What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 32

Beirut blast: Tracing the explosives that tore the capital apart

It was only after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut that most people in Lebanon learned about the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a hangar at the city's port.

The detonation of the material - used in bombs and fertilisers - sent shockwaves through the Lebanese capital, killing scores of people, injuring thousands, and leaving much of the city a mangled mess.

In the explosion's devastating aftermath, many Lebanese are expressing immense shock and sadness at the destruction, and great anger towards those who allowed this to happen.

Source: Al Jazeera


U.S., China plan to review phase-one trade deal mid-month 

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are planning to assess the nations’ trade agreement this month against a backdrop of rising tensions between the countries, according to people briefed on the matter. 

The discussion on the so-called phase-one deal, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, would take place on or around Aug. 15, six months after the agreement took effect, as directed in the text of the accord, the people said. 

The White House declined to comment, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The planned talks were reported earlier Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal. 

Source: AJOT


Tracking US manufacturers’ shift toward PPE during the coronavirus pandemic 

As the pandemic began to affect every aspect of life and business in the U.S. in March, supply chains came into national focus. Health systems and governments knew they needed robust, resilient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chains to successfully defeat the virus. But, with most essential supplies produced outside of the U.S., supply disruptions, policy changes and freight snarls threatened U.S. institutions’ ability to successfully procure PPE in a timely manner. 

U.S. manufacturers responded by launching production lines or repurposing existing ones, citing a variety of motivations. Some said it was for the good of the fight against the virus. Some said they wanted to gain “essential” status in order to keep machines humming and staff employed. Some saw the market opportunity in insatiable demand and a new U.S. mindset of preparedness that may last beyond the current threat. From publicly traded tech giants to independent contract sewers, they dove into new processes, new products and new skills. 

Source: Supply Chain Dive


Post-Brexit planning brings in threat of personal fines for 'not-ready' hauliers

Despite pledges of less bureaucracy and frictionless trade with the EU after the Brexit transition period ends in January, the UK government has admitted there is likely to be disruption and additional red tape.

It has given the industry less than three weeks to consult on “plans both to minimise the risk of disruption and to mitigate its impact”.

These include putting the onus on truck drivers, who will face a personal fine if they are not “border-ready”, and re-introducing Operation Brock, which attempted to mitigate disruption on local roads.

Source: The Loadstar


Qantas shuts Melbourne airport facility as government tightens COVID lockdown

Australian airline Qantas has suspended operations at its Melbourne airport freight facility even though the state of Victoria has exempted airports, ports and logistics providers from a partial lockdown order designed to contain a major COVID-19 outbreak.

Qantas Airways said it was advised by the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services to temporarily shut down its Melbourne warehouse, suggesting authorities have discovered positive cases among workers there. The notice on the Qantas Freight website did not provide any further details.

Terminals will remain closed until at least midnight Aug. 5 and freight can’t be dropped or collected at either of its two locations.

Source: FreightWaves