Ocean freight recovering faster than expected

Container markets will likely continue to bounce back through the third and fourth quarters of this year and return to 2019 levels next year as the recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns continues, according to Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd. 

The Germany-based container line, now the world’s fifth largest container line by capacity, saw second quarter profits surge on higher freight volumes and lower fuel costs despite reporting year-on-year volume declines.

Speaking in a Q&A webinar earlier this week, Habben Jansen said carriers had benefitted from demand recovering quicker than idled capacity could be reintroduced.

“It was not quite as bad as we expected or feared,” he said. “We saw a very sharp decline of volumes, especially in the months of April and May. But we have seen quite a decent recovery when we look at the last six to eight weeks. Volumes are probably stronger than we all expected.”

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Source: Lloyd’s Loading List

Air freight heads towards volatile, busy peak season

Air freight forwarders and their customers can expect challenging conditions to continue for the rest of the year and into 2021, including a busy end-of-year peak season and a likely corresponding steep rise in prices, according to senior air freight managers at C.H. Robinson.

Outlining what customers can expect from air freight in the coming months, C.H. Robinson highlighted that the air freight market has been, and will remain, volatile, advising shippers they should expect it to “dynamically change from week to week”, with overall capacity on a year-over-year basis to remain reduced, as carriers continue to limit passenger capacity and retire fleets of older widebody aircraft.

Meanwhile, the US forwarder expects demand for air freight services to “remain strong, due to a combination of increased consumer purchasing, a resurgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE), and scheduled technology launches”, a trend that “will continue with the need to transport vaccines and associated medical devices, placing a heavy demand on air freight services”.

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Source: Lloyd’s Loading List

US has almost 6 million cases of coronavirus

Live version of coronavirus map

The United States neared six million coronavirus cases on Sunday, nearly a quarter of the planet’s total, as nations around the world battle to contain the raging pandemic.

Global coronavirus infections soared past 25 million, as countries tightened restrictions to halt the health crisis that has upended life for most of humanity.

One million additional cases have been detected globally roughly every four days since mid-July, according to an AFP tally, with India on Sunday setting the record for the highest single-day rise in cases with 78,761.

The world’s hardest hit country, the United States, had recorded 5.99 million cases of infection as of 0030 GMT Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. And the death toll is just over 183,000.

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Source: Asia Times

Employees Say They Will Work With Technology Not Be Replaced by It

Four out of five U.S. employees believe technology will change the way they do their job over the next three years.

According to a study from GlobalData, they see themselves working alongside technology, rather than being replaced by it.

Part of the reason for this belief is that respondents said that while technology can do some of the work, it can’t do all of it. Technology will augment workers’ abilities rather than cause them to lose their jobs.

When asked what technologies they thought would change the way they do their job over the next three years the results were:

  • Artificial intelligence at 37%
  • Collaboration tools such as Zoom 25%
  • Robotic process automation at 21%
  • Wearable tech 13%
  • AR at 4%

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Source: MH&L

A New Perspective on the Post-COVID Supply Chain

For decades, labor cost differences have been a primary influence in the continuous shift of manufacturing production from the U.S. to China. In 1980, the cost of labor in the U.S. was more than 30 times of that in China. As China became less agrarian and more of its population migrated to large cities to work in new factories, wages rose dramatically. By 2018, the U.S.-China wage gap had closed to only four times, rising approximately 200% in the U.S. but over 2,000% in China over nearly 40 years. Yet, despite the sharp rise in Chinese manufacturing wages over the last 20 years, offshoring continued. The U.S. manufacturing industry suffered, including millions of lost jobs, stagnant inflation-adjusted wages and a decline of the middle class.

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Source: MH&L