Here are some of the top global shipping news stories of the month:
A worse-than-normal drought season has pushed the Panama Canal Authority to reduce maximum draft and capacity, which is further impacting trade through the canal. In response, as of June 1, transpacific carriers are now imposing additional surcharges for all water services on the Asia/US East Coast tradelane — in some cases, the surcharge will be $500 per container. Some services will also be redirected through the Suez Canal.
In Indo-Pacific Asia, 14 countries have come together to form the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) hoping to force change and better coordination throughout the supply chain — with an end goal of weakening China’s growing influence in Indo-Pacific trade.
Some of the world’s largest economies, including the US, Japan, and India, that make up about $38 trillion in global economic output, are part of the IPEF. In addition to the stated goal, the initiative is partly driven by the need to create a network that will allow for emergency communications throughout the supply chain. If successful, this could make the type of bottlenecks the industry saw throughout the pandemic a thing of the past.
Starting on October 31, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be launching new screening rules that could see oversized items stuck in ports. Any cargo that’s hard to screen won’t be shipped by air if shippers haven’t been proactive and registered in one of the TSA’s authorized cargo security programs. The TSA is asking forwarders to make sure their customers are aware of the new rules and are prepared. Specifically, to join Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF).
A recent survey by DispatchTrack shows that 72% of the companies that took part were still facing challenges in their supply chains post-pandemic. Issues of note are inventory shortages, financial burdens thanks to increased operating costs, shipping problems, and more. However, despite that gloomy report, 61% of responders still have a positive outlook for the rest of the year, while the other 39% remain uncertain about their businesses and have a negative outlook for the rest of 2023.
There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about the increasing need for advancement in supply chain tech, so the recent Pitchbook Supply Chain Tech Overview 2023 report comes as a bit of a surprise. Maybe. The report details a massive year-on-year decline in venture capital activity as companies pull back on supply chain tech investments. But given the economic climate, should that really be a big surprise? There was a drop of 45% quarter-on-quarter during Q1 in VC activity—and 82% year-on-year—with freight tech being the hardest hit.