Here are some of the top global supply chain news stories of the month.
The 2023 Supply Chain Perspective, a recent survey, reports that 72% of the companies that took part say they are still experiencing challenges in their supply chains. The most notable issues impacting them are inventory shortages, financial burdens due to increased operating costs, ongoing shipping problems, and more. Despite these challenges, 61% of those surveyed express a positive outlook for the rest of the year, while only 39% have a negative outlook for 2023 and remain uncertain about their businesses.
Another report, the 34th Annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) State of Logistics Report, highlights the cost of moving freight within the US supply chain. The report covers the entirety of 2022 and the first few months of 2023 and attempts to predict key logistics trends based on an analysis of the current state of the economy. The data analyzed include air, parcel and last mile, water and ports, motor freight, rail, and warehousing sectors.
The writers of the report are of the opinion that the industry is regaining some of the balance that was lost during COVID, but that factors such as inflation will keep prices high in some categories and routes. The report also emphasizes the need for relationship-building between carriers and shippers. In order to succeed and maintain the ground they’ve gained, they will have to learn to be collaborative instead of adversarial.
Three rail companies in the Caucasus region — Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan — have entered into a new partnership that aims to cut China-Europe transport time by up to 15 days. The goal of the partnership is to reduce bottlenecks and “make the Middle Corridor even more attractive to Central Asia, China and other Asian countries.”
Trade between the three countries has increased by seven times over the last year, bringing their current total to $600 million, with projections of reaching a billion-dollar threshold soon.
Negotiations between UPS in the Teamsters union collapsed and remain at a standstill. With just a few weeks until their current contract expires, the union is saying that UPS refuses to present a reasonable offer, while UPS says that they are not in a position to offer more. UPS also states that a failure to continue negotiations “threatens to disrupt the U.S. economy.”
The container market is doing… not bad. Despite the expectation of a US recession, US containerized imports remain above pre-Covid levels. June imports for up 6% compared to June 2019. Based on current booking data and scheduled departures from foreign ports, US imports are expected to remain stable throughout the summer.