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The global economy is more connected than ever, so the spike in cross border freight volumes comes as no surprise. Nearshoring, a strategic move where businesses relocate their manufacturing or services closer to the consumer markets, has become a driving force behind this trend. A prominent example is the steady growth in US-Mexico trade, bolstered by an increasing number of companies opting for nearshoring to navigate geopolitical and logistical uncertainties in trans-Pacific trade. With this surge in cross-border movements, shippers find themselves in need of strategies to enhance and fortify operations across borders. 

However, increasing cross-border freight volume is only half the equation; visibility throughout the supply chain is absolutely critical to achieving efficiency and operational excellence. This blog explores the intricacies and challenges of cross-border freight visibility and examines how modern 3PL providers are closing the visibility gap to ensure the safe passage of goods at the border.

What is Supply Chain Visibility in Cross-Border Freight?

Shipment visibility, often heralded as a cornerstone in modern supply chains, extends beyond merely tracking a shipment’s location and expected time of arrival. Particularly regarding cross-border freight, visibility needs to be actionable – empowering freight forwarders, customs brokers, and shippers with insights that enable them to anticipate key milestones, allocate resources efficiently, and preemptively address potential disruptions. The purpose of actionable visibility is to foster proactive, rather than reactive, supply chain management.

The international supply chain is made up of multiple steps and functions, each involving different players and processes. From first-mile pickup to data validation, customs clearance, and the ultimate final-mile delivery, every step is interwoven and requires seamless coordination. The sheer complexity and number of moving parts highlight the importance of visibility for all involved parties at every stage. Achieving this harmonized flow of information from the origin dock to the destination warehouse is indispensable for ensuring not just the successful delivery of shipments, but also for safeguarding against delays, loss, and customs holds that are often the consequences of poor visibility.

The Consequences of Poor Visibility in Cross-Border Freight

When it comes to cross-border freight services, visibility is non-negotiable. Operating with a murky view of freight movement is akin to navigating treacherous waters without a compass. The consequences of low visibility are numerous, and in the interconnected network of supply chain operations, they often have cascading downstream impacts.

Bottlenecks and Ripple Effects

Delays and disruptions in cross-border freight can create domino effects across the supply chain. Crowded borders, lengthy inspections, and inefficient processes crossing hubs can cause crippling delays. These delays often translate into late deliveries, stockouts, production hiccups, and the failure to fulfill critical customer orders. 

The Pitfalls of Unreliable ETAs

Lack of accurate asset tracking hampers collaboration and cross-border efficiency. When shippers lack visibility into the real-time location of assets, they have to rely on milestone updates from logistics providers. If these ETAs are inaccurate, drivers could be left waiting at hubs for hours – wasting valuable labor hours. Consistently inaccurate information and delays increase costly detention fees and damage valuable partner relationships. 

Customer Fallout

Consistent late shipments erode customer trust. The culmination of internal inefficiencies and delays in cross-border freight is felt most acutely by end customers who rely on these shipments for production or business continuity. And customers are not likely to forgive delays easily, with a recent study finding that 65 percent of consumers would cease shopping with a vendor after 2-3 late deliveries. The damage to customer relationships is often long-lasting, hard to repair, and can have substantial impacts on revenue.

Theft and Loss at the Border

Insufficient visibility increases cargo vulnerability to theft and loss. Delayed shipments not only disrupt schedules but also heighten the risk of theft, especially in high-risk regions. In fact, Mexico reported 20,131 cargo theft incidents in 2022 – the equivalent of 58 thefts per day. The lack of real-time tracking and response mechanisms in cases of poor visibility exacerbates this risk.

Elevating Cross-Border Freight with a Modern 3PL’s Enhanced Visibility

In a logistics environment where every minute counts, partnering with a seasoned and technologically agile 3PL is the key to achieving new heights in cross-border operations. The right 3PL – one armed with extensive experience and API capabilities that weave together disparate data sources – crafts a panoramic, real-time view of freight movements. This visibility is the antidote to the pitfalls of cross-border freight, transforming operational efficiency and fortifying reliability.

Rapid Response to Roadblocks

Integrated exceptions management in cross-border freight services ensures that no issue – big or small – goes unnoticed. With advanced supply chain visibility solutions, shippers gain immediate awareness of slowdowns and exceptions. When an exception rears its head, a modern 3PL can deploy mission-critical resources to ensure timely delivery and keep the supply chain gears turning seamlessly.

Precision-Timed Collaborations

Accurate ETAs are the key to streamlined cross-border operations. With API-integrated supply chain visibility, shippers and transportation partners can access real-time ETAs of every shipment in transit, on-demand. This ensures well-oiled collaboration and the strategic deployment of assets and labor. Drivers can be scheduled based on real-time updates, minimizing wasted hours waiting at borders and helping to ramp up operational efficiency.

Agile and Assured Operations

Dynamic visibility is the lifeblood of responsive yet robust cross-border supply chains. Shippers need to emphasize avoiding delays and taking a proactive approach to exception management. This helps ensure reliability, safeguarding against theft, and nurturing customer relationships. With real-time visibility furnished by a 3PL, shippers can maintain this delicate balance, ensuring swift reactions when needed and bolstering customer trust through reliable services.

Bridging Cross-Border Gaps with LGI: Expertise Meets Cutting-Edge Tech

In the high-stakes world of cross-border freight, visibility reigns supreme. Partnering with a 3PL that is adept at providing seamless, reliable, and transparent cross-border freight operations is critical. LGI excels in this area by employing an advanced API, which links our cross-border logistics expertise and cutting-edge supply chain visibility technology. This technological infrastructure enables LGI to deliver unrivaled visibility and efficiency in cross-border freight.

LGI’s commitment to excellence extends beyond technology, though. With over 20 years of experience, our growth-oriented team focuses on leveraging data for insightful decision-making. We are dedicated to expanding our cross-border carrier network and capacity, ready to meet diverse logistics challenges and the most urgent shipment needs. This blend of human touch and technological prowess makes LGI an unmatched ally in cross-border freight logistics.

Take your cross-border operations to the next level with LGI’s unmatched expertise and technology. Contact our experts today and embark on a journey to seamless and efficient cross-border freight management.