Among Piers: Container record, terminal opening and COVID-19 vaccines

Port Houston

Container moves at Port Houston in March climbed 20% year-over-year — and set a monthly record.

Port Houston handled 297,397 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March compared to 248,840 TEUs in the same month last year. The March figure is the highest monthly total ever, surpassing the record set in October by 1,187 TEUs.

“We are seeing significant increases in cargo,” Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said in a statement this week. “As container demand surges across our docks, our terminals remain efficient and free of congestion to provide the best service levels to our customers.”

A winter storm that temporarily shut down the port in February has taken a toll on 2021 throughput. Container moves from Jan. 1 to March 31 totaled 751,199 TEUs, down 3% from 773,087 TEUs in the same period in 2020.

Among Piers: Container record, terminal opening and COVID-19 vaccines

Good news, bad news ‘and even worse news’ from congested Euro ports

The knock-on effects of the blockage of the Suez Canal is likely to impact North Europe supply chains until June.

Container hub ports that used the week-long lull from ship arrival delays to prepare their landside facilities for the box onslaught are now “full to the brim”, according to a carrier source.

Container lines have discharged Asian imports wherever they can to turn ships around in North Europe as quickly as possible and return vessels to Asia, where several weeks of full loads at highly inflated spot rates await.

Retail supply chains and consumers are at a crossroads with returns

Returns may be primed for change.

Returns have always played a part in retail operations, as companies strive to make them painless in the name of customer service. The pandemic has sped everything up, though, including e-commerce, which heavily contributed to the rate of returns last year. The National Retail Federation said consumers returned an estimated $428 billion in merchandise in 2020. That means for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer is incurring $106 million in merchandise returns.

Ports break records with off-peak import deluge in March

Dive Brief:

  • Ports across the country reported record-breaking numbers in March, as consumer spending drove demand for ocean shipping, according to recent numbers reported by ports.
  • The Port of Los Angeles’ import volume rose nearly 123% YoY in March to reach 490,115 TEUs — up almost 65% compared to the same month in 2019. The Port of Long Beach had its busiest month of all time in March, despite the month being “traditionally one of the slowest months on the shipping calendar,” the port said in a press release.
  • The Port of Los Angeles has averaged more than 900,000 TEUs over the last nine months. “This is what I meant by ‘March Madness,’ because I’ve not witnessed a sustained import surge of this magnitude in all my years in the industry,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said on a press call last week.

The secret of Taiwan’s Covid-19 success

Taiwan has been widely-applauded for its management of the pandemic, with one of the lowest per capita Covid-19 rates in the world and life on the island largely returning to normal.

Just 11 people have died from Covid-19 in Taiwan since the pandemic began, an impressive feat for a country that never went into lockdown.

At the start of the pandemic, Taiwan was considered a high-risk country due to its proximity to China and the frequent travel between the countries.

With a history of SARS in 2003, which was not considered to be handled particularly well, the Taiwanese government acted quickly to close its borders. It set up a Central Epidemic Command Centre on January 20 2020 to coordinate cooperation across different government ministries and agencies, and between government and businesses.

new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has examined further just why Taiwan did so well at conquering Covid-19. The study’s authors, from a range of health institutes and hospitals in Taiwan and the US, compared the estimated effectiveness of two types of Covid-19 policy in the early months of the pandemic: case-based and population-based measures.