Navigating Logistics During COVID-19. WTCGP’s digital Got Questions? Featuring BDP’s Michael Ford provided some answers.
By Graziella DiNuzzo
“The good news is that companies are exporting, products are leaving the US, going ocean and air, “ explained Michael Ford, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs for BDP International, as he led the inaugural WTCGP “Got Questions” digital series on April 16th.
President Linda Conlin welcomed nine company executives who signed up to get up- to-date information on logistics, “amidst this unprecedented pandemic member and client companies are looking for answers, and WTCGP is lining up the experts to provide some answers, even if its “don’t know yet."
Throughout his successful career, Ford has helped companies navigate ever-changing import and export documentation and complex regulatory compliance. Ford has been with BDP for 40 of the companies’ 53-year existence. A privately owned and operated company, BDP’s mission is to deliver logistics solutions and transportation services – and they are busy.
In 2019, the WTCGP helped export companies with over $128 million in export sales, according to documented export sales reports. “We are committed to ensuring that our companies have the resources to succeed amidst this new normal,” said Conlin.
The reality is, “what has always been in place is now upside down,” said Ford to the attentive zoom meeting audience.
“Companies are having new experiences. Same person who is importing chemicals is now importing safety equipment, masks etc. – something outside of their scope of work,” Ford explains referring to the high demand of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). “We are seeing a humanitarian position from companies to deliver health and medical supplies and what it means to work quickly to reinvent your company.”
“Trucks are busy, busy, busy on the roads working really hard to meet increasing demands for food. It’s a bit easier now that everyone is off the road.”
Rob Hutchison, President, Visual Software was pleased to learn, “more about logistics than he ever knew.”
With Rob’s focus on bringing technology to remote areas in Africa and his need to ship thousands of laptops, Ford’s suggestions were quite insightful.
“Since the international passenger air travel restrictions, more passenger planes can be used for air freight,” Ford explains. “Companies can take advantage of the best price and best service.”
The new reality for ocean freight was also discussed. “January, February and March, we have seen carrier ships bypassing China. Ships are returning to the US with empty containers.”
What does the future hold?
Ford urged the audience to “communicate, pick up the phone and re-establish relationships with your clients.”
“We are all under pressure. We need to ride this out together and it’s time to humanize what we are dealing with.”