (and didn’t furlough any). Our people are working from home and on occasion, from our offices when needed (Cory Brothers is classified key worker status). Essentially, our ships agency division still must attend to vessels in port. We’ve seen an increase in the volume of UK arrivals, so it’s even busier although the actual job hasn’t really changed; our boarding clerks still must attend each vessel and ensure they provide the same high quality and personal service as before. Some parts of the service take a little longer with the new covid safety measures and protocols. These vary slightly from port to port, but we’re used to making it work. We know how important our role is in keeping the vessels on time, in shape and looked after.

Our resilient Ships Agency staff work “around the clock” providing constant information on every port call, along with local support, as well as arranging essential supplies, crew transfers, and customs documentation. Local expertise ensures a smooth turnaround for the vessels we handle. We ensure that essential supplies, crew transfers, customs documentation and waste declarations are all arranged without delay. That’s why so many of our principals trust us implicitly to look after their business, wherever they operate, and whenever they ship, right across the world.

Customs clearance is an integral part of the Cory Brothers business and for ALL four divisions. Our specialist, market-leading team handle all forms of paperwork and processes required for customs clearance. The Ships Agency team is well-versed in dealing with all the essential but very time-consuming documentation relating to oil, gas (LPG/LNG), chemical cargoes, grains and bulk goods. Their experience and close attention to detail ensures that whatever the destination, customs clearance becomes little more than a formality: just one less thing for our customers to worry about.

Like most shipping and freight forwarders, Cory Brothers Logistics division continues to deal with “the perfect storm within a storm”! The deep-sea ocean import sector is in turmoil and reaching a serious tipping point. As well reported, the supply & demand is massively out of kilter. Worldwide shipping mechanisms contracted during the lockdowns whilst demand surged. No one went on holiday but went shopping instead! When countries opened again last summer, there were major bottlenecks of freight in front of a gigantic new demand for even more goods. Most major container Ports are hamstrung (or near to it) with congestion, extra demand and a workforce depleted by covid or slowed by safety measures to avoid it. Shipping containers are displaced and in short supply where needed at origin. All of this means shipping costs have soared. There has been a 400% increase in total freight costs within 4 months! UK importers either cannot get slot space on vessels or cannot afford the current rate of $12-15000.00 per 40FCL. Our customers expect us to find a way to keep their business (supply chain) intact and it is extremely difficult and highly frustrating. We’re working even harder, much longer and managing to keep some parts moving but there has to a joined-up fix so this situation doesn’t cause lasting damage to UK plc.

Twenty twenty-one started with a cautious nod to better times to come. And Brexit. The first week was not as busy as anticipated and gave us time to figure out the “off plan” snagging that appeared. However, the new issues have ramped up on most of the major EU trade lanes for imports and exports. Of course, this is no real surprise to anyone in the logistics sector; having had lots of time to prepare – despite the lack of high-level coherence, a last-minute deal and all under the cloud of covid restrictions and horrid outcomes. We’re now getting to better grips and figuring it out – it’s a work in progress but we’ve come a long way in just a few short weeks. This will take a few good months to have understanding at both sides of the borders and for the supply chains to flow once again.

One thing we can be sure of is that we’ll still be working hard to keep the ships looked after, the supply chains intact and our customers informed and happy. Cory Brothers have been around since 1842 because we’ve always adapted and we never stand still.