Opinion: Ship Shape?! Daniel Prince, Managing Director of Danilo Promotions Speaks Out

Last January it cost $2,500 to ship a 40’ container from the Far East to the UK. Now that cost has soared to $16,000 – with further price rises on the horizon.

Soaring costs of shipping, haulage and raw materials, coupled with container shortages and disruption at ports post Brexit resulting in delays are causing horrendous headaches for greeting card publishers, calendar companies and giftwrappings businesses bringing their products into the UK.

Above: Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo with Angela Anderson, the company’s sales director with Basil Shapiro, owner of South Africa’s Shapiros at the Spring Fair.
Above: Daniel Prince left), managing director of Danilo with Angela Anderson, the company’s sales director with Basil Shapiro, owner of South Africa’s Shapiros at the Spring Fair.

Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo shared his thoughts with PG Buzz… 

“I think it’s outrageous that the shipping companies can get away with charging 600%-800% more than they were 18 months ago. They are all making record profits at expense of their customers.

The container shortage is also ridiculous.  It’s almost like an over demand and shortage of supply has been created to justify these costs. I wouldn’t mind paying such ridiculous prices if you could get the goods quicker, but even with these prices it’s taking much longer than pre-Covid.

The last few months we have managed the situation without any major issues. We had been hoping the situation would improve by June/July, then the Suez crisis came and various Covid outbreaks happened in ports. While we were not affected directly by the Suez blockage, as our two containers went through the day before it happened, there are the knock-on effects.

At the moment we have seen delays now of four weeks due to port issues in China, and so only affects our early launch ranges, but we hope it doesn’t continue as it could affect our main range shipments in a few months’ time.”

What mitigating action have you taken?

“We are working with our factories and shipping partners to find the best solutions possible while we also luckily have excellent UK production capabilities.

We did look at train transportation from the Far East, but not only is this even more expensive than shipping, but the trains are booked up. It does seem ludicrous that you could end up spending more on freight than the cost of the item!

We have tried to produce as much as we can earlier and have moved some production away from Korea back to the UK. We have even air freighted some delayed stocks, but this is expensive.”

Above: Danilo has looked at using train freight, but it proved even more expensive than shipping.
Above: Danilo has looked at using train freight, but it proved even more expensive than shipping.

How are you managing the situation with your retail customers?

“We can’t ask our retailers for price increases once the orders have all been confirmed as that would be unfair to do this year. We want to support our retailers and likewise we also would want them to support and help suppliers. So, we simply have to manage the situation and try and produce stock as early as we can, but with licensed product we always have to make sure we feature the latest styles and images to keep it as current as possible at retail.

Retailers do need to be aware of the issues. We however have written to all our retailers to advise of the issues and let them know that we will keep them informed of any delays.”

Is there anything that can be done to improve the situation?

“It would be good as an industry to start lobbying parliament for help, but I guess the government has its own problems!”

Above: While many of Danilo’s products are produced in the UK others are manufactured in the Far East.
Above: While many of Danilo’s products are produced in the UK others are manufactured in the Far East.
  • Danilo Promotions will be exhibiting at Progressive Greetings Live next week (Tuesday 27 July and Wednesday 28 July).

“Nothing virtually can replace actual face to face meetings, and product showcasing,” commented Daniel. “We are so looking forward to seeing our industry friends and retailers. It’s been too long!”

Among its new launches, Danilo will be showing its ranges of Animal Crossing, CoComelon, Xbox, Warhammer, Elmer, Van Gogh Museum, Barbie, Brightside and Paramount, as well as collections to tie in with the movie releases of Spirit, My Little Pony and PAW Patrol.

Top: Swingeing shipping costs and shortages are causing havoc for companies such as Danilo Promotions.

 

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