The Friday Report: April 30th, 2021

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Are 24/7 Operations on the Horizon for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach?

With West Coast ports faced with congestion stalling operations at multiple points for incoming cargo, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are starting to consider moving to 24/7 operations.  The obstacles of the global pandemic, escalation of US consumer demand and challenges for ships remaining in the ocean for 10 or more days before being unloaded has resulted in disruption and risk across the supply chain.

With port terminals backed up, containers are forced to wait longer for rail pickup, increasing costly dwell time.  Roughly one third of the inbound cargo in ports local to this area are picked up by rail to be transported to other areas a significant distance away.  Rail dwell time has increased from 8 days in January to 8.6 days in February to 11 days in March.  Numerous factors including inclement weather, and the rapid cycle of back-to-back ship calls has impacted rail transport timetables for the past few months.

New technologies including more robust tracking systems for cargo and data sharing systems are being implemented at the two ports.  BNSF has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into its rail hubs. Other more dramatic changes are being considered. 

Consideration of transitioning to 24/7 port operations would directly affect other aspects of the supply chain including truck drivers, warehouses, rail lines, retailers and more.  This would require that other businesses across the supply chain invest to expand their operations as well.

For more information, please continue reading here.

Plastics Shortage Impacts Multiple Industries

Recently, the CEO of Resilinc, Bindiya Vakil announced that specific raw materials used in the production of plastics are in short supply.  The shortage has already led to the idling of factories, significant increase in prices and production delays ranging across multiple industries.

Approximately 100 critical chemicals and derivatives used in the production of plastics are processed in Texas.  These components of plastics are used in a wide range of industries and products.  The massive shutdown in Texas in February has caused a chain reaction across the supply chain that is anticipated to require over six months to correct.

For more information, please continue reading here.

Amazon Union Averted by Alabama Workers

Employee appreciation for Amazon’s higher rate of pay, incentives and health insurance that begins on the first day of employment were some of the reasons that Alabama Amazon workers rebuffed unionization 71% to 29%. 

Additionally, many workers polled indicated a lack of trust for unions. Some workers were unwilling to risk the salary and benefits they already had for potential future improvements.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) continues to press its case for unionization and has raised allegations of illegal conduct by Amazon which they say prevented a “free and fair” vote.

For more information, please continue reading here.

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