Word from New York
We came to New York so psyched up expecting that it would solve a lot of problems immediately but turns out, some problems needed more time to resolve than others. I mean with Fargo, we had a huge problem of delivering goods to the Chicago forwarder on time. We used to use LTL companies and would prebook a shipment so that by the time it got to Chicago, it would fly out within three days at most but most LTL companies had their fair share of problems with Covid and everything and sometimes they would deliver after the prebooked flight's departure date, which means that our shipment would more often than not, miss the flight that we had prebooked a week ago and we’d then have to rebook it again and that would mean the shipment staying at the forwarder’s location till the next flight's departure date that would at times be a week later.
To resolve the issue above, we needed to set up operations near a major airport and we did that here in New York. We can ship from any major airport here in the US but East Coast has an advantage of having major airports within a three-hour drive from New York City. You have BOS, EWR, IAD, JFK, PHL and with JFK teaming with almost every major international airline, we were / still are in luck. Most international airlines have a lot of passenger and cargo traffic from here, we are a known shipper and can thus utilize both passenger and cargo planes, so we were not really expecting any delays to hit us. First few shipments went with Ethiopian. They are friendly with their prices and we thought well, they have a direct flight to Addis Ababa and Nairobi is just a couple hours away. How hard could it be for them to move goods to Nairobi from Addis? In one particular shipment, they took a whole month moving goods in batches. If you don't believe it, visit their tracking page https://ethiopiancargo.azurewebsites.net/e-cargo/cargotrack/Index/ and enter the tracking 071-41213502. Goods were handed to them on May 25 and last batch was delivered June 21. Why would an airline do that? An airline should not do that and if its going to do that, it should say so beforehand. I could go on and on about Ethiopian. They have great rates. I mean we are a business after all and the thing to remember is, before we even give an airline our goods, they will normally have sent us a schedule of when the goods will depart and arrive at the destination. You would expect them to stick to that schedule, but I know some of you might find it hard to believe this, but they really do not. If they did it for other shippers, they didn’t in our case. The shipment above that arrived on June 21 was actually originally scheduled to land in Nairobi on May 29. That's 3 weeks off course.
After a rather disappointing start with Ethiopian, we chose Turkish but believe it or not, again, a story to tell. Something that we have come to learn about Turkish is that it has a standard service and another premium service called TK Plus. We have been using their standard service and well, its third-rate service, to be honest. Turkish has extremely attractive rates but that just means they get so much cargo from pretty much every shipper. This can cause backlog of even two weeks meaning that if you tried to book a shipment with them today, you can only get available flights two weeks from now. And, you may as well go ahead and prebook a shipment two weeks from now, expecting to hand it to them two days before the actual flight date (since we ship weekly anyway) but if for some reason, that shipment misses that flight, they normally update departure dates seven to ten days after the original departure date because of the issue of backlog. Considering that they already have the cargo, you can only choose to wait until they move it, upgrade to TK Plus which is not always guaranteed or well, collect your cargo and move it with another airline which is just another hustle altogether.
So obviously we cannot do business like this. Its discouraging and we know that most of our clients are in business and not shipping for personal use and so the last few weeks, we've engaged numerous freight forwarders both in New York and other cities trying to setup a freight service that works and is on time. Great news!! New York to Nairobi route will now utilize Kenya Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates. Kenya Airways really gave us good rates and their flight from NY is direct. Anytime Kenya Airways has space on their carrier, we will be utilizing their non-stop flight. I mean we will always try to prebook before they run out of space but its worth noting that we have other options. The fact that KQ will now be operating three flights a week makes it so much better. In case of any issues with KQ, then we shall be using the other two though they do have short stop overs. We have used Lufthansa a couple times and they were perfect. Emirates is world reknown for its timely service with large or small shipments..
We also realize that shipping large, palletized goods to New York is awfully expensive compared to other regions in the US and for this reason large pallets can be shipped to our forwarder in Atlanta and loaded on Lufthansa or Emirates (via Orlando). If you prefer Qatar, rate will be $2.00 higher. Just let us know days ahead so we can prebook it on any of the aforementioned airlines to avoid it sitting in the forwarder's location awaiting a booking.
Yes, we have failed in multiple instances, but we are learning and soon, shipping to Nairobi will be as easy as 123. Step by step and we are getting there.