What We're Reading: BDP Trendwatch Week 20

Warehouse capacity contracts as imports arrive amid low demand, closed storefronts

Many businesses have had to figure out where to put inventory, as the pandemic has caused retail storefronts to close. Warehouse capacity was 46.7 and warehouse utilization was 60.7 on the LMI for April.

"Stuff is starting to arrive from Asia, and it doesn't have retail stores to go to," Dale Rogers, a professor of logistics and supply chain management at Arizona State University and part of the team that compiles the LMI, told Supply Chain Dive in an interview. "But you're seeing brand owners and some retailers need places to put stuff."

Source: Supply Chain Dive


China waives retaliatory tariffs on 79 US import categories

The announcement to waive tariffs on 79 categories comes as China's imports from the U.S. fell by nearly 26% in April, casting doubt about the country's ability to meet its purchasing requirements under the Phase One trade deal.

To fulfill its end of the bargain, China must purchase $200 billion worth of U.S. commodities, namely agricultural goods, over the course of two years. In December, the Chinese government announced tariff waivers on some imports of U.S. soybeans and pork. However, with the global economy fast approaching a recession, or even a depression, that purchasing target remains far away.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


Container lines add just six blank sailings over the last week

Container lines would appear to have largely firmed up blank sailings in their Q2 schedules with just six additional voyages voided over the last week.

Analyst SeaIntelligence said that lines had cancelled just six deepsea sailings over the last week having already announced large scale cuts across the second quarter of the year. As of 20 April container lines had cancelled 435 sailings on the mainline trades equating to a 7m teu demand decline in 2020.

Source: Seatrade Maritime


Will ocean carriers scale back sailing cancellations?

Arrival schedules for May and June are set. U.S. ports will see double-digit declines in inbound capacity. Whether carriers will keep “blanking” (canceling) sailings on the same scale into the third quarter remains unknown, but not for much longer.

If mass cancellations extend into July at elevated May-June levels, it means that carriers are not receiving enough bookings from shippers, implying a weak recovery after social distancing restrictions are lifted. If carriers move back in the direction of pre-coronavirus scheduling levels, it’s a positive signal on demand.

Source: Freight Waves


Air rates soar leading to severe airline congestion

The air cargo industry is facing challenges on a scale unparalleled to any other time. Air cargo from China continues to surge to meet demands for PPE, creating extremely high rates. Air carriers are pushing to add capacity to meet the spiking demand for these critical items to battle the pandemic, while ocean carriers are decreasing capacity to account for the plunge in demand for most other goods. The difference of rates between air and ocean are striking, with air rates out of China at an increase of more than 400%.

As the United States begins to recover from the pandemic, overall ocean capacity to the USWC has been reduced by 30% due to blank sailings through the end of June to account for this slump in ocean demand. Because of this, space constraints on ocean carriers is to be expected. It is recommended to place bookings at least two weeks before estimated departure dates to secure space.

Source: AJOT


Saudi triples VAT rate in austerity push to counter oil slump, virus

Saudi Arabia will triple value added tax and suspend a cost of living allowance for state workers, it said on Monday, seeking to shore up finances hit by low oil prices as the coronavirus pandemic pummels global demand for its lifeline export.

Historic oil output cuts agreed by Riyadh and other major producers have given only limited support to prices after they sank on oversupply caused by a war for petroleum market share between the kingdom and its fellow oil titan Russia.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is also being hit hard by measures to fight the new coronavirus, which are likely to curb the pace and scale of economic reforms launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Source: Reuters


Qatar Airways throws more cargo resources at Scandinavia, France

Qatar Airways, one of the largest airfreight operators in the world by volume, on Sunday announced it is increasing cargo capacity for Scandinavian cities and launching an emergency air bridge between Vietnam and France using both freighters and repurposed passenger jets to haul freight.

Qatar has added five Airbus 350 passenger planes to haul only freight to Copenhagen. That is in addition to its thrice-weekly flights to the Danish capital increasing its total weekly cargo capacity for Denmark to more than 500 tons. The airline said the flights will support the country’s exporters moving goods, such as insulin, perishables and mail, to destinations in Asia, Africa and Australia.

Source: Freight Waves