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Pop-Up Carriers May Be Too Good To Be True

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

As securing space continues to be a challenge, there are reports throughout the industry that a few shippers, in a desperate attempt to get their goods from Asia to the U.S., have been turning to pop-up carriers. These newcomers have chartered, or in some cases purchased, container ships to get products into the U.S. market.

This unconventional alternative is looking to capitalize on shippers who are fed up with low reliability and high rates. These pop-up carriers claim to be able to transport products with short lead times and strict on-time requirements.

“Using a pop-up carrier carries tremendous risk in this environment, because they do not have a known track record and we know very little about their operating standards,” said Anthony Fullbrook, President of OEC Group’s Northeast Region. “As the cost of transporting cargo continues to set records, now is not the time to experiment with an unknown entity. Clients should remember not every doctor holding a scalpel is qualified to be a surgeon and not everyone with a boat is qualified to be a carrier.”

The pop-up carrier option is currently being offered on the fringes of the industry. However, it is beginning to gain traction because they are not only promising they will have the space to transport products (at roughly the same going rate) but they are also claiming to be giving shippers a dedicated transportation solution in markets that are difficult to access.

“While necessity may be the mother of invention, it does not necessarily mean that everything that develops will have a positive effect, especially in this industry,” said Peter Hsieh, Vice President of Sales and Marketing in OEC Group’s New York Office. “If you want to do business successfully right now, it’s smart to stick with trusted, well-established logistical partners, because at least you’ll know what you are getting for your money.”
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