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

26 Oct 2020
Although economic forecasts point to a possible weakening in consumer demand, carriers are expected to continue the capacity management discipline they have displayed all year to prevent rate destruction in the trans-Pacific trades
28 Sep 2020
Rising local trucking employment in the US and higher pricing highlights a shifting balance in transportation networks accelerated by double-digit growth in e-commerce sales.
28 Sep 2020
The scale of peak season demand for air cargo on the trades out of Asia is becoming clearer, and has forwarders scrambling to lock in capacity.
25 Sep 2020
Having exhausted the space allotments in their annual contracts, retailers and other importers are signing short-term contracts to secure capacity at Asian load ports. This is pushing short-term contract rates higher.
25 Sep 2020
A long-awaited recovery in the trans-Atlantic trade appears to be underway with a steep increase in US import volume from Europe for some previously hard-hit commodities.
24 Sep 2020
US shippers are returning to the ‘shipper of choice’ model as a peak season unlike any other looms ahead, trucking executives told the virtual CSCMP 2020 Edge conference this week.
24 Sep 2020
According to Drewry's container freight rate index, some spot pricing from China to the US West Coast surpassed $4,000 per FEU this week, a psychological barrier that appeared to be insurmountable just last week due to admonitions from regulators in China and the US about aggressive carrier pricing.
23 Sep 2020
Speaking at the virtual 2020 CSCMP Edge conference, Target’s Arthur L Valdez, Jr., forecasts a reinvention of retailing based on logistics and increasingly precise and rapid transportation.
23 Sep 2020
To mitigate sudden increases in demand for last-mile capacity and high peak season parcel surcharges, US retailers are extending sales promotions through the holiday season.
22 Sep 2020
Equipment providers and terminal operators say excessive container and chassis dwell times at import warehouses in Southern California are the main culprit in recent congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
22 Sep 2020
A new service from C.H. Robinson could replace the annual truckload bidding process with a more dynamic approach to procuring trucks and increasing savings across networks of freight lanes.
22 Sep 2020
Congestion at the UK’s busiest port has prompted CMA CGM to impose a surcharge on all Asian imports and exports through the gateway.
18 Sep 2020
Amidst confusion involving blank sailings, extra-loaders, and announcements this past week by government regulatory agencies in Beijing and Washington, spot rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific continued to climb higher.
18 Sep 2020
The Port of Virginia’s Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal has resumed Saturday gate hours through Nov. 21 after suspending weekend service in mid-March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
18 Sep 2020
As container volume has picked up, trucking and logistics executives say that CSX’s domestic intermodal service has become unreliable in two key southeast US rail ramps.
18 Sep 2020
As rates hit record levels on the trans-Pacific, the trade is an irresistible magnet for carriers, leaving forwarders in Asia struggling to find boxes as all equipment flows towards China’s export hubs.
18 Sep 2020
The UK’s busiest container port is being overwhelmed by peak season volume, staff shortages, and problems with its truck booking system, with forwarders feeling the effects of a ban on empty container drop-offs.
17 Sep 2020
The US FMC said it is closely monitoring capacity and pricing conditions in the eastbound trans-Pacific, but is not yet ready to launch a fact-finding investigation or petition for legal action.
17 Sep 2020
A new integrated distribution center just outside Hagerstown, Maryland, will position regional LTL carrier A. Duie Pyle for greater growth in Virginia and along the I-70 and I-81 corridors as freight demand approaches 2019 levels.
17 Sep 2020
Container volume in Savannah set a new monthly record in August, a result port officials didn’t anticipate but attribute to US consumer demand for online shopping and home improvement goods.
16 Sep 2020
The momentum that has built in major economies since the COVID-19 lockdowns ended is behind an increase in factory activity.
15 Sep 2020
The suspension and weakening of general rate increases comes after Chinese regulators on Friday encouraged major container lines to add capacity and be less aggressive in raising their rates as US imports from Asia continue to rise.
15 Sep 2020
US producer price indexes for August showed a marked jump in local trucking costs, likely due to increased demand for service between ports, warehouses, and distribution and fulfillment centers as e-commerce demand spurred imports.
15 Sep 2020
Strong demand for containerized imports in the US and Europe through the third quarter peak season is limiting the availability of equipment in Asia that is urgently needed to serve the fast-rising volume.
11 Sep 2020
The surge in domestic intermodal has spread from Los Angeles to Oakland-Lathrop and Union Pacific will raise surcharges on shippers to ensure equipment is available for core customers.
11 Sep 2020
Container shipping demand on the Asia-Europe trade is at 2019 levels, with forwarders and carriers expecting the strong demand to be maintained.
10 Sep 2020
Contract truck rates are rising because shippers are struggling to find available capacity and asking carriers what it will take to get their freight moving.
09 Sep 2020
In just one month’s time, retailers have gone from a pessimistic peak-season outlook to a forecast of better-than-expected imports this fall.
09 Sep 2020
Demand for rail services between China and Europe has risen sharply since COVID-19 slashed air and ocean capacity, with bottlenecks developing at key border crossings.
08 Sep 2020
US import growth from Asia and China accelerated in August after a strong July, driven by e-commerce merchandise and PPE supplies.
08 Sep 2020
Intense preparations are underway among logistics and air transport providers to ensure a coronavirus vaccine can be distributed around the world as soon as it is available.
08 Sep 2020
Container volume on the Asia–Europe trade has been steadily improving since the COVID-19 lockdowns of April and May, and in July it finally moved into positive growth territory.
07 Sep 2020
Air cargo volume continues to narrow the gap with year over year levels, with rates rising at the end of August as both freight tonnage and capacity increased.
04 Sep 2020
A steady stream of extra-loader vessels in the trans-Pacific have failed to blunt the steady increase in spot rates.
04 Sep 2020
Container shortages in Asia are reaching a crisis level as carriers are desperate to secure sufficient equipment to satisfy US import needs for the upcoming peak shipping season.
03 Sep 2020
The flood of imports to Los Angeles and Long Beach this summer is squeezing truckload and LTL capacity on inland truck routes, more than doubling spot rates to Chicago, as intermodal capacity and e-commerce deadlines remain tight.

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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