The Friday Report Blog: December 16th, 2022

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

Bank of America to Invest in Supply Chains

Bank of America (BOA) has announced that the company will begin to heavily invest in supply chain financing as trade continues to be rocked by disruptions from COVID-19 restrictions in China and the Ukraine War.

The financial institution currently lends more than $30 billion per year through its Global Supply Chain Finance program to supply chains around the world. It has already doubled its investment into India’s supply chain. With its program, Bank of America hopes to form a vast network of buyers and suppliers in the supply chain ecosystem that can make the exchange of trade goods and information easier.

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Ocean Freight Carriers Reduce Shipping Capacity Amid Decline in Demand

Some of the largest ocean carriers in the world are planning to reduce their shipping capacity along Pacific and Asia-Europe trade lanes due to a reduction in demand. Maersk, Matson, and Zim have stated that customers are now diverting cargo away from the West Coast to Gulf Coast ports. In response, Maersk has already reduced their capacity along Pacific and Asia-Europe trade lanes by 15%.

Ocean carriers normally reduce capacity after the holiday peak season however retailers ordered their products during the summer months to mitigate delays. Experts believe this will result in up to a 20% reduction in shipping capacity during the winter months.

The reduction in ocean freight capacity will increase the number of blank sailings. Ocean carriers have already added 34 blank sailings on the Asia-North America West Coast trade lanes and 16 on the Asia-North America East Coast trade lanes.

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Los Angeles Railroad Theft Rings Arrested

A Los Angeles County task force comprised of 40 local and state authorities has dismantled two theft rings that made away with over $18 million worth of stolen merchandise. The theft rings targeted rail cars along Union Pacific tracks in Lincoln Heights, California. Formed in January 2022, the task force’s nearly years long investigation netted over 700 arrests and recovered several millions of dollars in stolen goods.

Authorities say that the theft ring’s crimes stretched from California to Tennessee. One of the most recent rail car theft discoveries was 40 handguns and rifles stolen from a train en route to the Volunteer State.  

Union Pacific has reported that thefts of its trains in Los Angeles County has increased by 160% this year. Although several rail companies operate their own private police force, rail operators have begun to take steps to boost security at their rail lines. In addition to collaborating with other law enforcement agencies, companies are increasing their surveillance monitoring capabilities with artificial intelligence. The advanced security systems will enable rail companies to detect people and vehicles in restricted areas in real-time. Rail companies will also install lighting and improved rail car locks to deter theft.

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