As much as we are seeing bad news and difficult stories, there are positive signs that recovery is beginning in China and should follow across the supply-chain as more disruption is settled and cargo begins moving. For the first time since early February, China saw an increase in exports to the US beginning the second week of March. While there are still impediments to the complete recovery, repositioning efforts, air freight solutions and time can work together to keep cargo moving steadily where everyone needs it most.
After almost a month, the second week of March saw an increase in shipments by 45% according to customs information. International loaded rail saw a jump of 64%, a solid indicator that more cargo is finally moving in the US as these containers are loaded directly from ships onto trains, which is a faster economic measure of the state of US imports. While pandemic social behavior, including hoarding and store-emptying panic buying has caused a lull in supplies, there’s been a boost in domestic trucking as shippers race to get store shelves stocked to keep communities safe during “shelter-in-place” and other quarantine restrictions.
Because equipment scarcity is a big problem for ocean freight shippers, MSC has deployed MSC MIA, a 23,000 TEU vessel instead of smaller ships to pick up cargo from Asia and empty containers to be repositioned where they’re needed. Though the larger vessels can lead to increased wait times for truckers, the extra cargo will improve the shipping timeline as more containers can be filled and returned. Air freight capacity will be supplemented by passenger airlines that deploy aircraft with no passengers, only belly cargo. Belly space is a critical part of air capacity and as travel restrictions remain in place the all freight airlines can’t keep up with demand.
We’re thrilled to be reporting a light at the end of the tunnel. While we can’t predict the future, signs point to a slow, steady recovery for our industry. We at Edward J. Zarach & Associates are still working to ensure your cargo is moving the fastest and most efficient way possible. We pay close attention to how the numbers look to keep you abreast of the coming logistics issues and hopefully we can help you plan for unforeseen circumstances far enough in advance to prevent delays. If you’d like to talk about some creative solutions to your cargo concerns, reach out to your Zarach representative today for a chat. We hope it’s okay that we meet by video, just for now.