By Juergen Riedel, CEO, Ventura
The recent grounding of the Evergreen cargo ship in the Suez Canal made global headlines. When a ship bigger than the Empire State Building gets stuck in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, it is going to get noticed.
As one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Suez Canal accounts for about 30% of global container ship traffic each day, so it should be no surprise that the accident caused some real issues in the global supply chain. It wasn’t just the 20,000 containers of goods on the Evergreen that were stuck up the Suez that was the issue, but also the multimillion-dollar cargoes of all the other ships stranded in the world’s biggest traffic jam.
On the face of it, providing quality furnished accommodation for rental feels very distanced from an incident on the Suez Canal. However, to attract the right residents at the right rents, Build to Rent apartments need to have great furniture and furnishings. For developers, advances in internet ordering means manufacturing has evolved to deliver ‘just in time’, with an expectation that goods will arrive when they were expected, even when travelling halfway around the world in a few weeks to get to your project. Big brands like John Lewis have thrived on the convenience culture, with a promise to get you your furniture where you want it, when you want it, regardless of where it was made, how it was made or how far it has travelled to get to you.
So, when 20,000 containers get stuck in the Suez Canal, there will be many development projects missing their furniture for some time. The Evergreen incident has helped to highlight a problem, but it is not the only cause of increasing supply chain uncertainty from far east manufacturers.
Congestion in global ports is also on the rise, leading to delivery dates becoming increasingly unreliable for furniture. In February, it was reported that La-Z-Boy informed customers to expect delivery dates that are five to nine months out from the purchase date. The delay caused in the main by congestion at ports.
The world is changing fast, and geopolitical shifts also add risk from international trade wars and unexpected tariffs. And to cap it all, there are risks in damage to brand reputation through unknowns in working conditions, sustainable sourcing of materials and the climate cost of global shipping.
The cumulative impact of these risks for Build to Rent developers is once again driving demand locally and some manufacturers are rising to the challenge to be able to deliver high quality, sustainably sourced furniture on time and budget without the risks that come hand in hand from far eastern supply.
Ventura, for example, designs and manufactures 2,000 of our own furniture and furnishings in our workshops in Ireland, Poland and Portugal, including sofas and chairs, curtains and blinds, cushions and lighting, and has complete control of the supply chain. That means that supply can be guaranteed for up to 200 UK fit out projects per week, from studios and apartments to penthouses and show homes. All materials are sustainably sourced from within the EU, minimising the impact of global shipping incidents and international trade wars.
And with an increasing need to evidence sustainability providence, everything we do is ethical, and everything we make can be reused or recycled. We aim to be the first global Cradle to Cradle supplier of furniture.
So, next time you reach for the online brochure to order for your next Build to Rent development, think differently as there are better, more sustainable solutions that won’t get stuck on the Suez for weeks.