COVID-19 Bulletin: September 9

September 9, 2021 • Posted in COVID-19

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Supply

Supply Chain

  • Powerful aftershocks from Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Mexico rippled through the nation yesterday, triggering more landslides, gas leaks and infrastructure damage.  
  • High-level talks are set to begin today between the U.S. and Mexico over boosting investment in trade infrastructure along the border.
  • Vessel operations at the Port of New Orleans have been fully restored following shutdowns caused by Hurricane Ida.
  • New cranes and a plan to deepen the Port of Boston’s ship channel could draw larger ships to the eastern U.S. gateway, helping ease a global backlog of vessels and containers.
  • Business activity in the logistics industry continued its historic growth stretch in August, new data shows.
  • Shipyards are raising prices for new and used vehicle carriers, with at least $4.4 billion spent so far this year on newbuilds.
  • Transportation capacity shrank in August for the 15th consecutive month, even as demand and utilization hit new highs.
  • Ninety percent of supply chain companies responding to a recent survey are recruiting more employees for the holiday season, while nearly half of respondents are raising wages to attract and retain workers, even as warehouse and storage hourly earnings are at an all-time high.
  • “Athleisure” maker Lululemon reported better-than-expected quarterly financials yesterday, as COVID-19 closures at major Vietnamese retail factories have yet to hit the company’s bottom line.
  • Nvidia, the world’s largest graphics and AI chip maker, is seeking European antitrust approval for its $54 billion takeover of British chipmaker Arm, whose customers include Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple.
  • Revenue in Old Dominion Freight Line’s less-than-truckload unit rose nearly 30% in August on the back of a 10.9% rise in daily volumes.
  • Proposed legislation to lower the minimum age for driving big rigs on interstates to 18 is generating controversy within the trucking industry.
  • A&R Logistics rebranded itself as “Quantix” to unite its various logistics brands from a spate of acquisitions.
  • 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.

Domestic Markets

One in Five Americans Say Employer Requires Vaccination
  • Food insecurity among American families increased during the pandemic:
U.S. Food Insecurity Ticks up in Pandemic
  • United Airlines extended its COVID-19 vaccination mandate deadline by five weeks, while at the same time increasing consequences for not getting vaccinated, including temporary unpaid leave for those who refuse shots under certain exemptions.
  • American Airlines cut its revenue forecast for the third quarter due to the rise in COVID-19 infections, now expecting to be down as much as 28% from the comparable period in 2019. Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United also indicated bookings are slowing and cancellations are increasing.
  • U.S. economic growth slowed over the summer due to spreading COVID-19 cases, Federal Reserve anecdotal evidence suggests, with losses largely concentrated in dining, travel and tourism. The nation faces further slowdowns in September, with businesses and consumers adjusting to renewed mask mandates, travel restrictions and delayed office openings.
  • First-time jobless claims fell to 310,000 last week, a pandemic low, from 345,000 the week prior.
  • U.S. job openings jumped to a record high of 10.9 million at the end of July, suggesting last month’s slowdown in hiring was mostly the result of a severe labor shortage.
  • U.S. bank profits slipped 8.3% in the second quarter from the third as firms slowed the rate of reversing loan-loss reserves built up during the pandemic. Profits were still up 281% from the same time last year.
  • Home mortgage applications fell to a two-month low last week while interest rates remained largely unchanged.
  • Several Federal Reserve officials suggested the bank could start trimming large monthly asset purchases by year’s end, despite disappointing job growth in August amid rising COVID-19 cases.
  • The White House is funneling $1.4 billion to small meat producers and workers to reduce industry concentration and bring down domestic food prices.
  • Amazon is developing a new point-of-sale system to be sold to third parties, the tech giant’s latest entry into a new market dominated by established players including Shopify and PayPal.
  • Li-Cycle Holdings announced plans to build a lithium battery recycling facility in the U.S. Southeast, a bid to boost circular economies in the domestic EV market.
  • Energy storage startup Energy Vault is going public in a roughly $1.6 billion deal, enabling the company to boost investment in technology to store renewable energy electricity during off-times.
  • Ford announced the hiring of a top Apple executive to oversee its advanced electric-vehicle technology.
  • California is pursuing legislation outlawing the use of recycling symbols on products that are not recycled.

International Markets

At M. Holland

  • During our latest Plastics Reflections Web Series event, panelists from M. Holland, BPI, LyondellBasell and MTS Logistics discussed how global supply chain complexities are impacting the plastics industry. Click here to access the recording.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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