COVID-19 Bulletin: March 30

March 30, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin


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  • Crude futures were lower in mid-day trading today, with the WTI down 1.9% at $60.38/bbl and Brent 1.5% lower at $64.02/bbl. Natural gas was 0.8% lower at $1.98/MMBtu.
  • OPEC+ will meet Thursday to discuss whether to continue production cuts through May. Russia favors continuing the cuts while seeking a slight increase for itself to meet higher seasonal demand.
  • Mexico’s president introduced a bill that would broaden state control in the fuels market, including potentially taking over private business operations. 
  • Royal Dutch Shell could soon begin tying executive pay to the company’s climate performance rather than liquefied natural gas production volumes.
  • The White House is planning a wave of new lease sales for offshore wind to boost the nation’s capacity to 30,000 megawatts by 2030, enough to power more than 10 million U.S. homes
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.

Supply Chain

  • The Suez Canal reopened yesterday after a giant container ship that ran aground last week was freed, with additional cleanup efforts expected to take six days or more: 
    • After a queue of more than 360 ships waiting to traverse the canal is cleared, repercussions on the global container market could last up to three months.
    • The six-day blockage delayed the return of ships and boxes coming back to Asia from Europe, exacerbating a worldwide container shortage
    • Freight rail rates from China to Europe rose by nearly 20% since last week. 
    • Hundreds of millions in losses are set to mount for the reinsurance industry, which is already on the hook for natural disasters such as winter storms in the U.S. and flooding in Australia. 
    • The Ever Given, the biggest container ship ever made when it launched in 2018 with a capacity of more than 21,000 TEUs, is small compared with next generation 25,000- and 30,000-TEU vessels now planned by ship builders.
The Steep Rise In Global Seaborne Trade
  • The global semiconductor shortage continues to affect industries:
  • Growing congestion is making its way to Brazilian ports, delaying dry-bulk vessels by several weeks, tying up vessel capacity, and causing higher freight rates. 
  • The Georgia Ports Authority has approved $205 million to expand the container capacity at the Port of Savannah by 20%.
  • Robot maker Boston Dynamics has developed its first single-use robot, “Stretch,” which can move around tight spaces in existing warehouses and pick up and move boxes at a rate of 800 cases per hour.
  • Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.


  • There were 69,417 new COVID-19 cases and 701 deaths in the U.S. yesterday. Over 145 million vaccine doses have been administered, with 15.1% of the population fully vaccinated. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations are climbing in 25 states, the latest indication of a fourth wave of infections. 
  • The White House is responding to the upticks by adding more vaccination sites nationwide and doubling the number of pharmacies that can administer doses.
  • U.S. doctors are dismayed by the premature lifting of social distancing restrictions and careless behaviors just when vaccinations promise pandemic relief. 
  • The U.S. administration says 90% of adults will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, as the nation is on pace to administer 3 million doses per day
  • Just days before the program was set to expire, the CDC announced an extension of a federal eviction moratorium until June. 
  • The White House is set to sign new legislation that extends through May 31 a pandemic-era loan program designed to help small businesses remain open.
  • New York expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to those age 30 and over, while New Jersey opened vaccines to more public-facing workers and increased its limit on outdoor gatherings to 200 people
  • Amazon is setting up COVID-19 vaccination clinics at its U.S. warehouses for employees.
  • A pair of experimental COVID-19 treatments produced positive results in clinical trials — one is made by Humanigen for hospitalized patients and the other by Eli Lilly, Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline for patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
  • Privacy concerns have prevented the creation of a national vaccine database, leaving vaccine recipients with their paper vaccination cards as the only proof they have received a shot.  
  • The IRS made face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available as medical expenses for tax deductions
  • COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer effectively prevented virus infections and not just illness, with substantial protection evident two weeks after the first dose
  • Add JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce and PricewaterhouseCoopers to the growing list of major employers dumping office space as they extend remote work.   
  • American Airlines is preparing to fly most of its fleet in the coming months thanks to rebounding domestic and short-haul international bookings. 
  • Boeing resumed deliveries of its 787 jets after production problems prompted a halt in October. The company also received an order for 100 new 737 MAX jets from Southwest Airlines, the largest order since the jet’s safety ban was lifted several months ago. 
  • Prices for farmland are climbing across the Midwest amid a rally in grain markets and favorable government policy, as fewer bigger farmers increase their hold on the country’s 900 million acres.
  • Volkswagen plans to change the name of its U.S. operations to “Voltswagen of America” to emphasize its push to manufacture electric vehicles.
  • The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall of more than 80,000 Hyundai electric vehicles following reports of over a dozen battery-related fires. 
  • Consumer-goods companies are turning toward customers to help reach voluntary climate goals, urging them to take shorter showers, do laundry at cooler temperatures and not waste tap water.
  • To meet the goals of the new U.S. Plastics Pact, major changes in both packaging design and recycling efforts will need to be amplified, according to its executive director. 
  • Citigroup Inc. has launched a new natural resources and clean energy transition unit to help steer corporate clients away from using carbon. 
  • Circuit board fabrication specialist BotFactory has been hired by the U.S. Air Force to develop a fully automated desktop electronics 3D printer capable of assembling printed circuit boards on-site and on-demand.


Our Operations

  • M. Holland will be closed on April 2 (Good Friday) in observance of the Easter holiday.
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight during prevailing force majeure. For more information, email our 3D Printing team.
  • M. Holland is proud to be named among the Plastics News Best Places to Work again this year. We also were recently named among the Best Places to Work by Crain’s Chicago Business.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets. To arrange a videoconference or meeting with any of our Market Managers, please visit our website.

Thank you,

M. Holland Company

We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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