The Pandemic Made Manufacturing Stronger

One year into the pandemic, the manufacturing industry has undergone significant disruption and transformation. For a sector that works primarily on-site in physical spaces, the workflow and production changes were abrupt and highly impactful. Leaning on technology, adapting quickly to new demands and supply chain restrictions, and adopting contactless safety processes—all while maintaining productivity and manufacturing essential items to fight COVID-19—were enormous challenges to overcome.

How shipping giant MSC reacted to billion-dollar cocaine bust

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) — which recently surpassed Maersk to become the world’s largest ocean carrier — confirmed it “suffered significant financial and reputational damage” from the record-breaking drug bust aboard its ship, the MSC Gayane, in 2019.

MSC detailed the extent of the consequences in a newly filed court document — consequences that include over $100 million in additional security costs. “The company and everyone in it are victims,” MSC wrote in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III.

Stranger than fiction

The MSC Gayane drug-smuggling case calls to mind a quote from Mark Twain: “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

The ship at the center of the story was new, very large and very expensive. It was built in 2018, with a capacity of 11,600 twenty-foot equivalent units, valued at around $90 million, owned by an entity affiliated with JP Morgan and leased by MSC.

When U.S. authorities swarmed the ship in Philadelphia on June 17, 2019, they found almost 20 tons of cocaine worth over $1 billion hidden in seven shipping containers. That’s the same weight in cocaine as three adult male African elephants.

Of the ship’s crew of just over 20, at least eight — around a third of the crew — were involved in the drug ring, according to prosecutors. Four crew members from Montenegro led the operation, taking jobs on the ship with the intent to smuggle cocaine. They recruited at least four other crew members.

How shipping giant MSC reacted to billion-dollar cocaine bust

Savannah leads US ports in expansion drive to beat congestion

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has shifted up a gear in its efforts to boost capacity.

Prompted by delays at Savannah, the authority has added $100m to its capital expenditure budget, bringing its spend on capacity expansion this year to $205m.

By the end of the year, GPA wants capacity to handle an additional 650,000 teu a year, an increase of 20% at Savannah.

The expansion is needed because of a surge in throughput that is expected to continue, said GPA chairman Will McKnight, and according to CEO Griff Lynch, Savannah has been handling volumes not expected until 2025.

Half of Consumers Changed Spending Habits That Will Remain Past Pandemic

One in two consumers globally has had their consumption habits permanently changed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and that will be permanent, according to a study released by Alix Partners.

AlixPartners polled more than 7,000 consumers across nine countries—China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and found that 48% on average say the pandemic has altered their buying behaviors permanently. That finding ranged from 40% of consumers in Saudi Arabia to 60% in Japan, with 43% of consumers in the U.S. saying so. Meanwhile, the firm’s new lens on segmentation analyses changing consumer priorities in 15 consumer-facing sectors—ranging from groceries to household products, from clothing to home furnishings, from restaurants to travel and leisure, and beyond.