What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 35

Port night

Montreal dockers return to work

Striking longshoremen in the Canadian port of Montreal have agreed to return to work from 7am on Monday 24 August, local time, following a two-week strike that has seen millions of dollars’ worth of cargo stranded on the quay or unable to land at the port.

Following the intervention of the federal government and the agreement by both the union, the International Longshoremen’s Union 375 (CUPE), representing 1,125 dockers, and the Maritime Employer’s Association (MEA), the two sides have agreed a seven month truce that will, it is hoped, lead to a new collective bargaining agreement by March 2021.

Source: Container News

 

Hurricane Laura strengthens to Category 4

Hurricane Laura is rapidly strengthening and is poised to strike the upper Texas coast and western Louisiana with a ferocity that has not been seen in this region in more than a decade.

Depending on the timing of the storm, Laura may strike near high tide, inundating coastal areas of western Louisiana to the Texas border under between 15 to 20 feet of water. The Hurricane Center warned of an “unsurvivable” surge with “large and destructive waves” and that areas up to 30 miles inland could be inundated.

Laura is also likely to unleash a narrow swath of destructive winds of more than 120 mph near where it makes landfall, and hurricane-force winds could charge well inland Thursday morning.

As a reminder, all Port Houston terminals will remain closed Wednesday, August 26, 2020 and Thursday, August 27, 2020, subject to change.

BDP teams continue to operate under a Business Continuity Plan to ensure employee safety, already in place as a result of COVID-19. We are closely monitoring Hurricane Laura and will continue to share updates. 

Sources: The Washington Post, Port of Houston

 

Corona pandemic reduces seaborne cargo throughput in Port of Hamburg

Only too evident worldwide, the negative repercussions of the Corona pandemic are also affecting the throughput trend in Germany’s largest universal port. In the first six months of the year, for instance, seaborne cargoes loaded/discharged at its terminals totalled just 61.2 million tons.

That represents a twelve percent downturn. Both the main elements of throughput were hit, being well down on last year’s excellent figures. General cargo handling was 12.2 percent lower at 42.5 million tons, bulk cargo handling 11.7 percent down at 18.7 million tons. In the container handling segment, a total of 4.1 million TEU – 20-ft standard containers – were shifted across the quaywalls, a 12.4 percent fall on the previous year.

Source: AJOT

 

US, China signal progress on trade deal as relations fray

The U.S. and China reaffirmed their commitment to the phase-one trade deal in a biannual review, demonstrating a willingness to cooperate even as tensions rise over issues ranging from data security to democracy in Hong Kong.

The two countries discussed steps China has taken, including ensuring greater protection for intellectual property rights and removing impediments to American companies in financial services and agriculture, the U.S. Trade Representative said. Both sides agreed to create conditions to push the deal forward, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Resolving the trade war between the U.S. and China has emerged as a rare area of cooperation as the relationship sours on a number of other fronts. Yet Beijing is far behind where it needs to be to meet its promises to increase purchases of agricultural, energy and manufactured goods from the U.S.

Source: AJOT

 

How COVID-19 is changing peak-season shipping expectations

In the world of logistics, getting ready for peak shipping season for air and ocean freight usually means researching, understanding and following historical demand patterns. But this year, uncertainty from COVID-19 is changing everything.

As one would expect, air and ocean services must adjust to higher demand during the peak shipping season. However, many sectors are experiencing unusual changes to typical supply and demand trends.

Some industries, such as healthcare and paper products, have seen higher demand than normal even in their busiest times of the year. Others, such as foodservice and retail, are struggling to survive amid lockdowns and social-distancing requirements. All of this makes for an unusual peak season, to say the least.

Source: Supply Chain Brain

 

Fear of another Beirut disaster is real says ICHCA

Terminal operators around the globe are reassessing their safety procedures following the Beirut explosion which killed around 200 people and injured more than 6,000, making many thousands more homeless.

The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) told Container News that it had completed a survey on port operations regarding the handling of containerised dangerous goods for a private client, so the results remain confidential, before the 4 August tragedy in Lebanon.

Richard Brough the head of ICHCA, said, “Large terminal operators take things seriously, but smaller terminal companies profess to have robust systems in place, but it’s not the case, another Tianjin is waiting to happen all over the world.”

Source: Container News

 

India, Japan, Australia keen to boost supply chain security by reducing reliance on China

Japan, India and Australia are moving towards a new trilateral effort to ensure global supply chains and reduce dependence on China in the event of another catastrophe like the coronavirus occurring in the future.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought to the fore the importance of diversification away from trade and supply chain dependence on China for many countries, particularly key partners like Japan, India and Australia.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry broached the idea with the Indian government around a month ago and informal talks have been ongoing, according to economists with knowledge of the discussions.

Source: South China Morning Post

 

COVID-19 pandemic sheds new light on the need for a supply chain logistics contingency plan

According to a recent survey from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), nearly 75% of companies report supply chain disruptions in some capacity due to coronavirus-related transportation restrictions.

Furthermore, 16% also report adjusting their revenue targets downward an average of 5.6% as a direct result of coronavirus.

“The story the data tells is that companies are faced with a lengthy recovery to normal operations in the wake of the virus outbreak,” said Thomas W. Derry, Chief Executive Officer of ISM.

Source: Supply Chain 24/7