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.


Worldwide air cargo traffic volumes up 21% in March

Air cargo traffic in March showed year-on-year (YoY) worldwide growth of 21%, the corresponding month of last year having been significantly impacted by COVID-19, according to the latest analysis by WorldACD.

“To make any sense of this percentage (increase), we need to revisit the detailed results for March 2020,” the market data specialist said, underlining that the first and second hal of the month in question had displayed the sharpest of contrasts “in air cargo living memory.”

To bear this out, the YoY growth in the period 1-15, March, 2021, stood at -0.2%, whereas in the second half of the month  it was +44%, “a clear reminder that the first lockdown started to bite air cargo by mid-March 2020,” WorldACD observed.

“As the cautious recovery of early 2021 (+1.1% YoY for the first two months) was halted in the first half of March (-0.2% YoY), the question arises whether the second half reversed the trend again.”


Retailers clamor for limited industrial space near major US seaports in an attempt to mitigate future supply chain disruptions

Industrial markets at major U.S. port cities have come under additional strain from big increases in U.S. imports, fueling demand for warehouse space in markets with already scant availability, according to a new report from CBRE.

This increase in imports, which amounts to double-digit percentage gains from year-ago levels in many markets, has resulted from retailers seeking to bolster their inventories in the wake of pandemic-related demand and global supply chain shocks like the recent blockage of the Suez Canal.
West Coast ports such as Long Beach and Los Angeles have seen the biggest surge, with year-to-date loaded imports increasing 32.1 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively. On the East Coast, Savannah (17.7%), Port of Virginia (16.8%) and New York and New Jersey (13.2%) have all seen significant increases as well.


‘Chaotic’ supply chain pushed up supplier prices: MSC

Dive Brief:

  • Recent delays in the “chaotic” global supply chain contributed to MSC Industrial raising costs last month in response to its suppliers’ increases, the company said on a Q2 earnings call.
  • Port congestion, severe weather and COVID-19 disruptions have impacted product availability as demand has picked up, which contributed to shortages, MSC leadership explained. “What’s happening is there’s a lot of product scarcity and that’s beginning to lead to significant inflation,” said MSC CEO Erik Gershwind.
  • Typically, the company would anticipate another price increase during the summer, based on suppliers marking their prices up. But if cost inflations go up quickly, MSC said it could foresee its prices going up again even sooner.