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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Dec. 9, 2021

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Dec. 9, 2021

 Chinese Population Fallling; Amazon AWS Takes Down Delivery Network; Smaller US Carriers Growing Rapidly; US Warehouse Lease Rates Soaring



That’s by how much the number of births have fallen in China in 2020, to about 10 million. Why is that news? Because the number of death this year is also expected to come in at about 10 million, meaning China’s population may have peaked here in 2021 – much earlier than most had projected. That according to James Liang, executive chairman of on-line travel platform Group and a renowned demographics expert. What’s more, Liang expects China’s population will fall steadily in the foreseeable future, in a critical turning point for the country’s population trajectory. Falling birth rates, an ageing population and shrinking labor force represent significant headwinds that could disrupt China’s economic growth. The trend could also put significant pressure on social support systems for older citizens – especially as, unlike the US, China has almost no immigration. Demography, as the saying goes, is destiny.


That’s how many hours that parts of Amazon’s AWS web services platform were down on Tuesday, sending its delivery network into a stall and impacting many other large and small web sites. Though the outage mostly affected the eastern US, it was felt globally, and impacted airline reservations, auto dealerships, payment apps, video streaming services and more – including Amazon's own massive ecommerce and fulfillment operations. As first reported by Bloomberg, the huge glitch shut down communications between Amazon and its Delivery Service Partners and Flex drivers and prevented them from being able to access route assignments or receive packages. The outage could potentially create a cascading logjam that can’t be unwound before Christmas. Some customers who were expecting packages on Tuesday were notified that delivery would be delayed for one to two days, according to complaints on social media.




That is how much smaller US truck carriers, defined as firms with under 100 tractors, have added to their capacity from March 2020 to September 2021. That according to analysis of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data from carrier filings by transportation research firm FTR, as further reported by Heavy Duty Trucking magazine. The numbers are a little skewed because carriers are only required to file data on trucks and drivers every two years – though many do so annually. The data also show that the smaller carriers increased their number of drivers by 21.3%. By comparison, larger carriers with 100 or more tractors saw increases of just 3.5% in trucks and 1.6% in drivers. Which must mean smaller trucking companies are gaining market share. The smaller carriers now represent about 58% of trucks and 57% of drivers, up from about 55% and 53% in March 2020. Others have said the so-called extreme driver shortage is more of a large carrier issue, not so much for smaller firms. This data would seem to support that.




That is the average increase in rates to lease distribution space in the US versus five years ago. That according to a new report from real estate firm CBRE, as continued high demand for DC space – driven by ecommerce – outpaces new construction. Of course, rates in some high demand markets have risen far more than 25% over the past five years. For example, new lease rates for contracts expiring this year in central New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Inland Empire near Los Angeles were more than 60% higher than rates for leases that started in 2016, CBRE says. The report adds that lease rates in Q3 were up a sharp 10.4% versus 2020. With many older leases now expiring, the CBRE report says DC landlords are planning for major increases for shipper tenants that had signed multiyear leases at much lower rates.

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