The Friday Report: December 18th, 2020

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

2020 Holiday Shipping Gridlock Armageddon

Online shopping demand has finally caught up with the shipping carriers.  ShipMatrix, a software solutions company which provides shipping tracking, recently revealed the extent of holiday package shipping gridlock and it was staggering.  ShipMatrix gathers data regarding millions of packages sent from more than 100,000 locations in the United States.

Approximately 6 million packages a day are currently being stranded, left in retailers’ warehouses, shipping centers and other facilities, waiting for pick up by USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and other shipping carriers and an additional 2.5 million packages are picked up daily but are not being delivered on time.  According to CBS MoneyWatch reporting, an industry insider relayed that the quantity of packages not being picked up each day far exceeds the typical number seen in past years.

The huge demand is primarily due to the increase in online shopping by consumers who are trying to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, please continue reading here.

UK Warned of Potential Produce Shortages for 6 Months with No Deal Brexit

Concern is mounting in the UK if a No Deal Brexit occurs.  As Brexit talks continue, the UK learned it may be dependent upon a goodwill effort to stall processes at the ports in the Channel for a time period of three to six months as new processes are readied.  This is important news in dealing with the transport of perishables, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. 

While the fresh food industry is accustomed to accommodating short term delays such as for foul weather, occurrence of persistent and expansive delays will likely result in diminished food safety and quality and potentially shortages of these goods in UK supermarkets.

For more information, please continue reading here.

Freight forwarders Play Vital Role in Transporting COVID-19 Vaccines

One freight forwarder reported that handling the recent product launch of COVID-19 vaccines involves the highest level of complexity.  In a survey conducted in September by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), only 28% of the supply chain logistics companies reported that they felt “well prepared” to handle the coronavirus vaccines.  There remains an element of uncertainty about handling COVID-19 vaccines as the pharmaceutical companies are not sharing all the information needed for logistics planning. Here is some of the information still being kept under wraps:

  • Exact temperatures for the transportation of each specific vaccine
  • Required transportation modes
  • Manufacturing site locations
  • Destinations for vaccine distribution
  • Number of doses and/or pallets that will be shipped at a time

Although freight forwarders regularly are involved in the transportation and logistics of vaccines, coronavirus vaccines do pose unique challenges including the temperature requirements of handling, storing and transporting some vaccines, such as the vaccine produced by Pfizer.    As a general rule, products such as vaccines with extreme cold storage requirements necessitate extremely complicated logistics, i.e. more technology, more equipment, more monitoring, etc.  In addition, only a few air carriers are capable of shipping goods that require ultra-cold storage conditions.

The other major challenge is the incredible volume of vaccines that need rapid, wide distribution. 

For more information, please continue reading here.

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