What We're Reading: Trendwatch Week 8

Your weekly update for the latest trends and news from the supply chain world. 

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US-China trade talks resume in Washington

February 19, 2019 - "Deputy-level meetings" begin Tuesday, the White House said, led by Deputy United States Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish. The U.S. will hold "principal-level meetings" starting Thursday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead those talks, which will also include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


May seeks backstop breakthrough as Brexit deadline looms

February 20, 2019 - U.K. and European officials are working on a new legal text for the contentious Irish border backstop. But time is running out for Theresa May to unite Parliament behind her deal, amid rumors that more politicians could split away from both main political parties. Business Minister Richard Harrington just voiced what many ministers have opined privately: that May risks losing control of the Brexit process if she can’t get her deal through Parliament. He started off on message, saying, “I think that the prime minister’s deal will get through.’’

Source: American Journal of Transportation


Merkel wants antitrust rules changed to foster global players

February 20, 2019 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued her campaign to get European Union antitrust rules changed so that companies in the region can better compete with global giants in the U.S. and China. The EU’s increasingly tough merger reviews frequently target German firms, frustrating Merkel and her domestic and European allies who want to see companies from the continent leading the way in sectors from technology and telecommunications to transport and aerospace.

Source: American Journal of Transportation

World trade growth slowing

February 19, 2019 - The World Trade Organization (WTO) expects slower trade growth this year. The weakness is likely to extend into the first quarter of 2019, according to the WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator released on February 19. The most recent WTOI reading of 96.3 is the weakest since March 2010 and below the baseline value of 100 for the index, signaling below-trend trade expansion into the first quarter. 

Source: World Maritime News

East-west tradelane starts to fly as Africa opens up to new global markets

February 20, 2019 - A new east-west tradelane is beginning to flourish, and could eventually overtake the traditional north-south route between Africa and Europe. The growing influence of China in Africa, coupled with the proximity and connectivity of the Middle East and strong trade links with Brazil, could see Europe increasingly bypassed.

Source: The Loadstar


Elbe deepening now crucial as throughput at port of Hamburg is still falling

February 19, 2019 - Container throughput at the port of Hamburg declined for the second consecutive year in 2018. The port’s throughput was down to 8.73m teu, adding urgency to the completion of the long-awaited deepening and widening programme in the river Elbe. Although this represents a marginal 1% year-on-year fall in containers handled at Hamburg’s box terminals, it has to be read in context with the strong growth achieved at rival North European hubs Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Source: The Loadstar

Import wave jams California warehouses

February 17, 2019 - A steady wave of imports into Southern California’s ports, driven by a robust U.S. economy and companies trying to get goods moving ahead of potential tariffs, has the region’s warehouses and shipping terminals overstuffed and distribution networks jammed. U.S. businesses have been pulling shipments forward ahead of expected tariff increases and China’s Lunar New Year holiday, when the nation’s factories shut down for several weeks. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal