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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 28, 2021

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Oct. 28, 2021

Ports to Asess Charges for Containers not Picked Up; US Trade Deficit in Goods Sets Record; Warehouse Automation Spend to Grow Rapidly; Another Amazon FC Trying to Unionize          



That is the new fee for shipping containers not picked up at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as announced by port officials Monday. In the case of containers scheduled to move by truck, ocean carriers will be charged for every container “dwelling” nine days or more, while for containers moving by rail, carriers will be charged if the container has dwelled for three days or more. Another $100 per container per day will be charged if the boxes remain at the port. The charges will begin November 1. The new fees of course are meant to get containers moving and reduce the congestion that is contributing to the record delays and backlogs at the ports. Officials said approximately 40% of the containers in the terminals today currently fall into one off the two categories.

 $96.3 Billion

That was the politically sensitive US trade deficit in goods with rest of the world in September – a new record. That according to the latest monthly report from Commerce Department released Wednesday. That level was also up sharply from a revised $88.2 billion in August. And the record trade gap came even as automotive vehicle shipments decreased 7.7% to $25.9 billion amid a global shortage of semiconductors. Imports of consumer goods declined 0.7% to $62.8 billion, but remained near record levels. It didn’t help that exports fell 4.7% from a record high in August to $142.2 billion, driven by a 9.9% decline in the value of outward shipments of industrial supplies and a 3.6% drop in capital goods.



$69 Billion

That will be the size of the global market for warehouse automation in 2025, according to a new estimate this week from research firm interact Analysis. That would be up from an estimate of $29.6 in 2020. SCDigest has no idea how such estimates are made and how accurate they are, but the key point is that the market is expected to more than double in five years, as shippers automate to deal with warehouse labor shortages and costs and the need to cost-effectively support ecommerce fulfillment. The report says that fixed automation solutions, including automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), conveyors, and conveyor-based sorters, will remain the most common form of automation, but adds “there is a rapidly growing trend for warehouses to adopt more flexible mobile automation solutions,” as well. After seeing the market slowing a bit in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic effects, the report expects that the automation market will see a permanently accelerated rate of post-pandemic growth starting in 2022.




That is how many union-support cards signed by workers at an Amazon fulfillment center complex in Brooklyn were delivered this week to the local office of the National Labor Relations Board. That led the NLRB to say said there was sufficient interest to form a union at the Amazon operation - a key step in authorizing a vote that could establish the first US union at the company. As part of its petition to hold a union vote, organizers must have submitted signatures from at least 30% from the roughly 5,500 employees who the union says work at four adjoining Amazon facilities that it seeks to represent under collective bargaining. The activity this puts the company on notice that the NLRB has determined that union organizers have met the minimum threshold for Amazon to formally acknowledge and to respond to the union-organizing petition. Earlier this year, workers soundly rejected a union at an Amazon FC in Alabama.

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