Trending Transportation Updates: March 2021

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There were many new transportation updates in the shipping industry last month. Check out some of the top stories and transportation updates of March 2021!

Suez Canal blocked by a giant cargo ship

A giant Taiwanese container ship named Evergreen became stuck across Egypt's Suez Canal, blocking one of the world's busiest trade routes. About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea connection between Asia and Europe. As of Wednesday, global crude oil prices already rose 6% after traffic through the canal was delayed. Lloyd’s List calculates blockage is costing $400 million an hour, and roughly $5.1 billion a day. Currently, Evergreen team members and Taiwanese officials are working out the action plan to get the ship out. Read more here.

Biden directs the US DOT to review supply chain

President Joe Biden has ordered the Department of Transportation to lead a review of the US global supply chain in the wake of challenges that emerged during the earlier days of the pandemic. Specifically, Biden inquires information on how vulnerabilities across the enterprise may have contributed to delays in moving supplies during some of the most difficult times of the pandemic, including shrinkage of personal protective equipment for medical workers and first responders, as well as essential supplies across the commercial sector.

“The American people should never face shortages in the goods and services they rely on, whether that’s their car or their prescription medicines or the food at the local grocery store,” Biden said on Feb. 24. “And remember, the shortages in [personal protection equipment] during this pandemic — that meant we didn’t have the masks; we didn’t have gowns or gloves to protect our frontline health workers.” Read more here

Maersk switches from spot rates to long-term shipper contracts

Giant ocean carrier Maersk announces it no longer wants to play the spot market field but instead settle down with long-term shipper contracts and customers.

“We have, with quite a number of our customers, agreed to go beyond the regular 12-month cycle and could go up as high as three years or in some cases even evergreen contracts,” - said Charles van der Steene, the Head of North American sales for A.P. Møller–Maersk. According to van der Steene, the shift required “a large conceptual change in our organization to accept the fact that if the short-term [rates were very high], we would say, ‘We’re not going to go there, we’re going to stick to our long-term partners, we’re going to allow them to ship 200, 400 or 500 more containers this week as opposed to giving those 500 containers — or even all of our containers — to the short-term market and as a result make a fantastic result for the year.’ Read more here.

Storms will hit Southern states again, truckers are warned 

An outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes is again awaited in the Southern states, weather forecasters warn. Thunderstorms are expected across the Tennessee, Ohio, Lower Mississippi valleys, Missouri Bootheel, eastern Arkansas, northeastern Louisiana, southern portions of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, western and central Tennessee, as well as the northern two-thirds of Mississippi and Alabama. Meteorologists at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) warn the wind will reach speeds around 75 mph, and cause long-track tornadoes. Read more here


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