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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- July 22, 2020 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for July 22, 2020

Sailors Stuck at Sea See a Lifeboat; Women Gaining Spots Atop the Supply Chain Org Chart; Truckload Rates and Volumes Continue to Fall; New Retail Group Hopes to Reinvent Plastic Bags



Almost unbelievably, that is the number of maritime crew stuck on ships for month, unable to get off ships or be replaced by new crew due to corornavirus issues and rules. Now, finally some good news for these beleaguered sailors. More than a dozen nations have agreed to relax border restrictions to allow for the repatriation of ship workers who have stranded at sea or in ports. The US and 12 other nations, will recognize sailors as essential personnel, thereby relaxing rules relative to boarding flights and moving to and from ships. About 150,000 sailors fly around the globe each month to meet ships in ports and replace workers that may have been at sea for months. With all the restrictions, not only were sailors often stuck on ships, their replacement crews were stuck on land without work, in a truly crazy situation. The International Maritime Organization and shipping lines say the on-going situation has created a humanitarian crisis, with crew members facing growing health problems under the strain. China hasn't signed onto the agreement but shipping industry officials say most crew changes for ships routed through Asia take place in Singapore and Dubai.



That is the percent of US chief supply chain officers that are women, according to new research from the analysts at Gartner. That was up from 11% in 2019 and the highest proportion since the survey's first edition in 2016. The results were based on survey data from 177 companies with at least $100 million in revenue. However, there was also some not good news for women in supply chain. Women accounted for 28% of supply-chain vice presidents or senior directors in 2019, the pool from which women could rise to CSCO. But in 2020, that share fell to 21%, the survey found. (SCDigest will note that with 177 respondents that could simply be the result of statistical variation year over year and not a real move down.). Overall, women accounted for 39% of total supply chain managers, the same as in 2019, according to Gartner.



That was the year-over-year drop in the Cass Linehaul Index for June, as released by Cass Information Systems earlier this week. The index tracks per mile truckload contracted rates in the US before any fuel surcharge or other accessorial fees. That follows a 5.0% drop in May, as demand for transport to continues to be weak. Volumes fell just a little bit from May to June. But spot rates tell a different picture. Cass says spot rates are currently tracking up 9.8% year-over-year (including fuel surcharges) in the dry van market, while reefer spot rates are up 4.6%. Cass' Freight Index shipment volumes dropped 17.8% vs year-ago levels, though that was an improvement compared to May's 23.6% fall. The index reading from May to June nudged up 3.5%, an acceleration from the 1.6% sequential improvement seen from April's low to May.


$15 Million


That's how much money a group of retailers has collectively invested in something called the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. Founding members include CVS Health, Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, and Target, which just announced it membership this week. The new organization hopes to identify, test and implement viable alternatives to the traditional plastic retail bag. More than 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags are used in the United States every year, the group says, with very few recycled or even capable of being recycled. As part of the three-year project, design solutions will be solicited from around the world through the group's Innovation Challenge, which will have an initial focus on implementation in the United States. Winning ideas will be eligible to receive a portion of $1 million in funding and some ideas will be eligible to participate in an accelerator program to develop potential pilots. The challenge is scheduled to officially launch Aug. 3.

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