Fast Freight: The Week In Review (January 31-February 6, 2014)

FastFreight Review


January 31 – February 6, 2014

FastFreight is a weekly review summarizing the ten major events or stories of the past week in logistics and the supply chain. We know you’re busy so each post is under 400 words. Enjoy! Want to get this to your inbox? Be sure to sign up from the right sidebar!

1. Happy New Year, Sad Shippers

A week before the Chinese New Year, spot quote rates were already dropping. Normal volumes will only be reached at the end of February.

2. Warehouses of Snow (Via @howellsrichard)

$34 billion dollars went into the Sochi Olympics’ transportation infrastructure (more than it cost to build the sports facilities). And if you think your warehouses gives you headaches, try stockpiling snow.

3. Break in the Supply Chain

Lora Cecere on one of the biggest problems in the supply chain – IT solutions that fall short of connecting ERP systems, ultimately harming connectivity and visibility.

4. Getting Better All the Time

2013 imports to the USA were 3.7% higher than 2012, totaling over 18.2 million TEUs. And if that doesn’t have you smiling, the first three weeks of January saw a 5.2% volume increase compared to the same period last year. The last time annual TEU movement was this high was in 2007. Traffic is increasing at southwest ports in the US at the expense of the northwest ports.

5. Something in the Air

IATA’s 2013 report identified a 1.4% increase in global freight ton kilometers (FTK), compared to 2012, with most of the increase from Middle East and European airlines.

6. Nothin’ on China (via @mikewackett)

Top 10 Chinese ports throughput in 2013 shot up by 6.1%, hitting 146.8 million TEU (we got a handy map for that too). Container destinations replaced Rotterdam (where throughput remained static in 2013) with ASEAN, Russia, South Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

7. Volume, Check. Profit, Not Really.

Under half of the global carriers made money last year, a problem that stemmed from piecemeal pricing and the 2007 decline in demand.

8. Suez and Here to Stay

The Suez Canal set a new record for maximum daily cargo on January 31st, with 54 ships carrying over 3.5 million tons of cargo. Prices will rise for the third year running.

9. Not All Canals are Born Equal

Panamax ships are in low demand in light of the upcoming expansion of the canal. Over 50 Panamax ships were laid up in 2013 and 66 were demolished. That said, the expansion plan is currently being threatened by cost over-run ($1.6 billion dollars or so).

10. Enter Weekend Cautiously 

Don’t take things too fast. Haste makes waste. Or brings down an entire warehouse of vodka in a tragic domino rally.

Tune in next week for FastFreight (or read last week’s edition here). You can also get this weekly update directly to your email by signing up in the right sidebar!

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Mr. Anthony Foxx US Secretary of Transportation