Challenges of global supply chains and what it means for Serbia

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What does the Ukrainian war and the crisis that followed the pandemic look like from the point of view of shippers? How do you overcome disruptions in the global supply chain?

Stevica Čarapić: The past three years have forever changed the way companies do business. Supply chains have been constantly disrupted for various reasons, such as shutdowns due to COVID, shortages of equipment and shipping space, and port congestion. MSC’s response to the global crisis was swift, in terms of investment in fleet, equipment, new services and intermodal solutions. At the same time, the development of digital solutions was imperative, as a way to avoid delays in the exchange of documents and to make MSC services available to clients at all times. Locally, we worked on the establishment of new rail services from Rijeka and Bar, since the existing intermodal capacities were overbooked, which caused delays in internal traffic to and from Serbia.

You carry out your transportation through the network of regional sea ports – Bar, Kopar, Rijeka, and in Serbia through Sremska Mitrovica and Pancevo. What port management news would you most look forward to?

Stevica Čarapić: Barge traffic on the Danube is very important for this region, and the main thing that would enable an increase in the volume of container barges on the river would be to ensure reliable conditions for regular and smooth transport and efficient handling of containers. Any investment that would ensure these conditions would be welcomed by us.

Serbia, like North Macedonia, is a landlocked country, so an important part of your overall service is land transportation, i.e. door to door transportation. Is the current reconstruction of road and rail infrastructure your only challenge in this area?

Stevica Čarapić: In addition to the quality of the infrastructure and the ongoing reconstruction of railways and roads in the region, the capacities of border crossings have a problem to cope with the increase in the volume of rail and road traffic that has occurred in the last few years. Current administrative procedures also slow down transport to and from Serbia through regional ports, and although efforts are being made to simplify these complicated procedures, resolving these issues would save companies from Serbia and North Macedonia significant amounts of time.

Where do you see Serbia’s greatest potential and growth opportunities?

Stevica Čarapić: We have noticed a significant increase in the export of apples in 2022, mainly to the Middle East and India, as well as wood, raw materials and tires. As for imports, the Serbian white goods market is increasing every year, and we have no doubt that Serbia will continue to grow in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to increase and accelerate infrastructure investments in order to ensure better connectivity of the country with the wider region, which will benefit not only the local economy, but also transit traffic.

What innovative services do you offer to clients in this market?

Stevica Čarapić: MSC has developed several digital solutions with the aim of giving customers more control and a better overview of their shipments, as well as saving time and money. MyMSC, an online platform for offers and reservations, has already been adopted by most of our clients, while our electronic solution developed on the basis of blockchain technology is only at the beginning. MSC’s eBL enables all parties involved in the booking of sea shipments to independently copy the bill of lading, send instructions, confirm and ship it electronically, via an independent blockchain platform, without any disruption to business operations. This is a fast, simple and secure way to exchange shipping bills without printing, which, in addition to being faster and cheaper, helps all parties reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chain. The application is available to senders, importers and traders of all industries and sizes worldwide and requires no additional IT infrastructure or operational changes. For more information, visit www.msc.com/ebl. In addition to these, there are other, relatively new solutions such as Smart Containers and Direct Integrations, with which our clients have yet to become familiar.

Your clients transport various types of goods in containers, everything from raw materials to electronic goods, and you are very well known in the local market for transporting goods under a temperature regime, such as fruit and meat. Is this service reserved only for large manufacturers and retailers, or is there room for smaller companies as well?

Stevica Čarapić: We pride ourselves on our personal approach to each client, regardless of the amount of cargo and/or business volume. We have invested heavily in providing adequate equipment for cargo transported under the temperature regime over the last few years, and our fleet has state-of-the-art technology, including Controlled Atmosphere containers (CA), which allow for precise adjustment of temperature and ventilation inside the container to ensure that goods arrives at the destination in the condition in which it was loaded into the container. Our global team of over 1,000 dedicated reefer experts have the knowledge to handle this type of cargo and are available to customers at all times. Due to all of the above, this type of transportation is available to everyone – large companies and small, Nova Ekonomija writes.

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