Coronavirus Effect on Supply Chains

Coronavirus Effect on Supply Chains

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is upending global container volume demand and rippling through containerized supply chains.  That's sending shockwaves to all freight transport modes, from trucking to air cargo. 

The widening impact COVID-19 is having on retail and manufacturing demand is creating the need for two importing speeds. Cargo owners such as apparel and automotive importers want to delay receiving goods for now-closed brick-and-mortar stores and production lines, whereas importers shipping personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential household consumer goods want them faster.  Against that backdrop, carriers, forwarders, port authorities, and marine terminals are warning of a cargo bottleneck if more Western importers fail to pick up containers when they arrive, causing port congestion and inland equipment shortages that will slow down the broader supply chain.

Bookmark this special page for regular updates on how the industry is responding.

News & Analysis

07 Aug 2020
Supply chain disruption and the spread of COVID-19 may have limited carrier ability to add drivers and other employees last month, despite heightened demand.
06 Aug 2020
Intermodal volume, rates, and savings have been on a rollercoaster this year, surging this summer to levels higher than a year ago after steep declines this spring during the height of the pandemic.
05 Aug 2020
The disruption and dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic puts a premium on shipper visibility into LTL networks via digitization, as well as “touchless” pickups and deliveries.
04 Aug 2020
In expanding the surcharge to all shippers, UP cited “a significant increase in demand for container capacity across the system” that is expected to “increase further in the coming weeks.”
03 Aug 2020
The uncertainty that marks cargo forecasting in the largest US trade lane is largely a reflection of consumer purchasing habits, which have not followed normal seasonal trends due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
03 Aug 2020
Aggressive capacity management in response to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and escalating tariffs has helped the top 10 container carriers operating in the Europe–US trade increase their share of the market so far in 2020.
31 Jul 2020
With e-commerce demand surging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon is taking steps to alleviate capacity constraints in its fulfillment facilities and last-mile delivery services.
31 Jul 2020
The Asia–US West Coast spot rate exploded past $3,000 per FEU this week, but forwarders expect pricing to stabilize for the coming month as demand and supply are reaching a state of balance.
31 Jul 2020
Container carrier ONE said an increase in COVID-19 infections in South Africa has also disrupted port operations in Durban, causing vessel delays to ships operating on its South Africa Central service.
30 Jul 2020
Facing record US domestic volumes due to a surge in e-commerce deliveries, parcel, trucking, and third-party logistics provider in May implemented a temporary peak surcharge on some ground residential and SurePost deliveries as well as large packages.
30 Jul 2020
Cargo handlers using India’s minor ports enjoy significant competitive advantages over major landlord ports, including unregulated tariffs, fewer government controls, and relatively modern infrastructure.
29 Jul 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic, hopping from one hotspot to another, is scattering pieces of the supply chain capacity puzzle, leading to “dislocation,” J.B. Hunt’s Shelley Simpson says.
29 Jul 2020
Small shippers will have to pay a $500 surcharge on excess cargo on Union Pacific, as both western US Class I railroads struggle to handle the surge in volume out of Los Angeles.
28 Jul 2020
Airlines and forwarders say spiking coronavirus infections in the US and developing countries will likely keep air cargo capacity in tight supply and elevate rate levels for a long time.
27 Jul 2020
With the e-commerce boom accelerating during the COVID-19 pandemic, third-party logistics providers are offering inventory management, visibility, and fulfillment solutions to shippers to support the migration of sales transactions to an online environment.
27 Jul 2020
Shippers on the Europe-North America trade are reluctant to commit to large scale inventory replenishment, and service providers are expecting weak volume growth in the second half.
27 Jul 2020
New costs related to the COVID-19 crisis and lower revenues due to the pandemic’s effect on cargo volumes are threatening the financial viability of ports across the United States.
24 Jul 2020
The real weaknesses COVID-19 exposed in supply chains have been a hollowing out of knowledge, experience, and relationships among companies and their logistics teams and a shift toward a procurement mindset focused on cutting costs.
24 Jul 2020
With global capacity unable to meet current demand, air cargo’s next challenge will be to find enough capacity to handle any massive rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.
23 Jul 2020
More door-to-door, less-than-truckload freight will add revenue and freight density to Forward Air’s airport-to-airport lanes and create new final-mile opportunities, the company’s CEO says.
23 Jul 2020
After wild swings in intermodal volume in the second quarter, CSX Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad are cautiously optimistic about peak season volumes, while realizing pandemic disruptions are lurking.
23 Jul 2020
The coronavirus impact on container demand cut Rotterdam throughput by more than half a million TEU in the first half of 2020, and the port is not expecting much improvement over the rest of the year.
22 Jul 2020
Building on a pilot paperless project launched in early June at selected locations, Indian Customs has made the transfer of export documentation via a single digital window mandatory across the country, effective this month.
22 Jul 2020
Pacific Northwest ports in the US and Canada are focusing on terminal expansion projects to prepare for what they hope will be a return to growth after the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
21 Jul 2020
Kuehne + Nagel believes its loss-making first half performance was still a “good result” considering the challenges created by drastic global measures to combat COVID-19.
20 Jul 2020
A bipartisan congressional commission questioned a $700 million US loan to YRC Worldwide, but its ability to scuttle the loan is questionable.
17 Jul 2020
After carriers implemented three general rate increases between June 1 and July 1, spot rates on Friday in the eastbound trans-Pacific remained stable for the second consecutive week.
16 Jul 2020
The continuing surge in COVID-19 cases acts as an anchor on the economic recovery and could turn a U-shaped recovery into a W-shaped one, IHS Markit’s chief economist warns.
15 Jul 2020
Capital spending cutbacks in the oil and gas sector foreshadow a painful lack of project cargo logistics providers, but the industry could also benefit from the trillions of dollars expected in stimulus spending during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
14 Jul 2020
Truck turn times in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to improve, but truckers seek more timely information from carriers and terminals so they can further reduce visit times.
14 Jul 2020
Bangladesh’s maritime regulator implemented the quarantine in February just as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began spreading globally.
13 Jul 2020
Roughly 90 percent of carriers in the highly fragmented US drayage sector generate less than $4 million in annual revenue, and these smaller providers could be at risk of bankruptcy due to skyrocketing insurance premiums.
13 Jul 2020
US land-based heavy transport has largely been able to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to its designation as an essential service, but like other parts of the project supply chain, the sector could see waning demand as the oil and gas industry pulls back on capital expenditures.
13 Jul 2020
Multi-billion-dollar impairments recently announced by oil majors like Shell and BP provide a glimpse of the potentially seismic changes taking place in the global energy market, a critical source of project cargo.
10 Jul 2020
With COVID-19 flare-ups endangering reopenings across the country, the road to recovery for US shippers and transportation providers will likely look more like a mountain switchback than a sharp incline.
09 Jul 2020
Imports from Asia and China rebounded in June as a number of US retailers reopened, but consumer demand could pull back later this summer if stores are forced to close again due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Commentary

With so many products currently subject to Trump administration tariffs, a huge portion of entries from China will not be eligible for CBP's recently announced COVID-19-related duty deferral program.

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