Changing Destinations: Re-Routing Cargo to Meet a Customer’s Demands

By Cathy Yu | Operations Manager, CSL Express Line


Julie and her partners had no way of predicting which customers, which products, and in which part of the country their products would be needed. Predicting demand seemed a futile exercise, and new retail locations stocking their products burst onto their distribution map like movie theater popcorn

The holiday season was quickly approaching and Julie received a call from one of her national retail chain customers. The buyer needed to re-stock their Southern California stores and he needed product fast. Julie said later, “it was one of those surreal conversations where you just knew the relationship we had with the buyer would forever change if we couldn’t accommodate him.” She told the buyer she had product that just arrived into the Port of Long Beach but it’s being offloaded and shipped by rail to New Jersey and New York. She then told her customer, “Let me talk to my account manager at CSL and see what they can do.”

Julie called me and explained her situation. I told her that the steamship lines have a 72 hour period to request a Change of Destination (COD) and her cargo had already passed that deadline by half a day. I jumped on the phone and reached out to my counter-part at the steamship line and explained Julie’s problem. Since the early 1990’s CSL has shipped thousands of shipping containers with the steamship lines. Maintaining solid relationships with our providers gives CSL the necessary influence to call in a favor. The steamship line agreed to waive the 72 hour rule and allow a Change of Destination on the shipment so that Julie’s cargo could terminate at the Port of Long Beach.  But, we only had one hour to make the decision, and she still needed to solve two additional problems – how to get her products packaged for retail sale, and getting the balance of the cargo to New Jersey and New York.