Peak Shipping Season Runs Aground as Ocean Lines Pull Capacity
Ocean container lines are bracing for limited demand during the usual peak shipping season heading into the Fall, with supply chains still rattled by the coronavirus pandemic and retailers in the U.S. and Europe reining in restocking plans.
Shipping lines, which move the vast majority of the world’s manufactured goods, have cancelled more than a quarter of all sailings on Asia-to-Europe and trans-Pacific lanes since the beginning of March, according to maritime data providers. The research group SeaIntelligence Consulting based in Copenhagen says the cancellations equate to the withdrawal of more than 4 million containers of capacity and that carriers have continued to drop departures scheduled for the third quarter.
The summer months are usually when shipping activity picks up steam as retailers begin to bulk up inventories for an expected pickup in consumer demand later in the year, starting with back-to-school sales and leading into the year-end holidays. However, widespread store closings due to coronavirus lockdowns has led to a fall in demand and crashed traditional planning.
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Survey: More automation means more reusable packaging
According to a survey from the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) , eighty-one percent of supply chain professionals expect automation to increase demand for reusable transportation packaging.
The global warehouse automation market is expected to grow from $14 billion in 2019 to $27.2 billion by 2025, according to an analysis released recently by the growth strategy and research firm Frost & Sullivan. RPA’s state of the industry report also shows that automated environments will start to rely on standardized containers and pallets, a requirement that can be met with reusable packaging.
RPA CEO Tim Debus described a “symbiotic relationship” between automation advancements in materials handling and reusable packaging. “I don’t think you’re going to find in many cases that you’re going to have this really high-performing, very automated environment in which you can have single-use packaging products,” Debus said in an interview.
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Unilever Announces Sweeping Supply Chain Measures to Fight Climate Change
Unilever has announced more supply chain measures to help fight climate change this week. The company is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions from all of its products by 2039. This includes the entire product lifecycle beginning with how Unilever sources its materials, up to the point of sale of products in the store.
The company explained that its existing science-based targets are to have no carbon emissions from its own operations and to halve the GHG (greenhouse gas) footprint of its products across the value chain, by 2030. Unilever will prioritize building partnerships with suppliers who have set and committed to their own science-based targets. The company will set up a system for its suppliers to declare, on each invoice, the carbon footprint of the goods and services provided.
Unilever is also introducing a Regenerative Agriculture Code for its suppliers. The new code will build on the company’s existing Sustainable Agriculture Code and it will include details on farming practices that help rebuild critical resources. The Regenerative Agriculture Code will be available to any organization that may find it useful – with the goal of driving change throughout the industry.
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Have a great and safe weekend!