Talking with Xiaojia Shi, Sales Manager at Shanxi International
Shanxi International: Production and sale of magnesium materials
Founded in 1996 and based in the Shanxi Province of China, Shanxi International Import and Export Co., Ltd. produces and sells magnesium ingots and magnesium alloys used in aluminium alloying and automotive parts. The risks of oxidization in these products make their efficient and timely transport vitally important.
The company ships cargo every week – including over national and international holidays like New Year celebrations. The shipment is transported by bulk truck from their facilities in FuGu county to the port of Xingang, where it is exported across Europe, Canada and Japan.
Shanxi International found Twill and began shipping on the platform in July 2020, seeking more control over their cargo shipping and more transparency. Especially the fact that Twill is supercharged by industry leader Maersk gave the company the option to book a direct vessel from Xingang to Rotterdam, which is at the same time the fastest vessel sailing from Xingang. Moreover, the company took advantage of Twill's loading priority, giving more transparency for their logistics planning.
We spoke to the company about why they chose Twill and how the experience has been for them.
The challenge: A lack of forecasting and transparency for future freight trends
Before using Twill, Shanxi International dealt directly with shipping companies, but the lack of forecasting and transparency for future freight trends and capacity was causing issues: “In peak seasons, we had difficulties finding space and containers on direct vessels from Xingang to Rotterdam. Due to the special character of our products, the longer they spend at sea, the higher the risks of quality problems occurring,” – says Xiaojia Shi, Sales Manager at Shanxi International.
With freight quotes only available week-to-week and no prediction of trends during the current shipping and capacity situation, the company had no firm basis for quoting transport costs for customers, only their estimations. And they were also at risk if congestions occurred outside of China, with no clear backup solution or emergency action available. The company was in need of transparency for the next few weeks and direct vessels sailing from Xingang to Rotterdam.
The solution: Twill providing more foresight and control
In seeking alternative options, the company discovered Twill by a referral from an existing Twill customer and found that the platform addressed a number of their challenges, providing more transparency and control. As Twill is supercharged by Maersk, the company was convinced by Twill’s service and the option to book freight on a Maersk vessel with direct transportation from Xingang to Rotterdam.
With Twill, Shanxi International can manage all of its transportation chains in the platform independently, without needing anyone else involved. It saves plenty of time for checking freight, sailing times and whether they can book spaces or not. Now, the company can design their transportation plans through different combinations in Twill without the need for a forwarder.
Customer Satisfaction: 5/5
Time saved by using Twill: 33%
Costs saved: The most important cost which the company saved by using Twill is time, it can’t be counted in money.
New communication channels created: Email and Twill's digital platform - instead of using the telephone.
How Twill realized a competitive advantage for Shanxi International
After deciding to ship with Twill, Shanxi International found the process smooth and efficient – benefiting hugely from the support of Twill’s customer care teams: “It wasn’t hard to get started with Twill. We were trained in the process from the beginning by the Twill team – and they always work together, from loading port to destination, to help us”, says Xiaojia Shi, Sales Manager at Shanxi International.
With the help from Twill, Shanxi International could lock spaces and freight rates for at least one month in advance with the monthly fixed rates service while getting Twill's loading priority for their shipments. As the company is producing magnesium ingots and magnesium alloys every week, this helped to plan and ship the materials when they were produced.
Twill has already helped Shanxi International deliver for customers. In one case, the company’s biggest customer in Canada – who shipped a fixed quantity of materials every month throughout the year – faced extreme shortages of raw materials at the start of 2021. Many shipping companies refused to provide enough space, and the customer considered renting a bulk vessel to solve the crisis. Twill helped and made sure that Shanxi International was able to deliver their shipments to the customer amidst the crisis.
“Twill helped us to ship material, get payment, and fulfil the contract in time. This gives us a good record in the customer’s quality system, and as a result, we will have continuous business with them in the future.”Xiaojia ShiSales Manager at Shanxi International
Continuous partnership with Twill’s end-to-end services
Looking ahead, Shanxi International plans to continue shipping with Twill as Xiaojia Shi outlines: “Twill supported us in our most difficult period when other shipping companies were rejecting our materials in peak seasons. It meant that when our competitors faced delayed shipments, we could always ship all our materials on time – which was important for our customers who needed our raw materials in their plants.”
Shanxi International is planning to ship more freight moving ahead, using Twill’s digital support. Additionally, Shanxi International is looking forward to creating a long-term partnership, utilizing the end-to-end logistics services: “We will further benefit from the cross booking option from Rotterdam to Canada as well as utilizing additional services such as Customs Clearance or Value Protect when booking shipments with Twill.”