State of Logistics: March 27, 2020

Patrick O'Loughlin Mar 27

We are in some extraordinary times. The Coronavirus will be what is remembered about 2020 when this year is talked about in the future. Not just the Coronavirus itself, but also the effects of the Coronavirus will have on business, politics, and the day to day lives of the world’s population. 

Takeaways 

  • China is getting closer to normal but may still not be able to get back to normal due to worldwide standstill to lock down
  • Cases in the United States, Italy, and Spain continue to grow
  • The United States has not seen the worst of the effects but is trying to mitigate the economic damage
  • Truck Drivers are doing an amazing job during this time and have helped the United States tremendously
  • If you are in shipping/logistics, call warehouses ahead of time to ensure they are receiving or accepting freight

Coronavirus Update

China

  • As of late, China has seemed to begin turning the corner on the Coronavirus. The lock down will be lifted on the Wuhan province, which was the epicenter of the outbreak, by April 8. When the lock down is lifted, the province will have spent at least 2 months in quarantine. 

Starting soon, residents can travel in and out of Wuhan by showing a green QR code on their phone to signify they are in good health. 

  • A Yellow QR Code means this person has someone who they have been in close contact with test positive for Coronavirus, has a fever, or are suspected of being asymptomatic. 
  • The Red QR Code signifies this person has symptoms or has tested positive for Coronavirus. 

In a show of confidence, the President of China, President Xi personally visited Wuhan on March 10. It’s possible this was to give hope that the “lock down” strategy works and should continue to be followed.

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United States

The United States has surpassed China and Italy for the most confirmed cases of Coronavirus. The Federal Government has yet to issue any kind of mandatory lockdown, and has mostly left it up to the discretion of the States and local governments to decide policy going forward. Mostly, the government is suggesting to stay at home and maintain a 6 foot distance from other people. Overall, it has been more of a suggestion or expectation to stay home and less of a mandate.

Highlights

  • New York is the epicenter of the virus in the United States as there are more than 37,000 cases, mostly in New York City and accounts for 35% of all new cases in the United States.
  • The United States government is considering a $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus package to help businesses and citizens during this time. 

Global Highlights

  • According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 550,000 global cases with almost 25,000 deaths. 
  • UK leaders, Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both tested positive for the Coronavirus
  • Italy has about 81,000 confirmed cases and Spain’s confirmed cases has skyrocketed as well as the number of deaths due to the virus.

Logistics Update

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China

Containers stranded from late February and earlier in March due to Coronavirus slowdowns have begun shipping out. But now as Chinese business moves closer to “business as usual”, shipping companies project that closures at western ports due to lockdowns would leave a whole mess of cargo stranded. 

It will be important going forward to keep an eye on USA port activity and port activity around the world. If port’s are active and receiving ships efficiently and effectively, we should avoid major repercussions logistically.

United States

Highlights

  • Ford has set April 14 has the expected date for some of their factories in the US to reopen. 
  • According to Costas Paris of WSJ,”There’s no shortage of jobs in logistics even as big parts of the American economy go quiet.” 
  • Amazon and Walmart announced plans to add a hundred thousand jobs, each. 
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Trucking

Of course, it cannot be said that the extra precautions have had some unintended consequences to the trucking industry inside of the United States. For example, trucking to grocery stores and discount stores from last week compared to the year before are up considerably.

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I hope you enjoyed that picture of President Trump as much as I did. But, on a more serious note, not enough can be said about what the truck drivers of this country are doing for us. Throughout many challenges, truck drivers continue to deliver essential goods.

It has not been easy for truck drivers during this time as some roadside eating options have closed. Truckers have also had to be extra wary of entering warehouses and dealing with warehouses who are being cautious about letting drivers enter their warehouse. It has been reported that some drivers are told to stay in the truck during unloading or outside of the warehouse.

Going Forward

It seems that this will only get worse before it gets better, in terms of health and economically. Stay distanced and this will be over before you know it.

If you are in shipping/logistics, be sure to call ahead to ensure warehouses will be open to receive or release freight. This is not the time for truckers to experience dry runs.