Trendwatch: Taiwan quake to hit some chip output, cause Asia supply chain disruptions, analysts say; Baltimore salvage ops prove more challenging than expected; End of Red Sea crisis to reignite container shipping challenges

Taiwan quake to hit some chip output, cause Asia supply chain disruptions, analysts say

BEIJING (Reuters) - Taiwan's biggest earthquake since 1999 is likely to cause some disruption across Asia's semiconductor supply chain, analysts say, after chipmakers from TSMC to UMC halted some operations to inspect facilities and relocate employees.

The powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan's eastern coast near Hualien County on Wednesday morning, killing nine people and injuring 800.


Baltimore salvage ops prove more challenging than expected

Ahead of what will be years of legal wrangling, the owner and manager of the world’s most discussed ship, the Dali, have sought to limit potential pay-outs from last week’s Baltimore bridge allision.

Singapore-based Grace Ocean and shipmanager Synergy Marine filed a limitation of liability court petition yesterday seeking to cap their liability to just $43.6m, in a case that overall is expected to see pay-outs in the billions of dollars.

The petition claims that the vessel itself is valued at up to $90m and that it is owed more than $1.1m in income from freight. The estimate also deducts two major expenses: at least $28m in repair costs and at least $19.5m in salvage costs.


End of Red Sea crisis to reignite container shipping challenges

Clarksons’ latest container shipping report said that weak “underlying” supply-demand fundamentals will materialise once the Red Sea disruption regresses.

Boxship fleet growth is estimated at 9% this year, outpacing demand growth of approximately 4%.

In the second half of 2024, assuming that the Red Sea crisis has been resolved, the challenges seen after the Covid-19-fuelled boom could rear their head again.


Federal regulators mandate two-person crews for Class I railroads

  • The Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday issued a final rule requiring all Class I railroads to operate with a two-person crew, citing safety reasons.

  • A second crewmember conducts safety functions that could be lost when reducing crew size to one person, the Department of Transportation said in a press release. The rail safety agency reviewed and considered over 13,500 written comments received during the 146-day comment period before making its determination.

  • “Common sense tells us that large freight trains, some of which can be over three miles long, should have at least two crew members on board - and now there’s a federal regulation in place to ensure trains are safely staffed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.


U.S.-South Korea policy coordination on supply chain resiliency

On November 28, 2023, the Council on Foreign Relations’ program on U.S.-Korea Policy held an in-person workshop on U.S.-South Korea policy coordination toward China on supply chain resiliency.

Over the past three years, the Joe Biden administration has placed an increased emphasis on supply chain resiliency, which has in turn heightened and securitized the competition in advanced technology between the United States and China. In April 2023, the U.S. Treasury Department released its 2023 De-risking Strategy, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated the Biden administration’s intention of “de-risking and diversifying, not decoupling” economically from China. At the same time, the Biden administration has focused on “friendshoring” to restructure supply chain networks in a manner that prioritizes U.S. allies and partners with shared values and norms.


UK-Canada trade barriers to increase amid failure to reach deal

Provisions allowing the UK to sell products containing European Union parts to Canada tariff-free will expire on Monday, after the two countries failed to reach an agreement on extensions.

While UK government officials are trying to play down the impact on British industry, especially car-makers, one critic is calling it “embarrassing” for the country’s post-Brexit trade policy that it was unable to reach a deal even with a close ally.

Forming closer trade ties with countries outside the EU was touted by Brexiteers, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as a key benefit of leaving the bloc. But so far the UK has only signed new bilateral free-trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, and those deals have been criticized by MPs and farmers alike.


PSA BDP accelerates Southeast Asia growth with new office in the Philippines

PSA BDP, a leading global logistics and supply chain solutions provider, has today announced the opening of its first office in the Philippines, located in Paranaque City. This newest office, PSA BDP Philippines, Inc., marks PSA BDP’s 140th global location, and Doods de Vera, Country General Manager, will lead all aspects of the Philippines operation.

With Philippines serving as a key market for production and manufacturing, this expansion reinforces PSA BDP’s global growth strategy to have a presence in major markets where its diverse array of customers operates to provide enhanced solutions and greater connectivity.