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

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.
09 Jul 2020
For so-called black swan events such as COVID-19, there’s little chance that logistics managers will have had the foresight to have a traditional plan ready for a pandemic or disruption caused by an unexpected natural disaster.
08 Jul 2020
Despite a slightly improved forecast for US imports, retailers are being conservative in their purchase orders with Asian factories, pointing to a dismal peak shipping season compared to recent years.
08 Jul 2020
London-based digital cargo insurer Loadsure partners with Chicago-based Transship to more fully automate refrigerated containerized exports.
08 Jul 2020
Antwerp shrugged off the demand-cutting impact of Europe’s COVID-19 lockdowns, reporting a small, though unexpected, gain in first-half volumes.
07 Jul 2020
A large chunk of the US trucking sector is riding on Payroll Protection Program loans, which likely averted a capacity crunch in June and may still be shielding shippers this fall.
07 Jul 2020
Intermodal shippers are increasingly putting pressure on 3PLs to waive container fees as a precondition for business amid the coronavirus-linked recession.
06 Jul 2020
Shippers are rethinking both long-term and short-term truckload contracting and pricing strategies as freight levels rise from spring’s recessionary lows.
06 Jul 2020
Freight forwarders say they have reduced payment deadlines to 30 days, with some firms only accepting up-front payment for new shipper customers even if they pass credit checks.
06 Jul 2020
The pandemic has shown how adaptable carriers’ land-based employees are in a time of crisis, but switching a large part of the operation to home offices almost immediately also means the underlying systems are getting closer to automation.
03 Jul 2020
Forwarders tell JOC.com that with GRIs, peak-season surcharges (PSSs) and bunker-fuel adjustments all taking effect this week, freight rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific vary from shipper to shipper.
03 Jul 2020
There were encouraging signs for air cargo in June, but uncertainty over demand patterns and available capacity is clouding the industry outlook through the summer.
03 Jul 2020
Europe’s recovering economies are generating increasing demand for Asian imports and keeping rates up and container shipping space tight.
02 Jul 2020
The US government’s $700 million loan to YRC Worldwide guarantees LTL stability in an uncertain economy.
02 Jul 2020
US retailers in May stepped up their imports from China, as factories there were better prepared to increase production than factories in Southeast Asia.
01 Jul 2020
Forwarders in the container supply chain are keeping a close eye on rising demand from European shippers, as carriers try to balance capacity with rising volume.
30 Jun 2020
Retailers and forwarders say July 1 general rate increases (GRIs) could send spot container freight rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific to record levels.
29 Jun 2020
The IMF has cut further its already gloomy economic growth outlook for Europe and North America, as carriers make further capacity adjustments on the trans-Atlantic trade.
29 Jun 2020
A renewed push to reduce port stay times, driven by larger decarbonization goals, represents a rare scenario in which carriers, terminal operators, and cargo owners could all benefit.
26 Jun 2020
High-growth retailers have a better sense of their deficiencies in transportation management and other supply chain components than their low-growth peers, a new study has found.
25 Jun 2020
NVO market share of US imports from Asia increases as dozens of blank sailings push cargo owners to seek capacity their core carriers are not providing to them.
25 Jun 2020
In the face of COVID-19, logistics contracting should carefully define the events that trigger the application of force majeure remedies.
25 Jun 2020
Carriers are more united than ever in matching capacity with demand as they keep firmly focused on their bottom line, says DHL Global Forwarding.
25 Jun 2020
Spot rates have jumped more than 40 percent in the last four weeks for shippers using rail-owned boxes out of Los Angeles due to an equipment shortage in Southern California unseen since 2018.
24 Jun 2020
Mexican businesses and their US and Canadian partners are focused on rebuilding supply chains shattered by COVID-19 and the recession, but they shouldn’t forget USMCA.
24 Jun 2020
Shippers split between those growing during recession and those struggling need to focus on long-term supply-chain improvements to reduce costs, rather than short-term rate cuts.
24 Jun 2020
Carriers are shaking off some of their pessimism for this year, with more rosy outlooks and improved expectations emerging as the demand-challenged second quarter draws to a close.
23 Jun 2020
The pandemic-inspired shift to online shopping will have lasting effects on shippers’ transportation choices, according to the CSCMP State of Logistics Report.
23 Jun 2020
While the urgent demand for medical supplies is waning and air freight rates are coming off record highs in May, market fundamentals are likely to keep prices above last year’s levels.
22 Jun 2020
Carriers’ container volumes in the US-Asia trades declined in the first four months of 2020 and are expected to remain below last year’s volumes through the peak season.
22 Jun 2020
Carriers should end the year in the black despite the impact of COVID-19 on volumes, believes Sea-Intelligence, provided the capacity discipline shown so far continues and they avoid chasing market share.
19 Jun 2020
Despite seeing record turn times in Los Angeles-Long Beach, truckers say they are struggling with operational inefficiencies caused by more than 60 blank sailings this year.
19 Jun 2020
Disciplined capacity management and price increases are strengthening the Asia-Europe spot market, lifting rates on both westbound and eastbound routes well above last year’s levels.
18 Jun 2020
Payroll Protection Program loans could keep struggling small trucking companies in business, and prevent a truck capacity crunch shippers fear — if enough carriers apply for them.
18 Jun 2020
Softening demand for medical supplies as some countries build inventory and get on top of coronavirus infections has reduced the urgency of shipments and cut air cargo rates in half since mid-May.
18 Jun 2020
The automotive restart has encountered headwinds, as uneven timings of plant re-openings have created trade imbalances and factories have reduced their production capacities due to a lack of access to parts, while consumer demand remains a key unknown.

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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