The decline of supply chain productivity at West Coast ports is a familiar story; congestion at the ports of LA and Long Beach has been the norm for months. Ocean vessels queue up offshore for a chance to dock. Agriculture exporters, ready to ship time-sensitive freight, are sometimes turned away.

Unfortunately, these logistics challenges will continue to intensify as the holiday season ramps up and ocean containers are packed with e-commerce goods. Add to this the ever-changing carrier earliest return date rules, which can take a huge chunk out of shipper margins, and being an exporter today is more stressful than ever.

ERD fines are increasingly concerning. In fact, a recent survey of U.S. agriculture exporters by the U.S. Agriculture Transport Coalition (AgTC) and TradeLanes found that 25 percent of the respondents’ cargo sent during the pandemic had been met with ERD charges. Nearly 10 percent of those surveyed saw ERD fees of more than $1,000 per shipment. And more than half of the surveyed shippers found getting a reduction in ERD fees was out of the question. To make the situation even more alarming, three-fourths of respondents didn’t always have accurate ERD data from their carrier partners.

What’s the solution? Blume Global is the only supply chain technology provider directly connected to 28 of the top 30 ocean carriers, and numerous ocean freight forwarders and drayage carriers, giving exporters an unrivaled, pervasive look at the global supply chain. These direct, active connections to carriers allow Blume’s exporter customers to benefit from early insight into a shipment, vessel, and route status including blank sailings, rolled shipments, missed transshipment connects, shipment received, shipment loaded and the vessel departed. With Blume, exporters will always know what’s available and when.

Blume's customers import and export the largest volume of shipments in North America, moving cargo into and out of all airports, marine terminals, and intermodal rail ramps. This level of detail enables Blume to actively provide end-to-end visibility of import and export shipments in the U.S. Most important, Blume Global alerts customers to shipment exceptions, providing them options to overcome disruptions to their supply chains. By leveraging the industry’s largest network, and combining that data with unrivaled location intelligence, Blume can translate the experience of carriers traveling ahead on the same or similar routes. This enables Blume to forecast potential delays impacting ETA's and recommend alternate routes, modes, and carriers.

The Blume Global Platform continuously confirms carrier bookings and booking changes, keeping exporters up to date on ERD deadlines. Getting a handle on ERD rules, no matter how often they change, helps the entire ocean shipping ecosystem, ensuring the supply chain runs efficiently and smoothly.

But accurate ERD data is only a small piece of the larger logistics puzzle. To make sure exports are sent efficiently, on time and at a low cost, shippers should consider a holistic transportation management system.

Blume can alleviate complications surrounding ERD regulations, strengthening the lines of communication among exporters and their carrier partners. Blume’s holistic TMS application is built on technology that continuously collects and analyzes data in real-time from the extensive Blume network while searching for opportunities to provide superior customer service. Blume’s TMS enables shipper agility, allowing exporters to dynamically change the transportation plan to address issues impacting delivery dates, cargo quality, and cost.

Blume Global built the Blume multimodal TMS solution as a comprehensive offering that streamlines, optimizes and automates the logistics process, eliminating extraneous operational steps while providing the visibility and metrics to assess value. With Blume Global, exporters also receive complete integration to ocean-carrier scheduling, which means they’ll always be the first to know of any changes impacting their cargo.

Blume will be attending AgTC’s Virtual Major Midyear Meeting. During the AgTC virtual Midyear Meeting, Blume Global’s Dave Arsenault will discuss how bad early return date charges are driving supply chain disfunction. Join him on December 9 to find out what can be done to ensure accurate ERD data.


Blume’s cognitive multimodal TMS application provides end-to-end supply chain visibility, giving exporters the technology tools to avoid terminal delays and burdensome fees. Learn more at

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