From ports to rail yards, global supply lines struggle amid virus outbreaks in the developing world

The new infections come as two of the largest U.S. railroads last week restricted shipments from West Coast seaports to Chicago, where a surge of shipping containers has clogged rail yards. Chronic shipping delays also are feeding inflation, just as consumers prepare to stock up for the coming school year. Spot shortages of clothing and footwear could appear within weeks, and popular toys may be scarce during the holiday season.

From ports to rail yards, global supply lines struggle amid virus outbreaks in the developing world

A Trucking Crisis Has the U.S. Looking for More Drivers Abroad

A shortage of truckers across the U.S. has become so severe that companies are trying to bring in drivers from abroad like seemingly never before.

Trucking has emerged as one of the most acute bottlenecks in a supply chain that has all but unraveled amid the pandemic, worsening supply shortages across industries, further fanning inflation and threatening a broader economic recovery. On top of the pandemic early retirements, last year’s lockdowns also made it harder for new drivers to access commercial-trucking schools and get licensed. Companies have offered higher wages, signing bonuses and increased benefits. So far, their efforts haven’t done enough to attract domestic workers to an industry with grueling hours, a difficult life-work balance and an entrenched boom-bust cycle.
In 2019, the U.S. was already short 60,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations. That number is anticipated to swell to 100,000 by 2023, according to Bob Costello, the group’s chief economist.
It’s summertime but there’s still congestion
With more businesses returning to normal and vaccinations continuing, consumer activity will likely remain elevated amid anticipated increases in foot traffic at retailers and restaurants. This could continue to lend support to North American intermodal volumes for the remainder of this year.
On the flip side, the supply chain across multiple transportation modes will continue to face intense pressure through 2021 as demand for goods and services grows amid capacity constraints.
Rail observers expect the backlog of containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to persist through the year. Although terminal fluidity and cycle times at busy U.S. ports are improving, the supply chain still needs better chassis utilization and more warehouse capacity to keep goods moving. Meanwhile, the Logistics Managers Index noted continued tightness in transportation capacity in May.

Beside, Sixteen of mainland China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions are rationing electricity as they race to meet Beijing’s annual emissions reduction targets.
The price of thermal coal, used for power generation, has been soaring all year and hit new highs in recent weeks

Post time: Oct-15-2021