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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Monday, January 17, 2022

Industry

Supply Chain Woes Could Worsen as China Imposes New Covid Lockdowns

The New York Times Ana Swanson And Keith Bradsher January 16, 2022

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Companies are bracing for another round of potentially debilitating supply chain disruptions as China, home to about a third of global manufacturing, imposes sweeping lockdowns in an attempt to keep the Omicron variant at bay.
The measures have already confined tens of millions of people to their homes in several Chinese cities and contributed to a suspension of connecting flights through Hong Kong from much of the world for the next month. At least 20 million people, or about 1.5 percent of China’s population, are in lockdown, mostly in the city of Xi’an in western China and in Henan Province in north-central China.

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Omicron fallout and tough labor talks likely to rattle supply chains and fuel inflation

Washington Post David. J. Lynch January 15, 2022

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Freight is taking longer than ever to cross the Pacific, with goods requiring an average of 113 days to travel from Chinese factory gates to American hands, according to data from Flexport, a freight forwarder. On Friday, the floating traffic jam of container ships waiting to enter the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach numbered a near-record 106 vessels, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a nonprofit maritime group.

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Outlook 2022: Preventing the next supply chain meltdown

The Journal Of Commerce Larry Gross January 14, 2022

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One obvious response would be to increase the throughput of the terminals. This can be accomplished through many actions, such as increasing hours/days of operation, using peel-off stacks and other streamlining techniques, automation, and so forth.
But another, equally important approach is to proactively limit the quantities of boxes to be worked to what the terminal can efficiently handle per day. This may result in short-term waits for vessels, but by keeping the terminal fluid, overall cargo flow is enhanced and total throughput is increased.
Of course, every container requires a chassis, and if there were still any doubts about the dysfunctional aspects of the current marine chassis system, hopefully the crisis has dispelled them. Anachronisms such as box rules create artificial complexity and constitute a heavy burden for drayage carriers already facing severe challenges.

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Shippers/3PLs

Retail sales finish 2021 on solid footing, reports Commerce and NRF

Logistics Management January 14, 2022

United States retail sales ended 2021 with a sequential decline and an annual gain, while holiday season retail sales, for the months of November and December, were very strong, according to data respectively issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Commerce reported that December retail sales—at $626.8 billion—were off 1.9% compared to November, while seeing a 16.9% annual increase. And it noted that total retail sales, for all of 2021, saw a 19.3% annual gain, and retail sales, from October through December, rose 17.1% annually.

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Manufacturers Are Embracing DIY Supply Chain

Bloomberg Brooke Sutherland January 14, 2022

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Faced with rising inflation and a global supply chain that’s more akin to a game of Whac-A-Mole than an actual chain, companies are reaching for control where they can find it. For some, this has meant investing in more data tracking to get better visibility. There’s been a lot of debate about whether the pandemic disruptions and shipping logjams will inspire companies to shift manufacturing work closer to the developed-market end user — and there is some evidence that’s happening. But a growing number of companies are also deciding that if they want something done right in their supply chain, they might have to do it themselves.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

DOT Dedicates $27 Billion to Bridge Repairs Nationwide

Transport Topics Noel Fletcher January 14, 2022

The goal is to repair 15,000 bridges nationwide.
“Every state has bridges in poor condition and in need of repair, including bridges with weight restrictions that may force lengthy detours for travelers, school buses, first-responders or trucks carrying freight,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack .
During the 2022 fiscal year, $165 million will be allocated to tribes and $5.3 billion for the states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

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DOT, DOL Expand Trucking Apprenticeships, Add Driver Boards

Truckinginfo.com January 14, 2022

Expansion of the Registered Apprenticeship Accelerator
The DOT and DOL launched the 90 Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge to accelerate the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships to help employers and organized labor partners develop and retain a skilled workforce. Since the launch of the challenge 30 days ago, more than 100 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to expand Registered Apprenticeships.
More than 20 employers are close to launching new apprenticeships, which will put thousands of new drivers on the road in trucking jobs trained using the ‘earn while you learn’ Registered Apprenticeship model, U.S. DOT officials said in a press release.
Over the next 60 days the DOT, DOL, and industry partners will continue to host informational meetings and work with employers, industry groups and labor organizations to further support the development of these apprenticeships.

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Regulations, costs dissuade truck carriers from hauling in the Northeast

Transport Dive Jim Stinson January 14, 2022

A stack of Northeast problems
It isn't just the business environment that dissuades carriers from hauling in the Northeast. The regular seasonal environment dumps ice and snow on the roads. Congested traffic pervades Boston, New York City and New Jersey.
Online, truckers will readily share other problems that seem unique to or especially intense in the region: low clearances, narrow roads and tolls — lots of tolls. Carriers often get charged more to ship things into New England or New York because the region does not have much to offer trucks on the way back, creating empty miles.
Now comes a growing regulatory environment in which state governments in the Northeast have been accused of using trucking as a targeted revenue source for dwindling coffers.

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5 burning questions: Vaccine mandates for cross-border trucking

Freight Waves Nata Tabak January 15, 2022

2. How many drivers are expected to drop out of U.S.-Canada cross-border trucking?
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Associations have projected that 26,000 of 160,000, or a little over 16%, drivers will no longer cross the border because of the mandates. Around 75% of the freight hauled between the countries is handled by Canadian drivers. Meanwhile, about 88% of Canadians over 12 are fully vaccinated. As CTA President Steve Laskowski pointed out, “We have a high vaccination rate. But even at 10% to 15%, that’s a lot of trucks.”

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Technology/Innovation

Waymo, J.B. Hunt Sign Deal for Self-Driving Trucks in Texas

Bloomberg Mark Bergen January 14, 2022

Robot big rigs with Waymo technology will start commercial trips “in the next few years,” the companies said in a statement Friday, without offering specific dates or financial terms. Waymo also agreed to work on integrations with J.B. Hunt’s freight management service.

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